What is corn maltodextrin allergies
Unlike some other food allergies (nuts, shellfish, and wheat, for example), the exact causes of corn allergy aren't known. It's thought that a combination of genetic factors, environmental factors, and epigenetic factors (the interaction of genetics and the environment) are at play.
Corn is a cereal grain that contains a protein, zein, which is the suspected culprit in this allergy.
A reaction occurs when the body recognizes this protein as foreign and releases immunoglobulin E (IgE), antibodies to attack the protein. IgE then stimulates cells in the immune system to secrete substances such as histamines that are responsible for the symptoms.
Allergic reactions can happen as a result of eating both raw and cooked corn, as well as foods manufactured with corn products. Not every corn products contain zein, but it can be hard to know when it is present, as current food labeling does include a "corn free" designation.
Even coming into contact with surgical gloves or intravenous fluids that contain corn can be problematic.
Those who own corn allergy may also react to corn pollen, grass pollen, and cornstarch (typically with hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and/or asthma).
People who own asthma, eczema, hives, hay fever, or other food allergies appear to be at greater risk.
A family history of these conditions is also associated with a higher risk, particularly when a sibling has a corn allergy.
Signs and Symptoms
Allergic reactions to corn can take diverse forms. Common symptoms include:
- Flushing or reddening of the skin
- Itching, particularly in or around the mouth (oral allergy syndrome), but may be generalized as well
- Hay fever-like symptoms: sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Wheezing, asthma
Anaphylaxis may also happen and can include symptoms such as:
- Hoarse voice
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling and/or tightness of the lips, tongue, throat, neck, or face
- Lethargy, confusion, or loss of consciousness
- Rapid heart rate
- A sense of impending doom
It's uncertain exactly how common corn allergy is, but some researchers believe it's underdiagnosed.
A 2016 study done in Pakistan found the rate to be 0.86, or almost 1 percent of the population. In the study, a diagnosis of allergy was confirmed by a food challenge.
One study in Honduras of only 50 adults found the prevalence to be 6 percent, but there's currently no excellent estimate of the incidence in the United States. Since corn is present in so numerous products (found in roughly 75 percent of processed foods), minor symptoms could be easily overlooked as due to something else.
What Is Maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin is used as a thickener, filler or preservative in numerous processed foods.
It’s an artificially produced white powder that can be enzymatically derived from any starch, most commonly made from corn, rice, potato starch or wheat.
Although maltodextrin comes from natural foods, it’s highly processed. According to the FDA, the starch goes through a process called partial hydrolysis, which uses water, enzymes and acids to break below the starch and create the water-soluble white powder.
When the powder is added to food, it thickens the product, prevents crystallization and helps bind ingredients together.
The difference between maltodextrin and corn syrup solids is that maltodextrin is hydrolyzed to own less than 20 percent sugar content, whereas corn syrup solids own more than 20 percent sugar content.
Diagnosis and Testing
Diagnosing food allergies is significant, as the results can own a significant impact on what a person eats each and every day.
That said, the diagnosis of corn allergy can be challenging.
Allergy testing with blood tests and skin tests can be inaccurate, with untrue positive tests occurring often.
Such a result, however, does place a person at a higher risk for an allergic reaction to that food and should be considered along with other findings.
A careful history is often the most dependable indicator of a corn allergy, with symptoms of an allergic reaction occurring after eating corn or foods containing corn. The history, however, can be hard to assess for a few reasons:
- Corn is present in a vast number of foods and in diverse amounts.
- Signs and symptoms are non-specific and may easily be dismissed as a freezing virus, a rash due to irritation, or an allergic reaction due to something else.
With mild symptoms, keeping a food diary is often an excellent start.
This involves recording foods that are eaten, when they are eaten, and any symptoms you experience.
An elimination dietcan also be extremely helpful. With this, the foods that are eaten are greatly restricted, and then individual foods are slowly added back in at specific intervals so that a reaction, if present, can easily be traced back.
The diet often requires a commitment of a minimum of two weeks and often more to identify potential food allergies. If a corn allergy is suspected, a food challenge (eating corn) may be considered, but should only be done under the guidance of an allergist.
Consulting with an allergist who specializes in food allergies early on can be extremely helpful, and is imperative if you own had any symptoms suggestive of an anaphylactic reaction.
For mild allergic reactions, treatment generally consists of managing the symptoms alone until the allergic reaction is done.
For anaphylactic reactions, epinephrine (an EpiPen) is the only treatment available, along with immediate medical care in an emergency room.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening emergency and immediate medical treatment is needed.
Call 911 immediately if you suspect you or a loved one may be having such a reaction.
Look over the food labels of numerous of your packaged foods and you may notice a extremely common ingredient called maltodextrin.
This artificially produced white powder is often used in our everyday foods, love yogurt, sauces and salad dressings, sometimes without us even realizing it.
The truth is that maltodextrin can be considered a metabolism death food — it lacks nutritional worth, and there are some beautiful scary maltodextrin dangers to consider before opening up a bag of chips or baked goods, such as spiking blood sugar.
The excellent news is that there are healthier, more natural substitutes for maltodextrin, and some of them may already be sitting in your kitchen cabinet.