Soy allergy

Soy allergy is a type of food allergy. It is a hypersensitivity to dietary substances from soy causing an overreaction of the immune system which may lead to severe physical symptoms for millions of people.[1] The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates soy is among the eight most common food allergens for pediatric and adult food allergy patients.[2] It is usually treated with an exclusion diet and vigilant avoidance of foods that may be contaminated with soy ingredients. The most severe food allergy reaction is called anaphylaxis[3] and is a medical emergency requiring immediate attention and treatment with Epinephrine.

Reactions and treatment

Some people who are allergic to soy protein may have an extreme allergic reaction and go into anaphylactic shock (anaphylaxis). In cases of anaphylaxis, emergency medical personnel typically administer epinephrine (available as an autoinjector, such as EpiPen) and an antihistamine such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). In event of an allergic reaction, the victim should see a physician or immediately go to the emergency room, as anaphylaxis can be fatal if not treated immediately.


Soy allergy can be diagnosed by a prick test or a blood test for immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.[4]

Food sources of soy protein

Many fast-food restaurants commonly use soy protein in hamburger buns (soy flour), hamburger meat (soy protein) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) in sauces. On their respective websites, McDonald's and Burger King list soy flour as an ingredient in their hamburger buns.[5][6] U.S. Nutrition Information Multi-grain breads, doughnuts, doughnut mix and pancake mix commonly contain soy flour. Nearly all bread products available in the US now contain soy. Soy can now be found in nearly all types of foods, from meat to ice cream, to cheese, to french fries. Many foods are contaminated with soy due to being cooked in soy oil. At the Jack in the Box fast food chain for example, everything fried is cooked in a soy oil. At Baskin Robbins, over half of all ice creams offered contain soy. Canned tuna may contain vegetable broth which contains soy protein.

Some products [for reasons having to do with national regulation of soy products] don't list soy protein or soy flour on their ingredients labels, yet they still contain soy. There are still many latent issues resolving how soy should be regulated, as well as its long-term effects on human health.

Products containing soy protein include:

The following food additives may contain soy protein:

Dosage tolerance

Many people with soy allergy can tolerate small or moderate amounts of soy protein: the typical dose needed to induce an allergic response is about 100 times higher than for many other food allergens.[9]

See also


  1. National Institutes of Health, NIAID Allergy Statistics 2005
  2. “Allergy Facts and Figures,” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
  3. National Report of the Expert Panel on Food Allergy Research, NIH-NIAID 2003
  4. "Mayo Clinic: Soy Allergy - Tests and diagnosis", May 20, 2011, retrieved February 26th, 2013
  5. "McDonald's Nutrition Information and Ingredients", August 26, 2006, retrieved September 7, 2006
  6. Burger King USA (11 page PDF file) "Burger King Nutrition and Ingredients" Burger King Brands Inc. USA, August, 2006, retrieved September 7, 2006
  7. Hidden Allergens in Foods, Allergy Advisor, retrieved 2011-12-27
  8. Staff, Cleveland Clinic. Soy Allergy
  9. Christopher T. Cordle (1 May 2004). "Soy Protein Allergy: Incidence and Relative Severity". Journal of Nutrition. 134 (5): 1213S–1219S. PMID 15113974.

External links

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