Egg Allergy vs Egg Intolerance: How to Compare
The egg is a kind of complete diet and is an integral part of our routine diet. As a start of chicken’s life, the egg has all the nutrients to make a baby chicken. From proteins, fats, and carb to vitamin A, B, folate, phosphorus, and selenium, it contains most of the essential nutrients. Despite all the dietary and health benefits, some people may find eggs as hostile. As in egg allergies, the immune system recognizes the egg ingredients as pathogenic and generates a response against it. It is observed that children are more susceptible to egg allergies than adults. We shall try to describe egg allergies vs egg intolerance.
Symptoms of Egg Allergy
Symptoms and their severity vary from person to person but the most common symptoms are:
- Skin inflammation, that can be represented as hives
- Nasal congestion, watery nose, and sneezing (allergic rhinitis)
- Gastrointestinal abnormalities like cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting
- Asthmatic symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath
Anaphylaxis and Egg Allergy
A lethal form of allergy that requires immediate epinephrine (adrenaline) shot and call for an emergency. Anaphylaxis signs and symptoms include:
- Blockage of airways caused by swollen throat or a lump in the throat
- Abdominal pain and smooth muscle cramping
- Elevated pulse rate
- A shock that can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure leads to dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
What chemicals cause Egg Allergy?
Allergens in Eggs
Not against the whole but our immune system usually reacts against certain proteins found in egg white and yolk separately. The proteins found in egg white are ovomucoid, ovalbumin, ovotransferrin, and lysosome . Usually, an allergic reaction is invoked against ovomucoid protein.
Moreover, there are certain proteins in egg yolk that are responsible for egg allergies. These proteins are ivetin, apovitillin, and phosvitin. If a person is allergic to egg white protein, he can tolerate the yolk proteins and vice versa.
Egg Allergy vs Egg Intolerance
Egg allergy refers to the reaction of our immune system against egg ingredients, i.e. egg proteins. This reaction occurs when egg proteins are digested and sent into the bloodstream where our immune system may consider them hostile.
Egg intolerance does not have to do anything with the immune system but mostly with the digestive system. Some people are unable to digest the egg ingredients, especially egg white and albumen. Egg intolerance is characterized by bloating, gas trouble, nausea, stomach pain, and stomach cramping. Other rare possibilities include vomiting and other GI issues.
If egg intolerance gets worsen, it may show symptoms like headaches, skin rashes, trouble breathing, indigestion, joint pain, irritability, and nervousness.
The Mechanism for Egg Allergies
In egg allergies, when an allergen is digested into the bloodstream, lymphocytes react against it by producing an antibody named secreted IgE. SIgE then circulates to the other parts and attach to the other immune cells like mast cells and basophils. These two cells are responsible for acute inflammatory reactions .
During granulation, these cells release histamine and other mediators like cytokines, interleukins, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins. All these chemicals cause vasodilation, mucous secretion, nerve stimulation, and smooth-muscle contraction. Vasodilation and mucous secretion are responsible for runny nose, itchiness, shortness of breath. While smooth muscle contraction causes indigestion and may lead to anaphylaxis (the emergency condition that can cause death).
How To Diagnose Egg Allergies?
Prick Test for Egg Allergy
Few drops of a solution containing egg proteins are dropped on the skin of the forearm or back. Then that area is pricked and lets the solution sunk into the skin deeply. If the drop area is swollen and become red after 15-20 minutes, egg allergy is confirmed .
Blood is tested against Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies against egg proteins, using ELISA technic.
Your allergist may test you through oral administration. You are given a small number of egg proportions and your body is observed for a certain allergic response. This procedure is carried out with much care because an allergic reaction can be severe as in the case of anaphylaxis.
What are the Best Egg Alternatives?
Eggs are not only used directly but also in several other food items like bakery, mayonnaise, etc. The purpose of using eggs can be either nutrition, food conditioning, or thickening. All these attributes can be achieved without using eggs, as follows:
Apple sauce is a good alternative to egg ingredients to induce binding of bakery products and keeping cakes and muffins moist. To maintain the real taste of bakery products, you should use tasteless, unsweetened organic applesauce. ¼ cup of apple sauce is equal to one egg.
Baking soda is a white crystalline sodium bicarbonate powder that keeps bakery products soft and fluffy. 1 teaspoon of baking soda is mixed with 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon of water to equalize with one egg. The reason to add vinegar and water is soda is activated when mixed with acidic and water substitutes.
Banana or other fruit purees
Banana or other fruit purees are the best alternative to eggs for bringing moisture to bakery products. The only drawback is that you cannot get the desired bakery taste like the fruit’s taste will be dominated, or you must give a name according to the fruit used.
Chia seeds and flaxseeds
Chia seed or flaxseed are highly nutritional egg substitutes. Seeds must be ground, mixed with water, and refrigerated for 15 minutes. This will bring true egg texture. 1 tablespoon chia seeds powder mixed with 3 tablespoons of water equalizes to 1 egg.
Powdered egg replacer
This egg substitute can be made at home using potato and tapioca starch. This is a great substitute not only for those who are allergic to eggs but also for milk, soy, gluten, wheat, casein, and peanut allergies as well. Commercially available replacers are chalky in taste. It becomes very hard to hide the taste.