What is Egg Intolerance?
What does egg intolerance mean?
If you have an intolerance to egg, your body may react to the protein present in either the white, the yolk or both.
Should you have an egg intolerance, it is advisable to avoid eggs altogether and this includes those from ducks, quail and geese which contain similar proteins to chicken eggs.
What are the symptoms of an egg intolerance?
Egg intolerance symptoms are not immediately apparent and can be delayed for up to 72 hours. They vary in severity and can affect a person both physically and psychologically. Typical symptoms of a food intolerance include:
- Digestive complaints – such as IBS, bloating or stomach ache
- Neurological problems – like severe headaches and migraines
- Skin issues – most commonly eczema, acne, itchiness and rashes
- Tiredness and fatigue – a lack of energy, “brain fog” or lethargy
- Joint pain – persistent aching or swelling of the joints
- Psychological problems – like depression or anxiety
- Respiratory complaints – such as sinusitis and rhinitis
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Can you outgrow an egg intolerance?
Yes, it is possible to no longer react to egg by cutting them out for a period of weeks before reintroducing them back into your diet.
When eliminating eggs, it is important that they are replaced with nutritious alternatives to ensure that your diet remains balanced.
What is the difference between an egg intolerance and an egg allergy?
What are the symptoms of being allergic to egg?
The symptoms of an egg allergy are much more severe than those of an intolerance and, in extreme cases, an allergic reaction can even be life threatening. Symptoms of an egg allergy could include:
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Skin issues such as swelling, rashes or hives
- Sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose
- Stomach pain, vomiting, nausea or diarrhoea
- Anaphylaxis – hypersensitive reaction, which can be life threatening
How long does it take for an egg allergy to show?
Unlike the effects of an intolerance, egg allergy symptoms present themselves very quickly after consumption of the food. In some circumstances, they can even happen after those with a severe allergy have merely touched egg.
An allergic reaction to eggs occurs because the body is mistaking the food for a harmful substance. The immune system therefore releases chemicals such as histamine, which can result in a range of severe symptoms. In extreme cases, these allergic reactions can be life threatening.
Is there a test for an egg allergy?
If you suspect that you are allergic to egg, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. They are likely to refer you to an allergy clinic. Here they may perform a skin-prick test or carry out a blood test to assess the level of IgE antibodies present when your sample is exposed to eggs.
How do I get tested for an egg intolerance?
Whilst symptoms associated with an egg intolerance are less extreme than an allergic reaction, they can still be very disruptive to a person’s life. Once your GP has ruled out any underlying medical conditions, you can obtain a food intolerance test from YorkTest.
There are no specific egg intolerance tests, and food intolerance tests in general are not currently offered on the NHS. However, YorkTest have been providing food intolerance* tests privately for over 35 years. Their tests include a check for egg specific IgG antibody reactions.
With a simple home-to-laboratory finger-prick test, YorkTest can tell you whether or not your body is producing IgG antibody reactions to the food and drinks that you are consuming.
As individuals, our reactions to food and drink varies a great deal and an ingredient that causes a problem for one person could be completely okay for another. Fortunately our team are on hand to identify your own personal “food fingerprint”.
It is thought that 45% of people have some kind of intolerance and usually, it is more than one ingredient that the body is reacting to. We find that the average person who is intolerant* reacts to 4 or 5 ingredients and it can often be something unexpected in your diet, which is causing an IgG reaction.
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Real stories – Real-life stories from people who came to YorkTest to identify their intolerance and then optimised their diet.
*YorkTest define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction.
Which foods contain egg?
What are the most common egg intolerance foods?
There are many products which contain egg, either to bind or to thicken. Being aware of these is important when making changes to optimise your diet. The following list of ingredients can contain egg and should be avoided if you have an intolerance:
- Bread and cakes
- Pancakes and Yorkshire puddings
- Sauces and spreads
- Ice cream
- Some meat products
Does egg have any other names on packaging?
As an ingredient, egg is often given other names which can make it difficult to identify on product packaging so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these. The following names are also used for egg:
- Yolk and egg white
- Lecithin (E322)
- Egg derived lysozyme (E1105)
Egg replacements for a balanced diet
1 egg equates to about 15% of the daily requirement for protein and so eggs are important, particularly for those following a vegetarian diet. Eggs are a source of Vitamin A, B, D and E and also provides calcium, phosphorus and iron. To ensure a balanced and nutritious diet when omitting eggs, include a varied mix of the following foods:
- Milk, meat and fish-based proteins
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
When looking to directly replace egg in cooking or baking, there are alternatives which mimic the binding or thickening properties of egg such as:
- ‘Ogran No Egg’
- Mashed fruits (binding)
- Cornstarch (thickening)
If you have found out that you are intolerant to egg, changing your diet need not be daunting. YorkTest nutritional therapists are here to help you understand how to optimise your food choices.
Real life success stories
Many YorkTest customers, who suffered from a wide range of symptoms, have discovered that they are intolerant to eggs and gone on to successfully eliminate the food from their diet.
Our 2017 customer survey revealed that 4 out of 5 people who followed one of our full programmes told us that they saw an improvement in their symptoms. Amongst them were David, Caroline and Simon.
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