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 Post subject: Corn allergy increase?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2948
Location: Toronto
Wondered if any of you dealing with corn allergy have heard that it's on the increase?

Anecdotally, I seem to run into a fair number of people with this allergy. Does anyone know of any prevalence studies? I'm wondering if it's almost reached "priority allergen" levels.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:15 pm
Posts: 370
Location: Regina, Sask
I really do believe that corn allergy is on the rise. I belong to another corn allergy forum and we get at least 1 or 2 newcomers every day. Many of our new people are mothers of corn allergic infants and children. It is a nightmare for them to find "safe" corn free (child friendly) foods. All (except for one, I believe) infant formulas contain some form of corn. Also, most baby foods will also contain corn. The saddest story I have heard was from a new mom whose baby became very sick from the formula she was being given. The child's digestive system became so inflamed that a feeding tube had to be inserted. The tube would back up and some of the formula would spill onto the baby's chest causing a blistering rash wherever it touched the skin. They tested for allergies and he/she tested positive for corn. It was unbelievable that the doctors told the mom to continue with the formula because the corn that was present was so highly refined that it could not possibly cause a reaction. This is what we are told constantly...you can't react to this or that because there is no corn protein left or that it (corn derivative) has been so highly processed that it could not possibly cause a reaction.

As far as I know there has only been one documented study done in recent years:

http://ift.confex.com/ift/2001/techprog ... r_8617.htm

The article concludes with:

This study indicates that although corn allergy may be rare, when it occurs it can be severe.

Corn allergy has to be the most difficult allergy to figure out since "corn" has approximately 180 different names (derivatives). It is not considered one of the top 8/10 allergens and therefore it is used freely by the food industry (and not always appear on a label). "GMP" Good Manufacturing Practice is the phrase used. I have been allergic to corn since infancy and I have literally spent the last 30 years trying to figure out my reactions and finding safe foods.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:15 pm
Posts: 370
Location: Regina, Sask
P.S. Up until about 30 years ago it was relatively easy to avoid corn...no fresh corn, corn starch, corn syrup, cornmeal, popcorn, etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
I got diagnosed as an adult, and I went through two years of doctors insisting it was "just eczema" when I knew it wasn't. It was very stressful and uncomfortable. Nobody in my family has a corn problem, but some people have other food allergies, and we have a family history of people with 'weird stomach things' so I was not completely surprised. I probably have one or two small reactions a month because it is just so hard to completely avoid it.

Fortunately, I am okay with things like dextrose or the more obscure forms. As long as I avoid corn starch, corn flour, corn oil and actual corn, it's okay, and my reactions are skin-based---annoying, but thankfully not life-threatening. Still, my doctor told me I should be fine with corn starch even, and I have not been. My allergist said it is a very imprecise field sometimes and they do not have all the answers (for example why someone wold develop such an allergy at age 27 after never having it, what changed?) but he is a big proponent of living your life, and if something is not bothering you, eat it, and if it is bothering you, stop eating it :) And if you do go camping in the wilderness far away from medical facilities, only take foods you know are safe :)

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:15 pm
Posts: 370
Location: Regina, Sask
Here is a Question and Answer excerpt about the increase in corn allergies (taken from Allergy and Asthma Disease Management Center):

7/19/05 re: Corn allergy questions
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I am a pediatric dietitian working with many children with food allergies. I'm seeing an increase in the number of children with corn allergies (identified via patch testing). I'm looking for definitive information regarding treatment of this allergy - corn sources to avoid, etc. We allow soybean oil for our soy allergic kids, what is the stance on corn oil for corn allergy and does it matter if the oil is partly hydrogenated? What about corn syrup solids, maltoedextri, starch etc? What about paper packaging that contains corn? With the kids I see with multiple food allergies it's often necessary to put them on one of the Neocate products, which do contain a corn derivitave, but is typically well tolerated.
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Dr. Scott Sicherer, a leading expert in food allergy matters, has just responded to me that the dietitian in their unit was not successful in getting a definitive statement from any food manufacturing companies. However, Dr. Sicherer and Ms Mofidi have constructed a response that they hope will be helpful to you. I have enclosed their very thoughtful response below.

