Yeast Allergy Guide︱Test Your Intolerance UK

Yeast is a living fungus primarily used in brewing beer and baked goods. It can be challenging to avoid yeast, especially when you don’t know that you have a yeast allergy. Even though allergies are prevalent, yeast allergy is among the most uncommon types of allergy. Even though it is common in beverages and baked goods, it is common to find yeast in unsuspecting food items like candy.

Allergy is the most frequent long-term disease in the UK. Over 20% of people with allergies live in fear of suffering a possible asthma attack, anaphylactic shock, or even death resulting from allergies{1}.

Another yeast species naturally occurs in the human body, known as candida. When the body experiences an imbalance due to antibiotics or other lifestyle factors, it results in a yeast infection. Normally, candida doesn’t overgrow because another bacteria keeps it in check. A yeast infection typically affects the vagina, throat, skin, or gut. But in rare cases, it affects internal organs too.

If you have a yeast allergy, you’re most likely allergic to fungi like mold; this will mean avoiding any foods that are mouldy or made using any fungi {2}.

 

Symptoms of yeast allergy

Yeast is common in many foods, and any unsuspecting person can encounter it. If you’re allergic to yeast, the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Yeast allergy symptoms vary from one person to another, but some are more common than others. You won’t experience yeast infection from eating food made using any form of fungi alone. Fungi like mould and yeast can reproduce through tiny particles which travel through the air. If you have a yeast allergy, these spores can cause you to develop respiratory symptoms and trigger an asthma attack on people with asthma.

Common yeast allergy symptoms include;

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hives
  • Joint pain
  • Dizziness
  • Congestion

A common misapprehension is that if you have an allergy to yeast, you will have red blotchy skin, mostly observed after one has had an alcoholic beverage. This common symptom results from an allergy-like reaction (not a true allergy) to sulfur dioxide, which is common in alcoholic drinks. Sometimes sulfur causes an allergy-like reaction when it comes in contact with other substances that contain it. So when looking at the symptoms of yeast allergy, note that rashes aren’t among them.

In rare situations, people with an allergy to yeast experience a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. This condition can result in a swollen throat, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis can be fatal, and if one experiences it, it’s seen as a medical emergency. If you have a history of experiencing this condition, it is advisable to carry with you an epinephrine injector.

 

Difference between yeast allergy and yeast intolerance

If you have a yeast allergy, you’ll most likely experience the above symptoms or even dire ones like anaphylaxis. Still, if you have yeast intolerance, your problems will mainly affect your digestive tract. Yeast intolerance means that one cannot digest yeast, or their digestive tract is irritated by foods that contain yeast.

A yeast allergy affects the body’s immune system, and that’s why it can lead to extreme symptoms like anaphylaxis. But when it comes to yeast intolerance, one can only experience digestive problems like bloating, diarrhoea, gas, among others.

 

Yeast Allergy vs Gluten Allergy

Gluten is an enzyme or protein found in barley, wheat, and rye. People with gluten allergy experience an autoimmune reaction to gluten and get allergic reactions when they consume anything that contains gluten. Gluten allergy is also known as celiac disease. On the other hand, Yeast allergy is an immune reaction to yeast, a type of fungi primarily used in baked goods and beverages.

Yeast allergy and gluten allergy mimic the same symptoms, and that’s why it can be easy to confuse between the two, but they highly vary. When one has a yeast allergy, they consume yeast-free grains like corn, oats, rice, and dense wheat products like pasta. All these grains contain gluten, and when you’re allergic to gluten, you can’t consume them. So, even though these allergies have similar symptoms, they require you to cut off different food items due to different types of proteins found in food.

 

Testing for Yeast Allergy

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Our Allergy Test Box Kit

It is easy to determine a yeast allergy. It requires a simple skin prick test to confirm the diagnosis. You can visit an allergist, or a more straightforward way to do it is by ordering a yeast allergy test kit online. You will get your kit conveyed to your doorstep. It comes with instructions on how to take your sample. You will then mail your sample back to the labs and expect your results back within seven days.

