Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sugar and spice and everything not so nice: Spice allergy affects foodies and cosmetic users alike

Date:
November 8, 2012
Source:
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)
Summary:
Imagine a world where you could never dine away from home, wear makeup, smell of sweet perfumes or eat a large percentage of food on store shelves. According to allergists, that is the world for 2 to 3 percent of individuals living with a spice allergy.

Spices and herbs.
Credit: Profotokris / Fotolia

Imagine a world where you could never dine away from home, wear makeup, smell of sweet perfumes or eat a large percentage of food on store shelves. According to allergists at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting that is kicking off today in Anaheim, Calif., that is the world for 2 to 3 percent of individuals living with a spice allergy.

Spices are one of the most widely used products found in foods, cosmetics and dental products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate spices, meaning they often are not noted on food labels, making spices possibly the most difficult allergen to identify or avoid. According to rough estimates, spice allergy is responsible for 2 percent of food allergies. However it is underdiagnosed, particularly due to the lack of reliable allergy skin tests or blood tests.

"While spice allergy seems to be rare, with the constantly increasing use of spices in the American diet and a variety of cosmetics, we anticipate more and more Americans will develop this allergy," said allergist Sami Bahna, M.D., ACAAI past president. "Patients with spice allergy often have to go through extreme measures to avoid the allergen. This can lead to strict dietary avoidance, low quality of life and sometimes malnutrition."

In his presentation, Dr. Bahna noted that due to the wide use of spice in cosmetics, women are more likely to develop spice allergy. Makeup, body oils, toothpaste and fragrances can all include one or more spices. Those with birch pollen or mugwort (a traditional herbal medicine used to relieve inflammatory conditions) allergy are also more prone to spice allergy.

Common spice allergy triggers include cinnamon and garlic, but can range from black pepper to vanilla. Several spice blends contain anywhere from three to 18 spices, and the hotter the spice, the greater the chance for allergy.

"Boiling, roasting, frying and other forms of applying heat to spices may reduce allergy causing agents, but can also enhance them depending on the spice," said Dr. Bahna. "Because of this allergy's complexity, allergists often recommend a treatment plan that includes strict avoidance which can be a major task."

An allergic reaction can be caused from breathing, eating or touching spices. Symptoms range from mild sneezing to a life-threating allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. According to Dr. Bahna, spice allergy should be suspected in individuals that have multiple reactions to unrelated foods, or those that react to foods when commercially prepared but not when cooked at home.

Even someone that is allergic to only one known spice can have a reaction to several spice blends. According to Dr. Bahna's presentation, there are several unique characteristics about spice blends, including:

  • A Five-Spice blend has seven spices, yet Allspice has one
  • The same blend name doesn't mean same components
  • There are several types of Curry, each is a different blend of many spices

Those that suspect they may have a spice allergy should see a board-certified allergist for proper diagnosis and a custom-made management plan. Patients should carefully keep track of what foods and other products trigger their allergy with MyNasalAllergyJournal.org.

Information about allergies and asthma can be found at AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org. More news and research from the annual meeting, being held Nov. 8-13, 2012 can be followed via Twitter at #ACAAI.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "Sugar and spice and everything not so nice: Spice allergy affects foodies and cosmetic users alike." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108073639.htm>.
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). (2012, November 8). Sugar and spice and everything not so nice: Spice allergy affects foodies and cosmetic users alike. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108073639.htm
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "Sugar and spice and everything not so nice: Spice allergy affects foodies and cosmetic users alike." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108073639.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins