How Food Processing Changes Its Allergenicity

Allergenic protein structures change when processed. Some are more heat labile than others. It all depends on the protein structure.

Higher temperatures for longer times can decrease the allergenicity of the proteins, allowing it to be tolerated by some. Generally the greater the decrease in allergenicity as you heat, cook, and finally bake.

Fermenting is another way protein structures can change enough to make a difference in allergenicity, as they are partially digested into shorter chains (peptides).

Example: gluten content in regular commercial soy sauce. Many test under 20 ppm, low enough to be tolerated depending on one’s sensitivity.

Allergies and Food Culture

Common allergies mirror what is frequently eaten in your particular food culture.

The big 8 in the U.S. is actually only true for typical American (SAD?) diets.

Other potent allergens depending on culture: sesame, buckwheat, mustard.

Although it is a tree nut, there was no commercial extract for testing chestnut when I visited an allergist in the US, whereas in Korea, it is a top 3 allergen.

Some are not potent but eaten frequently enough may cause cases: rice as reported in Japan.

My allergies mirror my upbringing, representing both East and West.

East: buckwheat, chestnut, soy, fermented soy, shrimp
West: milk, wheat (barley, rye), pecan

Additional Info on Migraine

General migraine info:

Book: Heal Your Headache, David Buchholz, M.D.

Migraines can alter brain structure permanently


Migraine as food allergy:

People with migraines had reactions to food allergens, the most common reaction was to wheat (78%), orange, eggs, tea, coffee, chocolate, milk, beef, corn, cane sugar, and yeast. When 10 foods causing the most reactions were removed migraines fell precipitously, hypertension declined. (Grant EC (1979). “Food allergies and migraine”. Lancet. 1 (8123): 966–9.)

A specific instance attributed to wheat. (Pascual J, Leno C (2005). “A woman with daily headaches”. The Journal of Headache and Pain. 6 (2): 91–2.)

Could a hidden allergy be causing your migraines?

In accordance with my own experience, researchers could not trigger migraine with bright light by itself. I also observed that bright sun light is not itself a trigger but would make throbbing pain worse once the migraine already started.


And a random case I read. Christine H. Lee’s tiny hole in her heart caused her migraine, which was discovered when it caused her stroke.

I Had a Stroke at 33

The hole, or more accurately a flap, is called a patent foramen ovale, or PFO. All fetuses have a hole in their heart between the left and right chambers, to bypass the lungs as they take oxygen from their mother’s blood. Once born, that flap fuses. And once born, nearly a quarter of humans have holes in their hearts that don’t completely close. For some, the hole is severe and needs to be closed immediately. For many others, the hole is undetected. Maybe like I used to, you get migraine headaches, or have altitude sickness at 5,000 feet instead of 10,000 feet, or find yourself panting while doing a slow jog, no matter how often you train.

Exercise Induced Allergies

Exercise induced allergies are an example of symptoms being provoked only when two (or more) factors are present at the same time. This makes it much harder to tease out the cause(s).

Food dependent exercise induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA) was first described in a case study in 1979, which seems fairly recent by medical standards. In comparison, Aspergers (now high functioning Autism) was first described in 1944.

Wheat allergy and delayed migraine connection was first confirmed through DBPCFC (double blind placebo controlled food challenge: the “gold standard”) in 2006.

Other possibilities such as free glutamates (MSG), NSAIDs amplifying allergic reaction have been described.

A study of WDEIA (wheat dependent exercise induced anaphylaxis)* shows that both aspirin and exercise increase the presence of gliadin in the blood stream** and the chronic induced behavior may extend to NSAIDs, MSG, Benzoate and other synthetic chemical food additives.

*Or GDEIA (gluten dependent exercise induced anaphylaxis)

**Morita E, Kunie K, Matsuo H (2007). “Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis”. J. Dermatol. Sci. 47 (2): 109–17. doi:10.1016/j.jdermsci.2007.03.004. PMID 17507204.

What I thought I knew about allergies and how it changed

These might still be true for most but when you are the exception, it is helpful to know of the possible complexity and idiosyncrasies.

You cannot NOT know about your food allergy.
→ You may not know you have food allergies, perhaps because you have multiple or the chronic form.

A true food allergy will cause an instant reaction to tiny amounts of allergen.
→ Some allergies, even IgE mediated, have a delayed reaction. On the other hand some non-IgE mediated allergies have an immediate reaction.
→ Some people have high provocation doses even up to a typical serving size.

Symptoms are usually swelling or hives.
→ Allergies may manifest in less typical ways (GI issues, headaches…).

If you do have food allergies you likely have 1 or 2, anyone with more than a few is suspect.
→ It is possible to have many allergies, there are plenty reported in research.

Food allergies can be detected by skin prick test.
→ Some allergens do not show up well in skin prick tests. Frequent offenders are wheat and sesame.

False negatives are exceedingly rare in allergy testing.
→ Might be rare but it is still possible, and some severe allergies may be non-IgE mediated.

FPIES exists mainly in very young children.
-→ Adults can have it too and it is likely underreported as people simply may not know what they are dealing with.

The Allergic March

Common pattern:

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) as a baby
Food allergies (milk, egg, soy) in infancy to early childhood, majority outgrown,
Asthma in childhood
Rhinitis (environmental allergies) in teens,
Possible new food allergies (tree nut, seafood) emerging in adulthood, usually not outgrown

There is a lot of individual variation.
Not all people with allergic tendencies will develop all of these components, but they do have a higher probability.
Unfortunately some childhood food allergies (nuts) are less likely to outgrow.

Additional Info on FPIES

Following are some info I found helpful from other sites with links:

FPIES (Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome)

What is it?

A rare type of food allergy that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Classic FPIES reactions typically occur two or more hours after ingesting the “trigger” food and typically involve profuse vomiting, diarrhea, and can progress to shock. Reactions can be severe and require immediate medical attention.

Supposedly usually an infant/ childhood problem although adult cases have been reported.

Treatment for FPIES with shock

It is not completely understood why FPIES reactions sometimes lead to low blood pressure. One theory suggests that fluids leak into the gut, resulting in less fluid in the blood vessels.

The primary treatment for hypotension and shock during a serious FPIES reaction is intravenous fluids. This treatment adds to the blood volume and improves the circulation.

Epinephrine given by autoinjector for typical allergic anaphylaxis has not been studied for hypotension/shock in FPIES. Because this medication works by strengthening the heart beat and blood vessels, but does not replace the missing fluids, experts do not feel that epinephrine should be depended upon as a treatment for FPIES reactions.


Chronic fpies

In chronic FPIES, symptoms resolve within a few days and up to 2 weeks after elimination of the offending food protein from the diet. Subsequent ingestions of the offending food after a period of elimination will result in an acute FPIES episode.

Atypical fpies

Although IgE-mediated disease is not normally associated with FPIES, some affected individuals have developed a food specific IgE as is seen with classic food allergies. These children tend to have a more prolonged course of the disorder. These cases are termed “atypical FPIES”.

Baked milk for cow’s milk FPIES

Many children with immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated cow’s milk allergy can tolerate milk in baked goods. However, this approach has not been studied in FPIES. The concern is that baking does not alter sequential epitopes that would continue to be recognized by T cells, presumed to be the effector cells of allergic inflammation in FPIES. Thus, we suggest that patients with FPIES triggered by cow’s milk avoid all forms of cow’s milk/dairy, including products with advisory labeling for milk.