The trials of living with a severe corn allergy
Coeliacs and dairy intolerants may struggle to get recognition for their condition or to identify their allergens or triggers in ready-made food, but you try being corn allergic! Below is the text of a recent correspondence between FoodsMatter and a severely corn-allergic site visitor.
13th June 2011
However, some of us are trying! Nutritionist Micki Rose who writes for us quite often, is allergic to all grains herself and believes that many people are allergic to all gluten - not just the gluten in wheat, rye and barley. Corn is among the worst offenders as although the gluten in corn is not identical to that in wheat, it is still gluten and there is a lot of it in corn. Micki has done a great deal of work identifying hidden gluten (usually corn) in foods and in supplements and has started a new website, Truly Gluten Free on which she has put loads of information. She has also written a couple of articles for the foodsmatter site on the subject which you might find useful – No Grain, No Pain and Corn-free supplements.
15th June 2011
Thank you for replying to me so quickly.
Best wishes. Rosie
16th June 2011
Oh dear - you are bad... Do you not carry an Epipen? It sounds to me as though you go into anaphylactic shock when you actually actually eat corn.
Although some site suggest that corn 'allergy' is in fact an intolerance, the official view from FAAN (the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) is:
Best wishes – Michelle
16th June 2011
I am definitely allergic, not intolerant. I had allergy tests and it is the usual immune system reaction, a full allergy not an intolerance. I was told at the hospital that it is rare. I was tested for corn by accident really; I had to bring in fresh fruit and vegetables that I suspected a reaction to and I brought in sweetcorn and my arm swelled up quite magnificently when it was pricked! They even called in a student doctor to look at me because it was such a severe reaction!
I was not given an Epipen, but told to either call 999 or go to my doctor's surgery if I have a really bad reaction that I can't control myself with my medicines. I have needed to go to my doctor several times because of a really severe allergic reaction, and each time they injected me with a high dose of chlorphenamine and something else which I can't remember. I have another appointment at the hospital with my consultant in August, so will mention an Epipen then, although he didn't offer it to me at my previous appointments.
Many thanks for your help. Rosie
17th June 2011
I am amazed that they did not offer you an Epipen to help control really severe reactions – unless they just do not see corn as a 'major' allergen which can cause just as much trouble as peanut – in which case they are woefully ignorant! I would definitely push for one as it will give you more peace of mind knowing that you will be able to deal more quickly with a bad reaction yourself before going to the doctor.
Very best wishes - Michelle
Ed: The On the Wings of Hope blog has an excellent post pointing out that corn is an increasingly popular material in environmentally friendly products such as fabrics, clothing and yarn.
Biodegradable, disposable crockery and cutlery can also be made from wheat or corn fibre while peanut oil and ethanol from corn can both be used as fuel in biodiesel and some corn allergics have reacted to the fumes. Casein fibres are also used in fabrics such as clothing and blankets.
They also give a link to a page on the www.avoidingmilkprotein.com blog which gives a good deal more detail about the unlikely places where such allergens can be found – as well as a history of allergy!
Ed: John Scott sent the following email to be forwarded to Rosie:
If I knew Rosie's contact details, I'd tell her about Helminthic Therapy (HT) because this is very effective against allergies and anaphylaxis.
Although there are quite a number of people who are using HT successfully to treat their severe allergies and prevent the possibility of anaphylactic reactions, not many of them have written accounts of their success. One of the few reports was written by the father of a boy with autism, who, several months into the the therapy, accidently ate a pecan cookie - pecans being the nuts that he is most allergic to - and, much to his parents' amazement, he had absolutely no reaction of any kind. (They didn't know, at the time, that HT prevents anaphylaxis, and were only hoping for help with the autism.) The pecan cookie incident is mentioned in the father's detailed account of his son's problem and successful treatment using HT.
There's more scientific stuff on the use of HT to treat anaphylaxis here.
Although I didn't have anaphylaxis myself, I did have a large number of IgE-mediated allergies, but these are all gone now that I'm using HT, so it would almost certainly benefit Rosie and likely transform her life, as it has done mine.
If she's interested, but can't afford the quite high cost of the treatment, she might like to know that Autoimmune Therapies have a policy of never refusing treatment to anyone who genuinely can't afford the cost!
We have just received the following email from Ambar deMejia who had been reading some of our material on corn allergy and these posts. She says:
There are so many people with corn allergies, more than what you might think even though it might be confused with an intolerance, nevertheless, the itching, the vomiting, the headaches are so very present.
You will find a corn free list here.
And a Facebook Group here.
And another great 'corn-free blog' here – www.livingitupcornfree.com
I hope this helps!!
NB Information on this site is not a substitute for medical advice and no liability can be assumed for its use.Top of page