Having a great commercial significance, xanthan gum is used in different beverages and food items, mainly as a thickening agent. Some people may be allergic to xanthan gum and it is necessary to know the symptoms of xanthan gum allergy and treatment for the same.
Xanthan gum is used in certain foods and drinks, because it has a natural thickening property, which is often required for the binding food ingredients. Salads, foods, personal care products are some of the areas, where this xanthan gum is used. The name of xanthan gum comes from Xanthomonas campestris, which is the source from where this natural form of polysaccharide is produced. Being a food additive, xanthan gum is used in place of gluten, which is primarily used for thickening purposes. When xanthan gum is combined with liquid, it forms a binding consistency, which is significant, in different food dishes.
Apart from being used in certain foods and medicines, xanthan gum also has certain benefits for people who can tolerate it, without causing xanthan gum allergy. Xanthan gum promotes salivation and hence it is recommended in conditions causing dryness of mouth, for e.g. Sjogren's syndrome. Due to its property to swell, it is also used as a laxative and is also believed to help in lowering of blood cholesterol and blood sugar.
However, some people may have xanthan gum allergy and may show varying symptoms of xanthan gum allergy. In such cases, avoiding foods containing xanthan gum is a must and they can be replaced by other substances, which offer similar benefits, like corn starches and guar gum.
Symptoms of Xanthan Gum Allergy
From dessert to toothpaste, xanthan gum is present in most of the products used in daily life. Being able to grow easily on sugar, and other nutrients, xanthan gum is used on a large scale, as it is known to be a perfect food thickener. In raw form, it is basically available in the form of powder, which is later on converted to a thickening agent, by mixing it with water or any other liquid. The working is very similar to that of cornstarch, but is more harmful on human's health.
People dealing with digestive problems or a sensitive digestive system, may experience various symptoms of xanthan gum allergy. People specifically allergic to xanthan gum, must avoid it completely to prevent the symptoms of xanthan gum allergy.
Xanthan gum allergy is primarily caused by consumption of food and drink, in which the gum is used. It may also occur due to ingestion of certain substances, which may have produced xanthan gum.
Some of the prominent symptoms of xanthan gum allergy include
- Consumption of corn and wheat can cause the problem of xanthan gum allergy. The bacterium which is present in xanthan gum is known to ferment different food items, where it can prevail. This can also be present in wheat, as it is known to have gluten.
- Xanthan gum is known to leave a laxative effect, the commonest symptoms of xanthan gum allergy include stomach upset, bloating and abdominal discomfort.
- Diarrhea is another severe symptom of xanthan gum allergy.
- Intestinal cramps another common symptoms of xanthan gum allergy in people who consume different food items which contain xanthan gum.
Other symptoms of xanthan gum allergy include headache, swollen gums, lips, tongue and irritation in the mouth and throat. Some people may also experience problem in breathing due to xanthan gum allergy.
Treatment of Xanthan Gum Allergy
The problem of xanthan gum allergy can become really serious, if proper treatment is not received. Xanthan gum allergy can present itself with various symptoms and proper evaluation of those is important. Clinical history and examination can help to understand about xanthan gum allergy. Treatment of xanthan gum allergy depends on the food consumed and the severity of the symptoms.
As a primary step towards treatment of xanthan gum allergy, it is necessary to avoid food items that contain xanthan gum.
Treatment of xanthan gum allergy include:
- Anti-allergic medications and steroids; these are best taken with medical advice.
- Ointments and gels that provide quick relief to the problem of skin irritation and soreness in mouth.
- For some people with severe allergic reaction, immediate medical help may be required for appropriate treatment of xanthan gum allergy.
Including substitutes of xanthan gum like gelatin, cornstarch, and guar gum may help to prevent xanthan gum allergy. It is also believed that consumption of xanthan gum may lead to an increased risk of heart diseases. So, if ever experience the symptoms of xanthan gum allergy, it is advisable to seek medical opinion for treatment at the earliest.