If you’ve been told your allergic to yeast then BUYER BEWARE! When you are talking about yeast overgrowth it’s never too late to seek the guidance of a board-certified allergist. One visit with a specialist at Asthma & Allergy Associates could save you hours, days or weeks of worry about a medical condition that is not well defined. One visit to our office could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in lab tests, therapies and procedures that your insurance company may NOT cover. You could be left with a very large bill and very little to show for it.
Let’s be clear: people can be allergic to yeast. In fact a recent posting at the ACAAI.ORG reported that 2% of food allergic reactions may be due to naturally occurring ingredients in beer and wine, including barley, ethanol, grapes, histamine, hops, malt, oats, tryptamine, tyramine, wheat, and yeast. Yep, there’s yeast.
As well there are a range of other conditions that are associated with yeast, but this doesn’t mean you are allergic to it.
Many of the “yeast experts” will proclaim that yeast imbalance is due to an overgrowth of yeast and proper diagnosis and management could help control a range of disorders. They will claim that “yeast” is the primary problem when truthfully it is most commonly a secondary condition related to another disease state. A recent posting claimed that yeast overgrowth may be responsible for athletes foot, diarrhea, sore throat, diabetes, insomnia, abdominal problems, nervousness, cough, sinusitis and many other disorders. REMEMBER: if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is. Next they may claim to help with dating problems and relationships. Most of the postings about “yeast allergy” promote a “one size fits all” approach. Like any good salesman the pitch always contains a bit of truth. For instance, yes – Candida albicans ( a type of yeast) can cause thrush or a sore throat. Thrush in babies and people who take steroids for asthma or another disease is quite common. These people respond quickly to treatment with generic and readily available medications. A good conversation and a look at the lesions will guide your health care provider. No unnecessary testing or lengthy medical visit is required. These patients may have a sore throat, but again the yeast infection is secondary to another process or an external force like medications. In medical residency several doctors saw severe Candida infections of the esophagus (swallowing tube) in people with uncontrolled HIV infection. Again, the yeast was secondary to another process effecting the immune system. At the Asthma & Allergy Associates Food Allergy Center we would love to discuss your concerns, determine if allergy or immune system problems are associated with your health and then come up with a personalized solution.
Candida albicans is the most common type of yeast found within the human body. It lives on a variety of surfaces, including the skin and gastrointestinal tract, coexisting with other bacteria and fungi. When present in small numbers, yeast cells are not harmful to humans because of the presence of “good” bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus, which balances the microbial environment and prevents infection. Although, there are certain scenarios where an imbalance can occur in the body that results in the disappearance of “good” bacteria and the overgrowth of yeast. This imbalance essentially leads to an increase in sensitivity or being allergic to yeast.
It sounds so perfect doesn’t it?
The truth is that some types of molds or fungus (i.e. yeast) have been associated with a range of mild to moderate diseases but only a few of those disorders are truly allergic.
The diseases may be quite mild like a baby’s “thrush” or athlete’s foot for your teenager. Athletes foot can be a problem for someone with diabetes because their immune system is effected by the disease. Neither your baby, your teen nor your diabetic friend have a “yeast imbalance”. Yes, these conditions will respond to anti-fungal therapy and usually do well with generic prescription solutions to rinse the mouth or creams that you can buy over the counter at the drug store.
There are more severe diseases associated with mold/fungus (i.e. yeast). Chronic fungal sinusitis, several lung conditions and infections, and infections of permanent intravenous lines for people with severe primary illnesses like cancer or severe immune problems. Notice that yeast is NOT the primary source of the problem with these disorders. The immune conditions are quite rare and should not be confused with allergies.
Buyer beware: if you’ve been told that all your medical problems are due to an allergy to yeast then please seek the opinion of a board-certified allergist. At Asthma & Allergy Associates we are devoted to helping our patients become informed consumers in a confusing medical environment.