Soya allergy

What is a soya allergy?

Soya allergies are a type of food allergy. The body's immune system perceives proteins in soya as dangerous, and attempts to mount an immune response against them. The soya proteins bind to IgE, an antibody (a type of immune chemical) made by plasma cells (a type of white blood cell which makes antibodies). IgE then stimulates other white blood cells known as mast cells to make histamine. Histamine, and related chemicals (prostraglandins and leukotrienes) cause the symptoms of an allergy.

At least 16 different allergens have been identified in soya, but the significance of each one is poorly understood. The most common soya protein which can cause allergic symptoms is P34. This is a protein found in all cells and is involved with regulating cellular division (soya and human versions of P34 are different, so there is little chance that you will develop an allergic reaction against yourself!). Anti-soya antibodies have also been identified, but they can vary quite a lot (in both structure and function).

Only 0.5 % of the population has a soya allergy. Like most food allergies, it tends to develop in childhood or infancy, and can go away by the time the child reaches school age. 6 – 8 % of children have a soya allergy.

Soya allergy Guide Index:

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