American diet has seen a recent increase in the use of spices. Allergists say that the trend might lead to a rise in the number of people whose daily lives will be affected due to their increased sensitivity to these spices.
Spices are often not mentioned on food labels because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate spices. People with an allergy to spices may find it difficult to avoid foods that have spices in it. Also, spices are now found in certain cosmetics and perfumes, making life for those allergic to spices really difficult.
"While spice allergy seems to be rare, with the constantly increasing use of spices in the American diet and a variety of cosmetics, we anticipate more and more Americans will develop this allergy," said allergist Sami Bahna, M.D., American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) past president.
About 2 to 3 percent of all people in the world are allergic to spices. In the U.S., Spice allergy accounts for about 2 percent of all food allergies. Researchers say that spice allergies are under-diagnosed in the country due to unavailability of specific tests.
"Patients with spice allergy often have to go through extreme measures to avoid the allergen. This can lead to strict dietary avoidance, low quality of life and sometimes malnutrition," Bahna added.
In a presentation at ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting, Dr. Bahna said that since cosmetics are now being used in cosmetics and fragrances, women might be at increased risk of developing spice allergy. People who already have birch pollen or mugwort allergy can develop allergic reactions to spices.
Any spice from black pepper to vanilla may trigger allergic reactions in people. However, spices like cinnamon and garlic are often known cause the allergies.
"Boiling, roasting, frying and other forms of applying heat to spices may reduce allergy causing agents, but can also enhance them depending on the spice. Because of this allergy's complexity, allergists often recommend a treatment plan that includes strict avoidance which can be a major task," said Dr. Bahna.
A person who has allergy to one known spice can show adverse reactions to many spice blends, experts say.
The 2012 Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology began today in Anaheim, California.