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    Soy's Role in the Peanut Allergy: What European Mothers Already Know

    October 29, 2007 •  17 comments.

     •  Blog, Uncategorized

    Given that just this week, Newsweek’s cover is Kids and Food Allergies: The Growing Food Allergy Threat and the Today Show told Emily’s Story, we wanted to highlight, as we did in our April 2007 newsletter, the role that soy plays in the development of peanut allergy and the danger that soy’s cross reactivity presents to people with peanut allergy and asthma.

    As many of you know, soy is one of the top eight allergens. What you may not know is that a child with a peanut allergy can have an allergic reaction after eating a food that contains soy, according to the Mayo Clinic and the Asthma and Allergy Resource Center.

    Soy’s Role in the Food Allergy Epidemic

    In 1996, soy was engineered to contain new proteins, chemicals and toxins so that soy crops could withstand the spraying of industrial weed killer. 90% of soy is now engineered with these new proteins and chemicals, which created new allergens . These new allergens are similar in their amino acid structure to known shellfish and peanut allergens.

    How could soy cause an allergic reaction in my child with peanut allergy?
    In scientific terms, soybean allergens are “homologous” to known peanut allergens and are recognized by 44% of peanut-allergic patients.

    What that means is that a child with a peanut allergy can have an allergic reaction and even go into anaphylaxis after eating soy. Because this cross-reactivity is rarely mentioned in the press, many parents are unaware of the potential health risks that soy may present to children with peanut allergies.

    What are the Signs of a Cross-Reaction to Soy and How Can I Protect My Child with Peanut Allergy?
    According to Dr. Yman, PhD of the Swedish National Food Administration, these deaths initially appear as an asthma attack, with no or very mild symptoms for the first 30-90 minutes after consumption of foods containing soy (much like Emily’s Story). Then, the children suffer fatal asthma attacks.
    “If your child is allergic to peanuts, you should consider eliminating soy as well as peanut from your child’s diet, even if your child has never reacted to soy poorly in the past (as Emily never had). Some sensitive children have “hidden” soy allergies that manifest for the first time with a severe – even fatal – reaction to even the low levels of “hidden” soy commonly found in processed food products. Those at the highest risk suffer from asthma as well as peanut allergy”.

    What products contain soy?
    In Europe and other developed countries around the world, soy is rarely used since it contains chemicals, toxins and new proteins whose safety has never been tested in human trials. In the United States, soy can be found in soy milk, soy formula, conventional formula, tofu, soy sauce and other soy products.
    Soy is also used in many processed foods, as soy lecithin, soy lectin, soybean oil and other soy derivatives by the United States food industry, despite being banned in foods around the world (in Europe, where consumers have not embraced genetically engineered soy, lupine is often used in place of soy, given that 90% of soy has now been engineered to contain these new chemicals. However, please note that a child with a peanut allergy can have a severe reaction to lupine, given the similarities in protein structures, so consult with your child’s doctor when traveling abroad).

    Soy is also commonly used as animal-feed in livestock in order to expedite the weight gain in livestock, ensuring a faster time to market and heavier fish, pork, cattle, etc.

    It is only within the last ten years, since soy was engineered with new proteins, chemicals and toxins in an effort to make it a more profitable agricultural crop and commodity, that soy has become one of the top eight allergens.

    Are there other facts that I may not know about soy?
    According to Daniel Sheehan, PhD and director of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) National Center for Toxicological Research, soy-fed babies are taking part in “a large, uncontrolled and basically unmonitored human infant experiment.”

    The British Dietetic Association now warns parents to avoid soy formula given a the results of a 2003 study conducted by Dr. Gideon Lack from St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College, London, UK. The French Food Agency will soon require warning labels on all soy foods, soy formulas and soy milk so that consumers will be aware of the risks that soy poses to children under the age of three, as well as people with hypothyroidism, and women with a family history of breast cancer.

    In January 2006, the American Heart Association reversed its endorsement and position on soy.

    What’s an American Mother to Do?

    It looks like what you don’t know, CAN actually hurt you…and your babies! So until the federal government decides to bestow the same value on the lives of the American children that government agencies around the world have bestowed on the lives of their children, American mothers might want to take a cue from mothers in the UK, Europe, Asia, Japan and even Russia and consider avoiding exposing their little ones to soy.

    If the system is failing our children, moms can’t!

      17 Responses to “Soy's Role in the Peanut Allergy: What European Mothers Already Know”

      1. Being allergic to soy and/or peanuts would suck! I am diabetic and those two are a major part of my avoiding carbs.

        • Evolution

          You should know that GMO soy (90% of soy) is modified to allow spraying the crops with Roundup (made by Monsanto, who engineered the soy). Roundup is known as an endocrine disrupter, which can cause hypothyroid and also diabetes. It could be causing or making your diabetes worse.

      2. Our 7-year old son has a life-threatening peanut allergy. When he was younger, he also had allergies to milk and eggs, so drank soy milk for about two years. When he outgrew the milk and egg allergies at 3 years old, we switched him to cow’s milk. During that time, we did not notice any unusual reactions because we were just so happy that his eczema cleared up and that we could expand his diet some. On occasion still, he will eat soy in certain foods. Should I be concerned and eliminate soy from his diet?

