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Malt Allergy

Some people claim to experience allergic symptoms after drinking beer. Initially this was believed to be an allergy to wheat. However some of these people did not suffer allergic symptoms after eating bread. This has led to the conclusion that the allergic reactions may be caused by the body's reaction to malt.

Many people are unsure of what really triggers their allergy to malt and which foods they need to avoid. This page describes common causes of malt allergy such as drinking malted beverages like milk, chocolate drinks and beer, and also lists malt allergy symptoms.

What is Malt?

Contrary to what most people think, malt is not a natural food product. It is actually a product of a process known as malting.

The malting process involves the fermentation of grains like barley. It is the malt that enhances the flavor of grain products.

Allergens may develop during the process of malting as the grains produce enzymes necessary to transform the starches from the grain into sugar. After a thorough process, the malted grain can be used to make the following products:

If you think that you are allergic to malt, then you should try to avoid these products. Some people suffer malt allergy symptoms after the intake of any food product containing malted grains. There are some, however, that observe specific kinds of symptoms for particular foods or beverages.

This is because the products contain a combination of malted grains and wheat, yeast or other allergens. In fact, doctors suggest that when you are allergic to malted drinks, you are most likely to develop allergy to wheat, barley, and oats. It can be difficult distinguish whether or not the reactions are caused by malt or by these ingredients.

Therefore it is important to know the symptoms caused by specific ingredients of the beverages.

Beer Allergy

Nasal congestion and flushing of the skin are usually observed after drinking beer. These, however, are not symptoms of allergy but simply the result of the vasodilatory that causes the blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow.

Beer allergy is really characterized by the body's hypersensitivity to the components of beer such as yeast, hops, or barley. Being allergic to malt does not necessarily guarantee that you can experience the symptoms associated with other ingredients.

For example, when you are allergic to yeast you may suffer these symptoms:

On the other hand, hops (one common ingredient of beer) can cause these symptoms:

Malt allergy symptoms can have similar signs and manifestations. For instance, when the beer contains malted barley, you can suffer:

Most people are left more confused after finding out about alcohol intolerance which may also cause dizziness, headaches and dehydration. Chemicals in beers like sulfites are also known to cause rashes, nausea, stomach upset and vomiting.

It is then a must for you to make sure which of these beer components really causes your allergic reactions. When you are sure enough, the first step is to ask for a prescription from your doctors first before taking any medications or prior to any treatments. The possibility is that you may be looking for a cure for your malt allergy when the truth is, it is yeast that you are truly allergic to.

Undergoing malt allergy test is of course a sound option, but people tend to try drinking other products with malt and observe their bodies' reactions to the beverages.

Malted Milk Allergy

Malted milk can be defined as a dairy product that has distinctive flavour of grains - probably because of the barley and wheat flour used to make them. When you observe the same allergic reactions you experience with beer after drinking this kind of milk, you may have an allergy to malted wheat or barley.

When you have allergy to malted wheat, the following can be experienced:

According to experts, allergic reactions from wheat are bought about by the different types of protein contained in wheat:

These malt allergy symptoms may also manifest because of the body's reaction to malted barley:

There are actually no clear distinctions between the symptoms observed from eating barley and those experienced from grains that have been subjected to malting. But doctors suggest you are most likely to be allergic to malted barley when your body has adverse reactions to these grains.

Several studies show, however, that people who are allergic to the proteins contained in the grains also experience malt allergy symptoms. For instance, when you have gluten allergy, you are advised to stay away from malted beverages or foods.

What is Gluten?

Various grains like wheat, barley and rye contain protein called gluten. In some cases, this protein causes the overreaction of the immune system thereby causing the production of immunoglobulin E antibodies or lgE.

The results are allergic reactions that can range from mild to severe:

There are some patients who also experience other bodily discomforts especially on their skin. The other symptoms of gluten allergy are the following:

Some people might confuse gluten allergies with celiac disease - a reaction that attacks the digestive system and may cause symptoms similar to gluten allergy. Note, however, that the difference between the two is the cause of the body's reaction.

In celiac disease, the lining of the intestines are permanently damaged. Gluten allergy, on the other hand, can have signs that are not related to the digestive system and manifest in other parts of the body.

Can you drink malted beverages when you are allergic to gluten?

The answer is no. Remember that malt contains gluten so drinking a malted beverage might trigger the allergic reactions. Whenever you drink beer, chocolate drinks and other alcohols that contain grains with gluten, the following malt allergy symptoms are most likely to manifest:

You may also be at risk of experiencing anaphylaxis, which is a deadly aftermath of untreated mild symptoms. In such cases, it is best to call 911 or have someone take you to the nearest hospital.

By now you may observe that malt allergy is a no laughing matter. Aside from the discomforts in the body, your life is practically at risk when you are not careful in choosing the beverages you drink or food you eat.

Observing the symptoms and concluding whether or not you have malt allergy may work for some, but it is still better to go to your trusted physician and undergo malt allergy test. It is after all, difficult to detect the cause of your body's adverse reaction as malt allergy symptoms are similar to that of other allergens found in many grains.

How is a malt allergy test performed?

Unlike other common food allergies, testing your body for malt allergy requires a different and more extensive exam. Skin patch test is no longer an option here, so the doctor takes a blood sample.

This process is called lgE blood test - a qualitative process that can show whether or not you are suffering from hypersensitivity to Malt.

Undergoing a malt allergy test is necessary because not all symptoms are noticeable. Some may be discreet but can develop into a dangerous complication. It is then imperative for you to be certain about which allergen is causing your body's reaction to beverages to take necessary measures and proper medicines for treatment.

What to do when you have malt allergy?

When you take a look at the symptoms listed above, you may notice that the most common signs of malt allergy include skin itches, rhinitis and discomforts in the stomach or abdomen.

In such cases, topical ointments can be applied to the rashes or red areas of the skin. Antihistamines may also be taken to relieve your self from runny noses or wheezing. The pain in the stomach, however, is not as easy to cure. Here are the things you can do:

  1. Eat more fiber-containing foods. This will help greatly in washing away wastes in the intestines to eliminate the allergen.
  2. Drink a lot of water to flush your system. The symptoms may not subside unless the allergen is completely withdrawn from the body.
  3. Take probiotics. The good bacteria will be good in facilitating better digestion.
  4. Eat yogurt, sauerkraut or miso. These are free from allergens while being a good agent for proper movement of the digestive system.

Note that there is no permanent cure for malt allergy. Then again, one can effectively be free from the adverse reactions by being keen on food labels and avoiding food or drinks that may possibly have malted grains.

Some doctors may also suggest you to carry around an EpiPen, which is a syringe that contains small amount of epinephrine.

Here's what it can do for you:

The EpiPen can be administered directly into the thigh. With your doctor's approval, you can carry around antihistamines or prednisone with the EpiPen.

More foods to avoid

To be sure, it is always best to ask the doctors about which food may trigger your allergies. The hypersensitivity of your body to malt may also lead your avoidance of the following products, which may also contain gluten:

These are of course too much, but you may find good alternatives in gluten-free flours made of tapioca, corn, soy or rice. Consulting your dietician may also give you an idea on other possible additives and flavourings that can make you enjoy you meal minus the risk of observing malt allergy symptoms.

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