If you’ve experienced rashes, skin irritation, breathing difficulties, digestive issues, abdominal pain, or dizziness after eating shellfish, you probably are already aware that you’re allergic to shellfish. Although shellfish allergy isn’t as common as other food allergies, its symptoms could range from mild to life-threatening.
The only way to prevent an allergic reaction to shellfish is, quite obviously, to stay away from shellfish. But there are some foods you can include in your diet to reduce the severity of a future reaction to shellfish. Here are some nutrients (along with their sources) that you must intake regularly to manage your shellfish allergy.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that promote your gut health. A group of gut bacteria, called Clostridia, are found to protect against food allergies. These bacteria induce immune responses that prevent the allergens in shellfish from entering your bloodstream, thus protecting you from a severe allergic reaction.1 Thus, regular intake of probiotics is important if you have a shellfish allergy.
Sources: Yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles, buttermilk, and some forms of cheese.
2. Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5 – or pantothenic acid – regulates the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, by influencing your adrenal glands (that are present in your kidneys). It’s believed that the excess secretion of cortisol could have a role to play in the severity of food allergies, although there isn’t substantial research to back this claim. Hence, by regulating its function, vitamin B5 might help in reducing the severity of a future shellfish allergy.
Sources: Brewer’s yeast, corn, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, legumes, lentils, egg yolks, beef (especially organ meats such as liver and kidney), turkey, duck, chicken, milk, split peas, peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, whole-grain breads and cereals, lobster, wheat germ, and salmon.
3. Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes are supplements you can take along with your food to ensure its proper breakdown. Research suggests that poorly broken down protein in your food could act as an allergen, thus triggering severe reactions. By taking digestive enzymes, you can ensure that the protein is broken down fully and possibly prevent a reaction.2 However, consult your medical practitioner before opting for digestive enzymes or any other supplements.
Sources: Probiotics and a high-fiber diet are natural digestion-boosters. The juices of carrot, wheat grass, celery, cucumber, ginger, and apple are also believed to function as natural digestive enzymes.
Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is a compound of sulfur that can help reduce your allergic reactions. It promotes gut health, improves digestion, reduces oxidative stress, and fights inflammation.3 It’s also believed to reduce your sensitivity to the allergens in shellfish and hence, reduce the severity of the allergic reaction.
Sources: cow’s milk, coffee, tomatoes, tea, Swiss chard, alfalfa sprouts, corn, whole grains, and legumes.
Like MSM, L-glutamine (an amino acid) is believed to reduce the severity of shellfish allergy by reducing your sensitivity to the allergens in shellfish. It also helps treat the leaky gut syndrome, which might have a role to play in food allergies.
Sources: Chicken, fish, dairy products, eggs, vegetables like beans, beets, cabbage, spinach, carrots, parsley, papaya, Brussel sprouts, celery, kale, vegetable juices, wheat, and probiotics. All high-protein foods are rich in L-glutamine.
Make sure you eat the natural sources of these nutrients regularly in order to reduce the severity of a future allergy. If you’re going for the supplements instead of the natural sources, make sure you do so only after discussing with your doctor. However, these foods might not always work, and the only sure-shot way to prevent a shellfish allergy is to eliminate shellfish completely from your diet.
|↑1||Gut bacteria that protect against food allergies identified. University of Chicago Medicine.|
|↑2||Untersmayr, Eva, and Erika Jensen-Jarolim. “The role of protein digestibility and antacids on food allergy outcomes.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 121, no. 6 (2008): 1301-1308.|
|↑3||Butawan, Matthew, Rodney L. Benjamin, and Richard J. Bloomer. “Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement.” Nutrients 9, no. 3 (2017): 290.|