As you will see, there is not much in the way of published information about the tolerance of presumably corn-allergic individuals to various corn products or by-products contained in foods.

You had mentioned that the diagnosis of corn allergy was based on findings in a patch test. As Dr. Sicherer mentioned in his response, if this was a delayed reaction to a patch test and not the immediate reaction in a traditional prick skin test to food allergens, it should be mentioned that the clinical relevance of such patch test reactions to foods is still an investigational area not well-defined to date.

ANSWER FROM Scott H. Sicherer M.D. and Shideh Mofidi, MS RD CSP at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai, New York.

IgE mediated allergy to corn has been documented, in some cases, to relate to heat stable lipid transfer proteins from corn (e.g., Pastorello et al J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Oct;112(4):775-83). However, corn, like any food, is a collection of proteins and the complete array of corn proteins that may be responsible for allergic responses, presumably including labile proteins, has not been established. Based upon studies of other foods and allergens, we know that people may become sensitized to various combinations of proteins, and specific areas of proteins (epitopes), and that the specific pattern of response may be reflected in clinical outcomes. Some proteins of corn would presumably be more stable to processing (e.g., lipid transfer proteins) and digestion than others. Therefore, depending upon a persons "corn allergy profile" and the processing through which a corn ingredient went, one may predict clinical reactions would occur in some instances and not others. These variables, not explored in a comprehensive way, could impact the clinical implications of having a "corn derived" ingredient in a food and so we cannot give an absolutely firm answer to each query posed. Specifically, one may hypothesize that a product made from less-cooked ground corn may behave differently compared to a food with a more processed corn derivative. Further ambiguity is brought in to this query because the relationship of clinical allergy to foods such as corn as reflected by results of patch tests are just now beginning to be explored.

As a quick example regarding the issue of clinical relevance of residual proteins in the context of IgE antibody associated allergy, Frisner et al (Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2000;11(2):106-10) identified a corn protein in an hypoallergenic infant formula based upon IgE binding from patient's sera; however, no clinical reactions were documented. To give "definitive" answers about residual proteins after processing would require studies of large groups of corn-allergic individuals tested against various corn products and at various doses (for threshold determination); these studies do not exist so we are left to some degree with educated opinion.

Corn products are used widely in the food industry since they possess functional qualities that enhance the final product. Corn by products such as corn syrup and corn syrup solids, corn starch, maltodextrin, and corn oil are used in a variety of different products taking advantage of each of these products' unique qualities. These products, depending the manufacturing process and depending on the food they are utilized in and level of processing or refining, may have more or less corn protein, but they presumably have potentially relevant doses. Corn syrup and corn syrup solids can help prevent crystal formation and therefore are used in ice creams and frozen desserts. They also have a positive effect on viscosity which helps with the flow of salad dressings and condiments when poured. Corn syrup is also used in canned fruits since it improves texture and enhances the color of the fruit without masking any of the natural flavors. Corn starch is used as a thickener and has an infinite number of uses in the food industry since it is flavorless.

Corn oil has excellent frying quality, is resistant to discoloration and developing off-flavors, contains have high levels of healthy poly-unsaturated fatty acids instead of the undesirable saturated fats.

Corn oil is usually processed by a combination of mechanical and solvent extractions which is then refined and filtered into the finished oil. This process generally denatures most if not all the corn protein present in the oil. In our practice, we do not limit corn oil for corn allergic individuals. The process of hydrogenation (addition of hydrogen to change the oil from a liquid to a semi-solid state) does not change the allergenicity of corn oil; hence hydrogenated corn oil found in margarines would also be tolerated by corn allergic individuals.

