Is there really an allergy to coffee? Well, unfortunately for some, a coffee allergy occurs. Not surprisingly, the allergic reaction is not limited to drinking coffee. A coffee allergy can also occur if you are in contact with coffee beans. An allergic person can also be exposed when using cosmetic products with coffee components.
The most common trigger of the allergic reaction to coffee is its caffeine content. Caffeine is a natural and powerful antioxidant. It has also been chemically synthesized for commercial use. Its chemical name is 1,3 trimethylxanthin. In moderate quantities, it can produce a stimulating effect and cause readiness and an outbreak of energy.
On the other hand, if it is consumed by a person allergic to coffee, it will have rashes, swollen lips or tongue and perhaps even wheezing. Digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain and hyperacidity can also occur.
Allergic contact dermatitis may also be present if the skin of an individual with coffee hypersensitivity comes into contact with coffee beans or even with the remaining coffee. This can be seen as a rash, swelling, itching or hives on the skin. Prolonged contact can also cause blisters in extreme cases.
Several studies have also indicated that coffee allergy is the part responsible for certain mood and anxiety disorders. Allergic symptoms have also been reported in cases of manic-depressive disorders and increased irritability.
Sources of caffeine
Some common sources of caffeine are coffee, some energy drinks, tea, chocolates, cola drinks, migraine medications and diet pills. There are times when you can expect cross reactions to other plants with a coffee allergy. Guarana, yerba mate and Ilex Guayusa are the three most common plants that can cause a cross reaction. Cross reactions occur because there are similarities that can be seen between these plants. The similarities are mainly on the protein structure of its components. The immune system detects this similarity as the same. Therefore, an allergic reaction can be expected when a person allergic to coffee consumes guarana, Ilex Guayusa or yerba mate.
Coffee allergy risk factors
The development of an allergic reaction to coffee is hypothesized to be primarily genetic. This means that if a parent has allergies, the likelihood of their child developing allergies increases by up to 50 percent. If both parents have allergies, this probability increases to 70 percent.
Another risk factor would be the duration of exposure to the allergen. The longer the person is exposed to coffee or its derivatives, the greater the chance of developing an allergy to coffee. On the other hand, this does not imply that anyone who drinks large quantities of coffee will also form coffee allergies. The exact nature of allergy development is still unclear.
The symptoms of coffee allergy can be easily managed with current medications. You can choose between pharmacological or nutraceutical. This means that conventional drugs can be used. Alternatively, some herbal preparations can also be taken.
The first line of allergy treatment is antihistamine drugs. As the name suggests, these drugs counteract the effect of histamines on the body. It is useful for controlling sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy throat and nose and some inflammation.
Immunotherapy may also be an option for some people with mild coffee allergy. This therapy involves the gradual introduction of the coffee allergen – caffeine – into the body. The allergen concentration is started at the lowest possible dose. Over time, the body adjusts and will slowly get used to the allergen. Therapy continues until the body no longer reacts to the presence of the allergen.
There are times when coffee allergies may not be detected. However, coffee allergies are real and can cause problems for certain people. The best way to prevent allergic reactions to coffee is to simply avoid any contact with the allergen.