The blood test that you will partake in during a yeast allergy test is an IgE blood test. This test measures the IgE antibodies in the blood to detect an allergy to yeast. A blood test is an accurate way to check for allergies. When you give your sample to the lab, it will be compared to other common allergens to check if you have any more allergies or just a yeast allergy.

 

Yeast Allergy foods to avoid

  • Leavened baked goods: Baked foods like bread and croissants usually contain yeast. Bakers use yeast in their goods to ensure they rise. Some types of yeast also add flavour to baked goods.
  • Alcohol: All types of liquors contain some level of yeast in them. If you have a severe reaction to yeast, you must avoid all types of liquor as each one contains some yeast to add to the flavour profile. Malt liquor, beer, and hard ciders are among the liquors that contain yeast. To consume them, you’ll need to consult with your doctor.
  • Soy sauce and Miso: Yeast is found in soy sauce, so when grocery shopping, check for soy sauce as an ingredient since it’s common in many packed foods. Some types of miso use yeast in their fermentation process.
  • Kombucha: This beverage contains sugar, tea, yeast, and bacteria. If you have an allergy to yeast, it is best to avoid consuming kombucha.
  • Berries and grapes: Even though most foods contain added yeast, it also naturally occurs in berries and grapes in small amounts.

Even though all the above contain yeast, this isn’t an exhaustive list of foods with yeast. You’ll find yeast as an ingredient in packaged foods most of the time. When purchasing packaged foods, you need to read labels to avoid the dire yeast allergy symptoms if you’re allergic to yeast.

 

Probiotics and yeast allergy

Probiotics combine yeast that naturally lives in the body and bacteria. Probiotics are full of good bacteria meant to keep your body healthy and ensure it works well. Probiotics help fight off bad bacteria when it overgrows. If you have a yeast allergy, be careful when consuming probiotics. Keep an eye out for probiotics that don’t contain yeast to be safe.

 

Foods you can consume if you have a yeast allergy

  • Meats free of bread
  • Freshly squeezed juices
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Vegetables
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cashews
  • Almond butter

There are foods you can also consume even though you have a yeast allergy, even though you need to check the frequency of their consumption. These include;

  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Bananas
  • Grapes

Yeast allergy can also affect our furry friends. Dogs tend to experience yeast allergies too. You might notice your dog nibbling, licking, gnawing at their feet, or even scratching their ears. Pets tend to over-groom when they’re suffering from yeast allergies. Some pets do this in private, and you’ll need to be vigilant to see it. Since yeast allergy affects pets’ skin, it is possible to use topical creams to treat them. If your pet does the overgrooming in private, you will notice it through hair loss, red skin, and brown saliva staining their toes.

 

Managing yeast intolerance

Even though yeast allergy is relatively uncommon, it can be very daunting when one finds out that they have this allergy. If you’ve been experiencing yeast allergy symptoms and have ruled out other diseases, it’s high time you purchased your Yeast Allergy Test Kit so you can rule out or finally diagnose this allergy. If you find out you have a yeast allergy, it is best to talk to your doctor to know further which foods you should avoid.

 

About the Author

Kate Young is a clinical bio scientist and embryologist in both clinical NHS hospitals and private laboratories in the UK and Japan. She graduated with a BSc in Human Biological Studies from Leicester University, moved to Japan in 2006, where she specialized in IVF and embryology.

The early years of her career included Lab supervisor at Nottingham City Hospital’s Sperm Bank and Product Research and Development Technician at Boots PLC in Nottingham, testing sunscreen SPF’s and non-irritant baby products before focusing her expertise in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) and Genetics, which became her passion. You can find more about Kate, Healthy Stuff Lab Manager, here.

 

References

  1. AllergyUK. Available online {Source}: https://www.allergyuk.org/about-allergy/statistics-and-figures/
  2. Eleese Cunningham. February 20, 2013. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Available online {Source} Is There a Diet for “Yeast Allergy”? – Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (jandonline.org)
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