Tue, Jan 09, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Too much of what you fancy could cause food allergies

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Patients plagued by unexplained gastrointestinal conditions, asthma, fatigue or even depression could be suffering delayed food allergies, said Ho I-chen (何一成), the deputy director of the ReShining clinic.

Ho cited a recent case of a woman who suffered from constipation for over six months.

"There are so many causes of constipation that we would not have considered the possibility that an allergy was to blame ... except she was also breaking out in hives, a classic allergy symptom" Ho said. "So we gave her a blood test."

The culprit was found to be mung beans, which the woman ate on a near-daily basis, often in the form of glass noodles.

"After 14 days without ingesting mung bean products, her symptoms disappeared," Ho said.

Because of the different mechanisms which bring about allergic reactions, allergies can be divided into immediate-onset and delayed-onset, Ho said.

"If you have an immediate-onset allergic reaction, you know about it within minutes," Ho said.

"But since delayed-onset allergic reactions do not appear until hours or even a day later, it is hard for people to make the connection between the food that is making them sick and the symptoms."

According to Ho, there is a medical basis for the widespread belief that food allergies are becoming increasingly common.

"The more you are exposed to a food, the more likely you are to become allergic to it," Ho said.

"People didn't use to have the luxury of always eating what they liked, but now we can afford to eat our favorite foods every day of the week. Foods like milk, eggs and seafood are more apt to cause allergic reactions than non animal-based foods," Ho said.

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