In This Article
In This Article
Soy intolerance and soy sensitivity are when the body struggles to digest or reacts negatively to soy products.
A soy intolerance happens when your digestive system finds it difficult to digest soy. The symptoms that arise include:
On the other hand, a soy allergy occurs when your immune system overreacts to soy.1 It mistakenly activates a defensive response to soy. This can lead to symptoms such as:
When individuals have either of these conditions, consuming soy-based foods can lead to discomfort and other unwanted symptoms.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of soy intolerance and sensitivity can help you better comprehend how your body responds to soy consumption.
Soy intolerances often feel uncomfortable and painful, especially in the abdominal area.
Soy intolerance involves the difficulty in breaking down soy. Unlike a food allergy, the immune system does not produce antibodies in response to soy.2
Individuals who have a soy intolerance can often consume small quantities of soy.
However, when soy is consumed in large quantities, soy intolerance can lead to various unpleasant symptoms. Common signs include:
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The symptoms of soy allergies can be mild or severe. Common signs of soy allergies include:1
Soy sensitivity can sometimes manifest as a food allergy. An allergy is the immune system's response to foreign substances deemed a threat. Often, these substances are harmless to most people.4
Soy allergies are most common in infants and children.5 Most people can outgrow soy allergies by the age of 3. However, a soy allergy can develop at any age.1
If you suspect you have soy intolerance or sensitivity, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and advice. They can guide you in managing your diet and finding suitable alternatives to soy products.
To diagnose soy intolerance and soy sensitivity, doctors use a combination of methods:1,6
While some at-home tests check for soy allergies, some may not feel they’re fully accurate. Others may feel that their home environment is not controlled enough to test properly either.
It’s important to note that many at-home tests are actually very reliable and accessible. They’re also handy in case you don’t have time to go to a professional lab.
There are two reliable types of tests you can take at home to determine if you have a soy allergy:
For further testing and interpreting results, it's crucial to see an allergist or healthcare specialist.
Remember, while lab tests are not perfect either and can sometimes lead to false positives, self-diagnosis comes with its own risks. Make sure you carry out at-home tests properly and according to all the instructions.
If you’re not feeling confident about home testing, a healthcare professional can provide accurate and safe testing for soy allergies or intolerances.
If you have soy intolerance, it's essential to steer clear of certain foods that contain soy or soy-based ingredients:1
Make sure to check whether the food you eat has soy content.
For example, these foods can still cause an allergic reaction due to hidden soy content:6,9
Some foods are naturally high in soy. Avoid them if you have soy intolerance:
Always read food labels carefully. Be aware of possible cross-contamination in food preparation. Being mindful of your diet will help manage soy intolerance and prevent uncomfortable allergic reactions.
Avoiding soy is the only way to prevent symptoms associated with soy sensitivity.1
However, there are various ways to manage and treat soy sensitivity.
Treating soy sensitivity involves simple steps to manage symptoms:3
In some cases, soy intolerance might improve over time. Some factors can influence this:
It is not always clear why allergies may arise.14 However, several factors could trigger sudden soy sensitivity, such as:15
Gut Health – Changes in gut bacteria can influence food sensitivities.16
Age – Food sensitivities can develop or change as you age. This is because as you age, your immune system naturally weakens.17
Genetics – If you have a family history of soy sensitivity, you may be more likely to have it.13
Yes, soy can cause gas for some people. Three factors can contribute to this:
Fermentation: Undigested soy can be fermented by gut bacteria, leading to gas.18
High Oligosaccharides: Soy contains complex carbohydrates19 that contribute to gas.
Individual Differences: Some people are more sensitive to gas-producing foods like soy.
Some people believe that if you eat eggs, it can trigger your soy allergy. This is because most chickens eat soy from their feed.
However, having a soy allergy doesn't mean you must avoid eggs. In most cases, people with a soy allergy can eat eggs.
For example, soy and eggs are distinct allergens.20 It's unlikely that cross-reactivity can trigger a soy allergy.
It's best to consult your doctor or allergist before reintroducing eggs into your diet.
Soy allergies can vary in severity. Some individuals may experience minor symptoms such as rashes or an upset stomach. Other cases can trigger life-threatening reactions like anaphylaxis.
The reactions to soy allergies may differ per individual. Always be cautious with soy consumption. Consult a professional to prevent any adverse reactions from consuming soy.
Soy and soy protein are related but not the same.
Soy refers to whole soybeans or soy-based products. Meanwhile, soy protein is an isolated protein extracted from soybeans.
Unfortunately, soy protein isolate is not as healthy as whole soy. Soy protein isolate is often used in processed foods and supplements. It has been shown to increase insulin-like growth factors linked to cancer growth.10
Always seek medical advice if you suspect soy sensitivity or experience adverse reactions after consuming soy products.
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