Studies have not looked at all of the specific corn products and their allergenicity. There are a dearth of clinical studies on corn allergy that include blinded oral food challenges (e.g., Tanaka et al J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001 Apr;107(4):744). Pasini and colleagues (Allergy. 2002 Feb;57(2):98-106) reported on an effort to verify the clinical significance of positive prick skin and serum tests for IgE to corn. Six out of the sixteen subjects with positive tests to corn had a positive challenge with cooked corn flour with symptoms of asthma (1/6), angioedema (1/6), gastrointestinal symptoms (2/6), oral allergy syndrome (2/6) and urticaria (5/6). They suggest an oral challenge to verify the accuracy of the positive skin and blood test to corn.

In our practice, we have experience with many individuals requiring elemental diets for gastrointestinal disorders and have been able to use the elemental amino acid formulas that are currently available on the market (EleCare(r) and Neocate(r) powders) without any problems. Since corn is used so widely in the food industry it is prudent to be concerned with cross contamination of corn containing products such lollipops with other food allergens such as milk and egg. Identification of "clean" products and contacting manufacturers in relation to their practices is a critical step in the appropriate management of individual with gastrointestinal allergies where elimination diets are utilized.

http://www.aaaai.org/aadmc/ate/foodallergy.html

BTW...I have to disagree about the comment that corn oil should be safe for corn allergic people. I have had major reactions to corn oil...even the tiniest about of corn oil that is used as the vitamin (A & D) carrier in fortified milk. I cannot use any milk because of the corn oil in our milk supply!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 9:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I have a relative (who married into the family) who has been allergic to corn among other things in the past. His daughter was telling me that he used to wake up all swollen, and his lips would be quite swollen, too (so we're definitely talking about an allergy here). Interestingly, he is now able to eat corn--and wheat, again.

Earlier, though, he stopped taking his heart medication because he was reacting to the corn! He didn't know that you can go to a compounding pharmacy to get corn-free meds.

I asked my allergist whether there are some highly refined corn products that the corn-allergic can have----he responded that it hasn't been studied, and no one really knows--and to avoid corn if at all possible unless I know that a certain product doesn't bother me from experience. When I wanted to know whether I could have a certain medication with corn-derived sorbitol, he asked me to try it in a hospital setting or at his office first. I wonder if he was being extra cautious at the time because I was just diagnosed with the corn allergy and had recently had a weird reaction (chest tightness, swelling around the eyes) to a preseasonal ragweed and grass pollen vaccination shot.

I'm okay with corn starch in antihistamines (but not larger amounts of starch), with table salt (although I've switched to sea salt anyhow), with the corn-derived vitamins in my multi. If I have ascorbic acid in juice, it isn't a big deal--I do have a very minor reaction, but I'll drink ascorbic acid-laced juice on the rare occasion.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
Helen, my allergist told me that he thought highly refined corn products would be fine, but they turned out not to be. I am okay with antihistamines though, I guess because the actual medication blocks the corn reaction? I don't know :)

My allergist has been very upfront though that they don't know everything about ow allergies work. Logic tells me that if a person has gone through so many years without a reaction and then suddenly they have one, something caused it or triggered it or something has changed. He agreed, but then said that if we knew what that change was, we'd have the problem pretty much solved, wouldn't we? :)

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2948
Location: Toronto
Some good points, you guys. Eldi, thanks for all the info, which I hadn't seen before.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:15 pm
Posts: 370
Location: Regina, Sask
Here is another article about corn allergy:

http://www.allallergy.net/fapaidfind.cfm?cdeoc=907


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:15 pm
Posts: 370
Location: Regina, Sask
We just had a new mother join our other corn allergy forum. Her 15 month old son was diagnosed with corn allergy at 7 months. He was recently rushed to the ER with a severe reaction to half a slice of cheese. Most of us who have lived with corn allergy for years (decades in my case) know that most cheese is not safe. We really do need to get better labelling laws in place where all of the sources of each and every ingredient and additive in food are indicated. Plus, the fact that a lot of cheese is repackaged and does not have a label at all does not help. Who would know that the bacterial cultures and enzymes or even maltodextrin (which is more obvious) are usually made on or with corn. Thank goodness forums such as this one are available to share all of this information. I sure wish I had had some help when I was trying to figure all of this out.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Thanks for the info Eldi. We have very few people in our local support group with corn allergy (2 out of 112), but I am grateful to know that well-informed people like you are around to help.

