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Soy Allergy


Disease: Soy Allergy Soy Allergy
Category: Allergies
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Disease Definition:

One of the foods that frequently cause allergies in children is soy, a product of soybeans. Usually, a reaction to a soy-based infant formula is how soy allergy starts. Soy allergy may persist, and is becoming more common in adults, but usually, by the age of 3 most children outgrow their allergy.

Even though in some rare cases a life-threatening allergic reaction called an anaphylaxis may be caused by soy allergy, but usually, the signs and symptoms of this allergy are mild.

In case a person or their child has a reaction to soy, no matter how mild the reaction, they should talk to a doctor. A soy allergy can be confirmed with tests, which enables people to avoid future and potentially worse reactions.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Although uncomfortable, soy allergy is mostly not serious. Usually, within a few minutes to an hour after eating soy-containing food, the signs and symptoms of food allergy start developing. Some of the signs and symptoms of soy allergy may be:

  • Wheezing, runny nose or trouble breathing
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
  • Swelling of the face, throat, lips, tongue, or other parts of the body
  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Hives, itching or eczema

In some rare cases, an allergic reaction to soy can be frightening and even life-threatening. Usually, this happens in people who are allergic to other foods such as peanuts, or people who have asthma. Some of the more severe signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • Rapid pulse
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness or loss of consciousness
  • Constriction of airways, including a swollen throat or a lump in the throat, making it difficult to breathe
  • Shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure

As mentioned before, a soy-based formula is usually what starts soy allergy in infants. When the formula of a child is changed from a milk-based one to a soy-based one due to an allergic reaction, soy allergy develops.
In case someone experiences food allergy symptoms shortly after eating, they should see a doctor or allergist. However, to help the doctor make a diagnosis, the person should try seeing him/her when the allergic reaction is occurring.

If someone develops any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis, emergency treatment should be sought. The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis may be:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Constriction of airways, which makes it difficult to breathe
  • Full-body redness and warmth (flushing)
  • Shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure
  • Drooling with an inability to swallow
  • Significant change in voice quality
  • Rapid, weak pulse


An immune system malfunction is the cause of all food allergies. Certain soy proteins are identified as harmful by the immune system, triggering the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in order to neutralize the allergen, which in this case is the soy protein. These IgE antibodies will recognize the soy protein the next time the person comes in contact with it, and signal the immune system to release histamine as well as other chemicals into the bloodstream.
A variety of allergic signs and symptoms are caused by histamine and other body chemicals. Most allergic responses are partly caused by histamine, such as labored breathing, dry throat, nausea, runny nose, itchy eyes, rashes, diarrhea and anaphylactic shock.
Even though exactly how soy protein causes an allergic reaction is still not clear ,fifteen possible allergens have been identified in soy protein that come from soybeans.

Listed below are some of the factors that may increase someone’s risk of soy allergy:

Children, especially toddlers and infants, suffer from soy allergy. However, the body is less likely to absorb food or food components that trigger allergies as a person grows older because the digestive system matures.

Family History:
In case a person’s family has a history of allergies, such as asthma, eczema, hay fever or hives, he/she will be more susceptible to developing soy allergy or other allergies.

Other Allergies:
Some people may have an allergic reaction to soy in case they're allergic to wheat, milk, beans (legumes) or other foods.





Completely avoiding soy and soy proteins is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction.

After being exposed to soy, in order to control the reaction, help relieve discomfort and reduce signs and symptoms, the person may take antihistamines.

However, people may still come in contact with soy in spite of their best efforts. An emergency injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) and a trip to the hospital may be necessary in case someone has a serious allergic reaction. A person should carry injectable epinephrine with them at all times in case they’re at risk of having a severe reaction. The doctor may help them understand exactly when and how to use portable epinephrine.


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