Many people today believe they're allergic to yeast. This fact can pose a real challenge, since yeast is a common ingredient contained in an array of popular foods and drinks. To help those who fall into this category to safely navigate daily living, some alternative practitioners offer various treatment options.

But are yeast allergies for real? Many conventional doctors are skeptical about this widespread diagnosis, saying that it's very rare and in most cases, doesn't really exist.

How Allergies Occur

If you're familiar with true food allergies, you know that these occur when your immune system responds to something you eat or drink as though it's a foreign invader, prompting it to launch an attack against it. As a result, you could experience anything from mild hives, wheezing and itchy throat to more serious problems, including dizziness, a drop in blood pressure and difficulty in breathing. Sometimes, a food allergy can even cause a life threatening reaction if you don't get help immediately.

But while milk, eggs, peanuts and fish can prompt such distress, many people question whether yeast can cause a similar reaction. The answer is "maybe",but only in extreme cases.

Yeast Allergies Aren't Proven

The formal name for yeast allergies is candidiasis, and among other allergy symptoms, people who claim to suffer from this also report experiencing severe fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings. Yet according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, having a true allergy to yeast is quite rare. Furthermore, most people who believe they have a yeast allergy may instead be intolerant to this ingredient, which means that it causes a bad reaction but doesn't involve the immune system in the process.

When you think your problem with yeast is caused by more than intolerance, though, it can be hard for you to prove this fact. This is because yeast allergies are difficult to identify, in large part because yeast naturally occurs in everyone's bodies. Some doctors also point out that a yeast allergy mimics the symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivities and chronic fatigue disorder, further complicating the diagnosis.

What You Should Know

The most important thing to remember, though, is that regardless of whether you're truly allergic to yeast or just highly sensitive to this ingredient, you'll need to avoid exposure to it to minimize your risks and symptoms. In fact, if you find yourself feeling sick when you eat or drink certain things, it's always best to eliminate them from your diet. In addition, you'll want to see an allergist to try to get to the root of the problem and determine if you're having a true immune system reaction to yeast or any other allergen, or whether it's more of a sensitivity or intolerance. This is important information, since a serious allergic reaction to food can be fatal in some cases. Therefore, if you could be at real risk, you'll need to carry an epi-pen and wear a medical alert bracelet to protect yourself.

Got a Yeast Allergy? Get a Second Opinion

When you visit a doctor who diagnoses a yeast allergy and recommends treating it with anti-fungal drugs, be very wary of this approach. While this is common practice in some circles, many respected doctors warn that that this approach can lead you to build up a tolerance to this form of medicine and it cause additional problems.

Therefore, the best rule of thumb is that if you've been diagnosed with a yeast allergy and you haven't undergone conventional allergy testing, it's best to be skeptical. You should always seek out a second opinion from a respected physician or allergist since most yeast allergy diagnoses won't really pan out.


American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology