Should You See A Doctor About A Caffeine Allergy
Caffeine allergies are difficult to diagnose because they are so rare.
A skin test may be performed to diagnose a caffeine allergy. During your appointment, your doctor places trace amounts of the allergen on your arm, and then monitors your arm for a reaction. Developing redness, itchiness, or pain at the test site may confirm a caffeine allergy.
Your Medication Is To Blame
Some types of medication may interact with caffeine, making its side effects more pronounced. For example, the Mayo Clinic points out that medications and supplements such as Theo-24 , which is used to treat respiratory issues, and echinacea, an herbal supplement, can both increase the effects of caffeine in the body. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see whether any of your meds may be affecting how your body processes caffeine.
How Caffeine And Coffee Can Affect Asthma
In 2010, I started writing about asthmas history. This was when I was introduced to Dr. Henry Hyde Salter. He was the doctor of Teddy Roosevelt during the 1870s when the former President was a child asthmatic. He wrote a book called, On Asthma. It was the most well-respected book on asthma during the second half of the 19th century. So, whatever Dr. Salter believed about asthma became the gold standard.1
He had many hypotheses about asthma, the most famous of which was that asthma was a nervous disorder. He also believed that asthma was brought on by sleep. He had already heard about caffeine as an asthma remedy from his many asthma patients. He speculated that it worked for asthma because of its stimulant effect. He wrote:1
For, what are the physiological effects of coffee? They consist in the production of a state of mental activity and vivacity, of acuteness of perception and energy of volition, well known to those who have experienced it, and to a certain extent very pleasurable, and which is the very reverse of that abeyance of will and perception which, in drowsiness or sleep, so favors the development of asthma.
Making Sure You Treat Your Body Right
When it comes down to it, youll need to make sure that your coffee isnt hurting your health. No matter how good it tastes, your morning cup of joe isnt worth any long term health effects. Whether you have a full blown coffee allergy or just a mild caffeine sensitivity, its important to make sure that your coffee fits into a healthy lifestyle.
‘but The Biggest Culprit Coffee’
Uh, what?? According to Megan Retterath, the nurse practitioner at Next Health, my test indicated that coffee triggered a reaction in my body meant to turn me off from future consumption.
Intolerance to coffee is not that uncommon and can manifest differently in each person, while an allergy to coffee is less common but not unheard of, adds Dempsey. Reactions, whether they are from allergy or intolerance, can come from compounds in the coffee or to the caffeine itself.”
According to Dempsey, the most common symptoms of coffee intolerance include:
- skin rashes
- abdominal pain and cramps
- mouth ulcers
In order to confirm the results of the test, Retterath suggested that I consider an elimination dietremoving all triggers from my system for a set period of time before slowly re-introducing them one at a time, to see which caused problems.
That meant nixing all the foods that were flagged by the test as triggers: beef, chicken, halibut, shrimp, lobster, carrots, watermelon, black pepper, and of course, coffee.
There was no room for cheating, either. Not even for the smallest iced coffee. If youre still consuming foods that you are sensitive to, such as coffee, you are still having your immune system respond and ramp upwhich is the exact opposite response we want, Retterath says.
It would be an all or nothing task.
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Coffee Allergy From Drinking Coffee Is Rarely Reported
The reality, however, is that you’re probably at very little risk for being allergic to your morning cup of Joe. Indeed, there’s surprisingly little information in the medical literature regarding allergic reactions to drinking coffee.
One report from Italy, published in 2008, described a father and daughter who experienced a presumed coffee allergy after contracting a parasitic infection. The authors theorize that the parasite damaged the intestine and allowed the development of a coffee allergy to occur. Both father and daughter showed evidence of specific antibodies to coffee with positive blood testing and skin testing, and symptoms of hives and diarrhea occurred when drinking coffee and resolved when coffee was avoided.
What Is Caffeine Intolerance
While coffee intolerance isnt the most common thing, caffeine intolerance affects quite a few people. If you feel jittery, anxious, or dizzy after a single cup of joe, you may have a caffeine sensitivity. Caffeine is a potent drug, and while some people are still sleepy after a whole pot of coffee, others are wired almost immediately.
There are a few symptoms to a caffeine intolerance that mostly revolve around a high-sensitivity to its effects. The causes of a caffeine sensitivity are a little sparse, but by understanding them, you can try to maintain a tolerable amount of caffeine in your diet.
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We Test For Coffee Intolerance
One approach that can be used is to change your diet removing foods identified using a simple blood test for reactions to these large protein molecules in foods .
Here at YorkTest, we not only test for coffee intolerance, but to over 200 other food and drink ingredients. Our programmes require only a few drops of blood through a simple home-to-lab finger-prick test, similar to a glucose test used by diabetics, and is then sent off to our in-house laboratory for testing.
How it Works
Additional Causes For Coffee Sensitivity
Keeping caffeine aside, there are other reasons for developing unfavourable health conditions in the human body. Often it is seen that the coffee beans during its growing stage and transportation, come in contact with various chemicals and pesticides, which causes a reaction in the body at a later time during the process of drinking.
