Possible Symptoms Of Xanthan Gum Allergy: Uses And Treatment

Xanthan gum has great commercial significance in food and beverage industry because of its natural thickening, stabilizing and binding property. Xanthan gum is used in many foods, salads, baking and even in personal care products. It is a natural polysaccharide which is produced by bacterium xanthomonas campestris. It is the same bacteria which is responsible for causing black spots on cabbage. It was discovered in 1950 at the department of agriculture in United States and widely produced commercially by mid 1964.

To prepare xanthun gum, bacteria is placed in the growth medium for fermentation.

The growth medium is mainly sugar and other nutrients. The fermented product is purified, dried and made into powder to form final product called xanthan gum. Some people are known to be allergic to xanthun gum.

Uses Of Xanthan Gum In Food Industry

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide primarily formed by two units of glucose, two of mannose and one unit of glucuronic acid. It is considered to be a food additive. Although it is basically emulsive in nature, xanthan gum is not categorized as an emulsifier. It is used in place of gluten.

Therefore, it is used in many of the bakery products as a substitute for gluten, ice creams, toothpastes, etc.

Xanthan gum has properties to make the substance thick and consistent. When it is mixed with liquids it binds and turns the product thick in consistency. The best part of xanthan gum is it maintains its consistency even at any given temperature.

What Are The Symptoms Of Xanthan Gum Allergy?

Xanthan gum is derived from many different substances such as corn, wheat etc. The bacteria xanthomonas campestris is introduced in the medium which ferments the corn medium or any other medium in which it can flourish.

So if you are allergic to xanthan gum derived from corn if you are allergic to corn. If you are allergic to gluten present in wheat, you may be at risk of suffering from allergy if xanthan gum is derived from wheat. There are several symptoms of xanthan gum allergy.

  • Xanthan gum has mild laxative effect. Therefore a person may suffer from bloating of abdomen and diarrhea as a side effect of xanthan gum if he is allergic to this substance.
  • Person may also experience intestinal cramps after eating food that contains xanthan gum.
  • He may also get headache.
  • Skin lesions, especially rashes on skin with itching.
  • Running nose, sneezing, itching in throat and watering of eyes.
  • Breathing difficulty and asthma like symptoms.
  • Swelling of lips and tongue.
  • Cough and hoarseness of voice.

Treatment For Xanthan Gum Allergy

A person may not know if he is allergic to xanthan gum, unless there is a past history of such episode. If there is past history of such symptoms, than he should avoid food preparations that contain xanthan gum. Usually the symptoms of allergy are mild and subside on its own after a period of time.

However, in severe cases anti histamine medications and steroids may be helpful to relieve the symptoms. In more severe cases where the person experiences difficulty in breathing should contact emergency department for the treatment. Doctors also prescribe soothing ointments to relieve skin irritation.

There are many other substitutes that can be used in food if a person is allergic to xanthan gum. These substitutes for example are guar gum, milled flax seeds, cornstarch, arrowroot, gelatin etc.

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