What Is Soy Allergy?
Soy allergy is more common in infants and young children than in older children and approximately 0.4% of infants in the U.S. have soy allergy.1 Most children eventually outgrow their allergy to soy, although some individuals remain allergic to soy throughout their lives.
When a person with a soy allergy is exposed to soy, proteins in the soy bind to specific IgE antibodies made by the person’s immune system. This triggers the person’s immune defenses, leading to reaction symptoms that can be mild or very severe.
Soybeans are a member of the legume family. Beans, peas, lentils and peanuts are also legumes. While it is rare for peanut allergic patients to react to soy, the reverse is not true. One study found that up to 88% of soy-allergic patients had peanut allergy or were significantly sensitized to peanut. Individuals with soy allergy were more likely to be allergic or sensitized to major allergens including peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk and sesame than to non-peanut legumes such as beans, peas and lentils.1
About 0.4 percent of children are allergic to soy.
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1Savage JH, Kaeding AJ, Matsui EC, Wood RA. The natural history of soy allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2010;125:683-86.