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How Can You Treat A Caffeine Allergy
If you experience physical symptoms of a caffeine allergy, stop ingesting any food or drink that might contain caffeine and contact your doctor right away. Your doctor may advise you to take an over-the-counter antihistamine which may reduce symptoms such as itchiness, swelling, and hives. But the only way to prevent a caffeine allergy is avoiding foods and drinks containing caffeine.
Its important to read food and drink labels.
If you rely on caffeine for an energy boost, consider other ways to naturally boost your energy and stay alert. For example:
Increase physical activity
Start a workout routine and exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes each week. Jog, walk, ride a bike, or take a workout class.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleeping less than seven to nine hours a night can cause morning fatigue. Create a comfortable sleep environment and establish a regular bedtime routine. Turn off the TV and other electronic devices, and make sure your room is a comfortable temperature and dark.
Take vitamin supplements
Some vitamins can naturally boost energy levels over time. These include B vitamins, tyrosine, and rhodiola rosea. Talk to your doctor before starting a vitamin regiment, especially if youre taking prescription medicine.
Coffee Allergy & Rash
A coffee allergy is not considered a common food allergy, but some people experience symptoms of a food allergy after consuming coffee 26.Like other food allergies, a coffee allergy is caused by a malfunction in the immune system that identifies the proteins in the coffee bean as a harmful substance, according to the Food Allergy and Research Education website 2.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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What To Do If You Are Suffering
Please note: A surprising number of products contain caffeine, and some have a lot more than what you think.
Even although only a small amount such as .
Education is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction to caffeine.
Symptoms Of Too Much Caffeine Vs Allergy Symptoms
Allergies may be confused with the symptoms caused by having too much caffeine or sensitivity to caffeine. Many people who get sick from drinking coffee are simply seeing the effect of caffeine sensitivity.
Typically, the recommended caffeine consumption for adults is limited to 400 milligrams per day. This is around 4 small cups of home-brewed coffee. After that, many people will start experiencing symptoms.
People who do not have caffeine regularly, or those that are sensitive to caffeine, may experience symptoms after relatively small amounts of caffeine, such as 1 cup of coffee or tea. If a person is not used to caffeinated drinks, symptoms may occur because their body is not used to caffeineâs effects and struggles to process and eliminate the caffeine from the system.
Too much caffeine is associated with similar symptoms to those of a coffee sensitivity. In addition to these symptoms, too much caffeine in someone who is caffeine-sensitive may cause symptoms, such as:
- chest pain
- panic attacks
Although very rare, it is also possible to be allergic to caffeine itself. Some people may experience allergic reactions to the compound, which can lead to anaphylaxis.
Any new symptoms should be reported to a doctor or allergist immediately to discuss a plan of action.
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Stomach And Intestinal Disorders
Food allergy causes flu like symptoms which might appear as early as after finishing drinking coffee or hours later as the allergen is travelling through the gastrointestinal tract. Belly cramps, nausea, vomiting and loose watery stools are some of the potential side effects experienced by the person who is allergic to coffee.
These symptoms are indeed a nuisance but these symptoms represent an important protective mechanism of your body. These symptoms usually surface when you consume the allergen containing substances. These allergic substances irritate the lining of the intestine and body starts an inflammatory response due to the presence of the allergic substance. The body responds by causing nausea and diarrhea. This is how the body flushes out toxins and allergens from the body.
According to yet another study conducted, consumption of coffee by people suffering from coffee allergy can also result in heartburn, dyspepsia and regurgitation . Moreover the symptoms of dyspepsia were found to be influenced by variations in both the characteristics of susceptible individuals and the coffee itself. Thus, coffee seems to play a role in gastro-esophageal reflux disease particularly in coffee sensitive individuals. As per study gastro-esophageal reflux and the symptoms of coffee sensitivity increased with the concomitant ingestion of food .
Can A Person Be Allergic To Coffee Or Caffeine
We love our coffee! Approximately 1.4 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide every day. The coffee we drink is rich in anti-oxidants and may have positive health effects. But, can coffee cause allergic reactions?
Allergic reactions to coffee typically occur in workers handling green coffee beans and inhaling the dust leading to work-related asthma. There have been some workers who also had allergy to roasted coffee beans suggesting allergenic proteins survive the roasting process. In 2012, Cof a 1 was identified as the important protein responsible for allergic reactions to coffee beans.
While the vast majority of reactions are during coffee bean processing before roasting, there are rare published reports of individuals who had allergic reactions after consuming coffee. In 1993, an adult in France had 2 severe anaphylactic reactions with cardiac arrest after drinking coffee and using a beta-blocker eye drop. He was sensitive to both coffee bean and gum Arabic. In 1983, in Germany, a woman had an anaphylactic reaction and hives and was found to be allergic to coffee and several medications.
Is the caffeine in coffee the problem?
Is caffeine good for people with asthma?