      3. jim

        you mention that europe uses lupine did you no that there is a chance of cross reactivity with peanut?

      4. Hilary

        Can you tell me if soy has had any cross reactions with tree nuts? (specifically cashews, pistachios and walnuts)? or is it peanuts only?

        My son is allergic to tree nuts only, but loves and drinks a lot of soy milk. Please respond if you can.


        Hilary Young

      5. Diana

        I can’t confirm that…soy is used in nearly all products in the UK and Germany, too. I haven’t read about Lupine but I’m someone who always carefully reads the labels of foods as I’m intolerant to lactose. Nearly all processed foods like cookies, sausages, micorwave meals etc. in UK contains SOY ingredients. But this is declared on the label. Maybe you should try and confirm that your claims that Europe and other developed countries are so much better in their way of dealing with allergens in foods is true. I personally don’t think so!
        Anyway thanks for your website and I hope more people will start thinking about what they’re actually eating.

      6. It’s always painful to see our children being used as test subjects. And to watch as science reveals dangers that other governments recognize and protect their consumers from, yet our government and industry are such tight bedfellows at the expense of our children’s health. My sons also have food allergies, including peanut allergies. We don’t want to miss out on the health benefits of soy and so we get our non-GMO soy protein shakes from a company with unwavering comitment to purity. Thanks for continuing to educate us – I appreciate the article.

      7. maple

        This explains why I’m having mild reactions to cereals, snack bars, cookies, etc. that should be safe according to my allergy tests. I had not realized that soy had been engineered to be similar to peanuts and shellfish. I guess the gluten free diet is the way to go to be safe.

      8. Amber

        My child was given soy formula “just to be safe”, as the doctor said. We switched him to whole milk around 11 months old. He had severe eczema at 5 1/2 months old and also ended up contracting molluscum contagiosum. He has an inhaler and ends up wheezing from all of his colds, allergies, sinus infections, etc. The doctors will not say that he has asthma, but we are sure that this is what he has. As of last April, right before his 3rd birthday, we found out that he has a peanut allergy…. I am wondering if the soy that he was given in the beginning actually fueled the development of these other issues, i.e. eczema, asthmatic symptoms, peanut allergy. This poor kid has had more steroids than anyone I know… I just want it to stop! Does anyone think that if I cut out the cow’s milk products he may possibly be able to recover from these issues?

        • Evolution

          Amber, GMO corn is fed to cows, and the proteins do end up in their milk. To complicate things, both soy and corn have been modified to not only be resistant to Roundup, but to create their own bht, which is an insecticide. Bht also shows up in milk. Some milk is labeled bht free. If GMOs were labelled, all this would be much easier.

      9. Kim

        Lupine, which was mentioned in this article, is absolutely forbidden for anyone with
        peanut allergy!!! Make sure you do your research and don’t just follow anything you
        read. My daughter has severe peanut allergy and we have to be careful in Europe
        because lupine is used in bread sometimes.

        Do your own research and always read the ingredients, even if you have eaten it

      10. As far as the Lupine it is now being used more in things like pasta and breads for people who have celiac’s disease and can’t eat gluten. I just saw something about 2 months ago on the news about how a 19yo boy had 2 severe ana reactions while at an Italian restaurant eating pasta in Chicago. They couldn’t figure it out until the second time it happened and the dr. in the ER said it could be Lupine allergy. Lupine comes from the Lupini bean which is a staple in the Italian diet. I can’t remember the exact #’s, but they said there is about a 40-50% cross with the peanut allergy. So be careful with your breads and pasta especially if you are avoiding gluten for celiac’s disease because it has a better chance of being in there.

        Kelly H.

      11. Lolita

        My son is severely peanut allergic. He was a soy baby. Time to go organic. Pass the word.

      12. Sylvia Rios

        My son may possibly be allergic to Peanuts as well due to a recent trip to the emergency room. I have been doing to some research and I am convinced that raw milk may not be the cure for all allergies but a good start for building the immune system.

      13. Vicky

        I am new to all of this. My first question is: is there a connection between soy and eczema?? my son has moderate eczema still and he was a soy fed baby. just curious. My second question is: is there a list somewhere of ‘safe’ foods that you can buy that doesn’t contain dyes, preservatives, etc.? Thank you so much for any info. I recieve.

      14. Holly

        My nephew is allergic to tree nuts, soy, peanuts, sesamee seeds, milk, wheat etc so is having to eat lots of corn and rice he was breastfed as a baby.

        My son was breastfed til he was three and is allergic to walnuts and “sensitive” to hazelnuts(I ate Nutella like crazy when preggers with him).

        Soy is a legume as are peanuts so they are in the same family so this whole thing makes sense to me, tree nuts are not. Haven’t heard anything about Lupine but if it’s a legume it would make sense.

      15. Loren Bray

        My husband is severly allergic to soy, including soy lecithin and soy oil. He used to react to vitamin E (soybean product, and found in cereals and other such things), but since we have lived in Germany for three years, he can tolerate vitamin e in cereals. There is far less soy in foods here, and by that I mean, non-junk foods. It does seem to be on the rise, however.
        About a year ago, I read a very good book -“The Whole Soy Story” by Kayla Daniels. It will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the types of soy which are healthy (for the non-allergic person) and the results of soy consumption. Whether you are allergic to soy or not, it is an eye opening book.

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