I do agree that it should be one of the priority allergens, given how prevalent it is in our food.

K.

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:09 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Michigan, USA
Thanks for this corn allergy section of the forum and all the information posted here!! According to the majority of allergy literature I have read, corn allergies are supposedly rare. However, I keep running into more and more people with corn allergy/intolerance. Not long ago, I asked the pharmacist about a medication my allergist told me was safe. Of course, there was a corn derivative in it... And was the pharmacist surprised - I was the second person that day to be inquiring about corn-free medication!

The compounding pharmacy has been a Godsend... The only downside is the expense (insurance doesn't want to cover it, and many meds are still under patent from the manufacturers, who refuse to sell the pure powders to compounding pharmacies). I was recently quoted a cost of $300 U.S. to purchase Clarinex powder, plus $50/mo. to compound it! Needless to say, I only purchase the older, less expensive medicines which have already gone generic. And use home treatments as much as possible!

If ever admitted to the hospital, make sure to ask for corn-free IV solutions (Dextrose is often found in IV solutions). I heard of a pregnant corn-allergic woman who, during delivery, was administered a dextrose solution and had a reaction. Thankfully it was caught quickly and she and baby were fine.

Because of the prevalence of corn in everyday living, and the severity of reactions, it would make sense to include corn in the top allergens list and follow up with approriate labeling. I personally cannot tolerate corn in ANY form when ingested, and have even reacted to breathing in talcum powder (corn starch). Anybody know of any efforts to do this, or even where to begin???? Thanks in advance!

_________________
Son: allergy to shea butter and multiple food intolerances; eczema.
Self: allergies (some anaphylactic) to most common foods in the 20th century diet; environmental, chemical, and drug allergies; asthma, eczema and hives.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:53 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:18 am
Posts: 8
Does anyone know if 'all' people allergic to corn react to cheese? My daughter seemed fine yesterday after some cheese.. But she has had a bad night tonight.. coughing, tight chested and chest pain.. she did have some cheese earlier- but a couple of hours earlier and the same cheese as yesyerday? Usually if she eats something that causes a reaction it starts within a smaller time frame. What part of the corn is used in the bacterial cultures and enzymes? Hers is an IgE type reaction so it is supposed to be immediate .. can someone have the delayed G one as well?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:15 pm
Posts: 370
Location: Regina, Sask
Hi again... As for cheese, many/most of the corn allergics on another site do have reactions to cheeses that contain enzymes and cultures. Enzymes are mostly made from a vegetable source now...and the bacterial cultures are often grown on corn. Corn seems to be a popular choice for most things these days! I have horrible skin reactions to cheese that contains enzymes or cultures. Try to find some of the imported ones that contain only milk, salt and natural rennet (a natural enzyme taken from the stomach of a calf). I recently discovered that I can eat Ski Queen cheese from Norway and it is DELICIOUS! I also do fine with Italian naturally aged Parmesan cheese (by the piece/not shredded). Neither of these cheeses contain enzymes or cultures. Some of the packaging for cheese also contains corn starch.

As for delayed reactions...some corn derivatives take longer for a reaction than others. Everyone is different. For myself, I will react almost immediately to things like corn derived citric/ascorbic acids yet it might take longer for some of the other derivatives. Corn allergy doesn't really comply with most of the theories on allergies that are out there.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:18 am
Posts: 8
So if you can tolerate xanthum gum (grown on corn) you can these enzymes/cultures in cheese growm on corn (blockcheese except ones packaged using the coating)? Maybe? I have not tried her on xanthum gum yet..

Thankyou for telling me how it is made, I think some of you with corn allergies could classify as bio-chemists with what you know!


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