Caffeine has a variety of drug-like effects it is a weak bronchodilator and it reduces respiratory muscle fatigue. It is chemically related to the drug theophylline which is used to treat asthma. Caffeine appears to improve airways function modestly, for up to 4 hours, in people with asthma.
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Causes Of Coffee Intolerance
If youre worried about developing a coffee intolerance, youll want to know what causes them. While an allergy is out of your control, there are certain things you can do to prevent your body from reacting negatively with coffee. By looking at how coffee reacts with the body, and what things can cause a Coffee intolerance, youll be able to avoid or minimize the effects of a coffee sensitivity.
How Do I Know If I Have A Caffeine Allergy Or Caffeine Sensitivity
May 16, 2016
Coffee has grown leaps and bounds in just a decade. Back in the old days, coffee was instant coffee and it was a drink you had in the morning and that was about it. Now high quality coffee is available on almost every corner from espresso to pour over filter to Nespresso. And, of course, there are stacks of energy drinks in every newsagent refrigerator. Its very tempting to have way more caffeine than you planned.
And the thing about caffeine is that your body adapts to caffeine and your tolerance for caffeine grows. Suddenly, that one or two coffees in the morning just doesnt cut it. Maybe an energy drink at lunch, another caffeinated soft drink at tea, etc. You get the picture.
But could that hit be hitting a little harder than you thought?
Peoples bodies vary tremendously. Genes play a large part in how you react to caffeine. Whilst being allergic to coffee is relatively uncommon, it does happen. But more likely is for your sensitivity to grow as your body reacts to the overdose of caffeine and makes it known that it doesnt take kindly to huge doses of caffeine.
So, how do you know if you have a caffeine allergy?
Well, these are some of the symptoms:
Skin problems such as hives, eczema, rashes, acne, severe itching
Headaches or migraine
Cant focus or concentrate
Tongue, glands, or throat swelling
Racing heart or palpitations
Numbness in face, hands, or feet
Shortness of breath and tightness of chest
Can You Develop Allergy To Coffee
According to a report from Italy published in 2008, a 55 year old father and his 22 year old daughter experienced coffee allergy after having contracted a helminth infection . They reported that the diarrhea and urticaria they suffered from became evident after meals particularly after breakfast when they drank coffee only. After the coffee was eliminated the said symptoms resolved. In both father and daughter the blood test and skin prick test proved to be positive together with the presence of specific serum IgE antibodies against coffee. It was hypothesized by the authors of the report that that the parasite may have damaged the intestine because of which coffee allergy developed . So the answer to the question that can you develop allergy to coffee is yes you can develop allergy to coffee.
Symptoms Of A Coffee Allergy
A true coffee allergy can cause serious symptoms in the body, usually within the first hours after it has been drunk. Symptoms can affect many areas of the body and will usually get worse over time.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to coffee include:
- skin rashes, such as hives or blotches of red skin
- nausea and vomiting
- elevated heartbeat or blood pressure
- involuntary muscle spasms
Symptoms caused by sensitivity to coffee will usually go away if the person stops drinking coffee.
People who are sensitive to coffee may have a gastrointestinal upset or symptoms connected to other issues may be getting worse. For example, coffee can make heartburn and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease worse. The caffeine in coffee can relax the sphincter at the lower end of the food pipe, causing stomach acid to leak up and irritate it.
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Caffeine Allergy: Top 20 Symptoms
Allergic to caffeine? It seems like you arent alone as hundreds of people have now testified to strange reactions experienced after caffeine consumption.
This article has been compiled from anecdotal evidence. Some people do not metabolize caffeine as well as others. Others are also sensitive to adrenaline. It pays to know your limits with caffeine. If you suspect that caffeine is causing problems, this can be tested by eliminating it from the diet.
Some time ago, we published a short post about the possibility of allergic reactions to caffeine.
That post received hundreds of comments from those who claimed to have experienced some type of adverse reaction to caffeine.
We have painstakingly sifted through all those comments, compiling the top 20 caffeine allergic reactions in order from most common to least common.
In most cases, these symptoms were reported after only having a little to moderate amount of caffeine through coffee, tea, soda and/or energy drinks.
Keep In Mind That Coffee Has Side Effects
Of course, you would also have to deal with the side effects of coffee, which include trouble sleeping, nervousness, upset stomach, anxiety, headache, etc. It is also known to relax the esophageal sphincter, which can cause gastrointestinal reflux , which can cause heartburn and asthma.
As a twist here, it was due to these side effects that my doctor and I decided to wean me off of theophylline in 2007. It was a very slow wean, as theophylline, like coffee, is highly addicting. I did not realize it at the time, but only after I was weaned off theophylline did I start drinking coffee. I was aware that caffeine and theophylline were sisters, but I was unaware that caffeine was metabolized into theophylline.
So, while I thought I had been weaned off theophylline, I was, in effect, consuming a small dose every day in my coffee. So, as I was consuming between 600-800 mg of coffee every day, I was pretty much having to deal with the same side effects I was dealing with when on theophylline.
This was effectively why I decided to quit drinking coffee.
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