Rice is one of the most important staple foods in different parts of the world. Although rare, there are reports and evidence where people have shown allergic reactions to rice.
Rice allergy is more common in Eastern Asia and less common in the western countries.
Rice is eaten daily in large quantities by the people in China and Japan and therefore, the frequency of this allergy is more in these countries.
Symptoms Of Rice Allergy
The symptoms of rice allergy are found in both adults and children. These symptoms include the following:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis with ocular complications
- Contact urticaria
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Exercise-induced anaphylaxis
- Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)
Rice allergic individuals also show symptoms like abdominal cramping and similar pain, rhinitis, rhinoconjunctivitis, dyspnea, contact urticaria, and angioedema.
Those showing rice allergy may also be allergic to the following as they are members of the same botanical family.
- Durum wheat
- Grass pollen
A study reporting the symptoms of a hypersensitive non-Asian individual was also conducted. The subject was a 33-year-old German. The symptoms shown by this individual included several episodes of generalized urticaria, pruritus, angioedema of the lips, eyelids, and tongue, dysphagia, and dyspnea 15–20 min after eating whole meals containing cooked rice.
Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is more commonly observed in children. FPIES symptoms begin early in life. These symptoms may also develop after an infant starts eating rice, oats, barley, and similar foods, typically after four months of age.
The symptoms of FPIES are confined to the gastrointestinal system and they include the following:
- Chronic vomiting
- Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
- Weight loss
- Failure to thrive
There is a study that showed physical allergic reactions to rice as well. The study involved 24 patients and the mean age ranged from 3–72 months. Six of the 24 patients showed symptoms such as rashes on their lips, face, and trunk after ingesting rice porridge or rice cookies.
Allergens Found In Rice
In rice allergy, proteins with molecular masses of 14–16, 26, 33, and 56 kDa have been demonstrated to be potentially allergenic.
The majority of the allergic components are albumins with molecular weights between 14 and 16 kDa.
The 16-kilodalton rice protein has been reported to be a major allergen and responsible for cross-allergenicity between cereal grains in the Poaceae family.
Although raw rice is more allergenic than cooked, some of the allergens are heat stable and resist proteolysis.
Rice also contains a lipid transfer protein (LPT). LPTs are heat-stable proteins and may account for allergy to cooked rice.
Treating Rice Allergy
Treating rice allergy can be a challenge. Eliminating the trigger food is the first thing one can do to avoid food allergies. Therefore, eliminating rice and rice products can help in reducing the symptoms of the allergy. Make sure to consult a general practitioner before you eliminate any food.
IgE plays an important role in allergic reactions. Immunoglobin E or IgE are antibodies produced by the immune system. If you have an allergy, your immune system overreacts to an allergen by producing these antibodies. These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. Therefore, take a blood test and if you notice the presence of these antibodies, then the allergy exists.
For infants and children, it is important to take them to the hospital immediately to avoid further complications.