Allergy to buckwheat: causes, symptoms, treatment

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 18.10.2021

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Hypersensitivity — allergies — can be caused not only by chemicals, flowering plants, or drugs, but also by food.

Allergy to buckwheat is much less common than intolerance to eggs, milk, nuts, oysters, strawberries, citrus fruits or honey.

Although, in the sense of food allergy, even wheat is “not without sin”: intolerance to this cereal and all its products (including semolina, bread and pasta) is called celiac disease, the cause of which is gluten protein.

But in buckwheat, which surpassed rice, wheat, millet and maize in terms of protein content, there is no gluten at all. And it is no coincidence that buckwheat is not at all cereal, but an angiosperm flowering plant of the buckwheat family.

But in buckwheat there are many vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, dietary fiber, essential amino acids (including lysine, threonine and tryptophan), flavonoids (including rutin and quercetin)... Is it really such a valuable and, moreover, dietary food product can cause allergic reaction?

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Causes of allergy to buckwheat

For a long time, buckwheat has been eaten all over the world, and the question “does buckwheat cause allergies” arose in the early 20th century. The fact is that buckwheat is one of the main and most powerful allergens in Japan and Korea. First, the Japanese love the traditional soba noodles, which are made from a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour. And the Koreans do not imagine dinner without chicken broth with buckwheat noodles - “nanman”.

In addition, the inhabitants of the countries of this region, even the buckwheat husk is allowed into the business and fill it with pillows. And it was suggested that many cases of allergies in people (who complained of a headache, persistent runny nose or eczema) were caused by buckwheat. In addition, positive skin tests for buckwheat allergen were detected in almost 5% of Koreans who complained, including those who sleep on buckwheat pillows and those who manufacture them.

Abroad, we began to investigate the allergy to buckwheat in 1909, and by the middle of the last century, the question “Is there any allergy to buckwheat?” Was given a definite affirmative answer. Numerous scientific studies have experimentally confirmed that IgE-mediated (that is, not immunological) generalized hypersensitivity reactions of allergic origin can be caused by the use of buckwheat, buckwheat flour and the inhalation of buckwheat dust during the processing of seeds of this culture.

Moreover, many specialists of veterinary clinics say that even a dog is allergic to buckwheat, and moreover, not less often than people.

True, its specific allergen has not yet been precisely identified, so many continue to believe that buckwheat allergy is an individual intolerance to this product (pseudo-allergy). Although recently more and more researchers are inclined to see a particular type of food allergy in the negative reaction to buckwheat. And some attempts of foreign scientists to identify the allergen of our favorite porridge were crowned with success. The albumin, globulin and prolamin proteins, or rather their enzymatic and biological activity, are “suspected” of involvement in buckwheat allergy.

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Symptoms of allergy to buckwheat

The first symptoms of an allergy to buckwheat in adults are swelling of the lips or hives. At the same time signs of allergy do not always appear immediately after the use of buckwheat. Allergies can be felt after some time or after repeated contact with the allergen (sensitization usually occurs through the mouth).

The list of symptoms of allergy to buckwheat includes: sneezing, runny nose, cough, itching in the mouth, redness around the lips, swelling of the lips and tongue, hoarseness, angioedema (angioedema), headache, pain in the sinuses, shortness of breath. If the esophagus is affected, dysphagia (swallowing disorder) and chest pain during swallowing can be observed.

Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea are observed with the defeat of the gastrointestinal tract. If the liver is damaged, its increase is observed, as well as jaundice and changes in biochemical parameters.

Skin manifestations of allergies are expressed in the appearance of small, causing unbearable itching blisters (urticaria). Joint pain, tiredness, and insomnia with dyspnea may occur.

Allergy to buckwheat in a child is manifested, first of all, by skin rashes, redness of the eyes, tearing and runny nose. Often there are gastrointestinal disorders, similar to those observed in adults.

Allergic reactions to cereals (most often to those that contain gluten), children begin to suffer with the start of the introduction of complementary foods. Often there is an allergy to buckwheat in infants who are on mixed or artificial feeding - as a result of the use of milk formulas containing buckwheat flour. Therefore, pediatricians do not get tired of repeating: so that the introduction of a new food does not have undesirable consequences for a child in the form of atopic dermatitis, parents should introduce each new type of food gradually and begin with a minimum amount. At the same time be sure to constantly monitor the reaction of the body of the baby.


Diagnosis of allergy to buckwheat

Diagnosis of buckwheat allergy - like any diagnosis process for food allergies - is based on a detailed clinical history and physical examination of the patient.

In doubtful cases, when a doctor deals with a patient prone to allergies, the entire arsenal of allergic diagnostics, including skin testing, diagnostic tests for IgE antibodies to various food allergens, elimination diets (i.e., excluding certain foods) and provocative tests, is applied..

Since the number of people suffering from allergies is constantly increasing, experts resort to methods for determining cross-reactions - between various food allergens, between food and non-food allergens, for example, plant pollen, drugs, etc.


Treatment of allergies to buckwheat

Avoiding contact with an allergen is a key point in the general concept of managing any allergy, including food. Therefore, the main thing in the treatment of allergies to buckwheat, as well as the prevention of allergies to buckwheat - to avoid its use.

If the symptoms of allergies are mild, then her therapy with medications is not provided. In case of allergic rhinitis and excessive skin reaction, antihistamines are prescribed, such as suprastin, tavegil, diazolin or zyrtec.

Suprastin tablets of 25 mg are taken after meals: adults and children over 14 years old - 1 tablet 3 times a day, children up to 14 years old - 0.5 tablets (pounded into powder) three times a day. The drug tavegil in the form of tablets is prescribed to adults on 1 tablet no more than four times a day - before meals, with only water; children between 6 and 12 years old are prescribed 0.5 tablets twice a day (in the morning and evening. This medicine is contraindicated in children under one year old (as well as pregnant and lactating women). Tavegil in the form of syrup - 1 teaspoon twice a day.

Antihistamine diazolin should be taken immediately after a meal. Dosage for adults and children over 12 years old - at 0.05–0.2 g 2 times a day. For children under 12 years old, the drug is prescribed in 0.025-0.05 g 1-3 times a day (depending on the intensity of allergy).

Antiallergic drug Zyrtec is available in tablets (for adults and children over 6 years old) and in the form of drops (for children from 6 months to 6 years). The daily dose for adults and children over 6 years old - 1 tablet, which you need to drink with a glass of water. Children from 6 to 12 months are given 5 drops 1 time per day; from 1 to 2 years - 5 drops, 2 times a day; from 2 to 6 years - 5 drops twice a day or 10 drops once a day.

The cycle of treatment with these drugs continues until the removal of acute allergies. And it should be borne in mind that all antihistamines have side effects in the form of drowsiness, lethargy, dizziness, dry mouth, dryness and irritation of the nasal pharynx; stomach pain, nausea and vomiting may also occur.

Allergy to buckwheat does not apply to respiratory allergies. It manifests itself mainly as allergic dermatosis, that is, in the form of urticaria and atopic dermatosis. Therefore, in addition to antihistamine, other medicines, the doctor will not prescribe.

And prevention of allergies to buckwheat in adults and children is very simple: the diet should not be dishes, the use of which can be caused by an allergy to buckwheat.

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