Do you think you are allergic to xanthan gum? Read more to be sure and know more about your ailment.
Xanthan gum is a food thickening substance or agent commonly used in baking products as well as in salad dressings. Also, it is popularly used as a non-separating agent in cosmetic products. Xanthan gum is derived from a bacterium species called xanthomonas campestris, which is the same bacterium that causes black slimy spots on surface of cabbages. Xanthan gum was first discovered by a chemist named Allene Rosalind Jeanes working with United States Department of Agriculture. The product was commercially marketed for the first time around mid 1960s.
Xanthan Gum Uses
Xanthan gum is known as a polysaccharide. In food categorization, it is termed as a food additive and rheology modifier. Xanthan gum is emulsive in nature but is not categorized as an emulsifier. It is popularly used in bakery products, gluten-free foods, ice creams, toothpastes, etc. It is a thickening agent which turns into thick slimy material when mixed with liquids. Xanthan gum maintains its texture consistency under a wide range of temperature conditions. When bottled, it clings to the inner surface of the container. Efforts made to shake the container and pour its contents decrease the thickness of xanthan gum present in the substance. However, the moment the bottled substance spills on the surface of a food preparation, it tends to regain its original consistency.
Allergy and Symptoms
The xanthomonas campestris bacterium is known for consuming corn sugar. It can therefore be derived that, if you are allergic to corn, then you are most likely to be allergic to xanthan gum too. At times, xanthan gum may have been derived through processing of wheat. If a consumer allergic to gluten happens to consume such a variety of xanthan gum, then he tends to experience an allergy with symptoms very similar to those of a gluten allergy. There are few other side effects of xanthan gum consumption.
There are several symptoms that help identify a xanthan gum allergy. Some of the first observed symptoms are severe intestinal bloating and diarrhea on account of highly laxative properties of xanthan gum. Other symptoms experienced by victims of this allergy include excruciating intestinal cramps, sudden migraine attacks, temporary hike in the blood pressure, skin irritation, runny nose, sore and itchy eyes, asthma and breathing problems, nausea and vomiting, swelling of tongue and throat, swelling around lips, facial swelling and skin flushing, light-headedness, cough and hoarseness, sneezing and wheezing, etc. It is advisable to rush to the nearest medical facility for taking anti-allergic treatment as soon as the problem is detected.
It is difficult to know if you are prone to this allergy until you actually experience the symptoms. In cases, where you unknowingly fall prey to an allergy attack, make sure to consult your doctor immediately. One of the most commonly used medication to cure this allergy is an adrenalin shot. Doctors may also prescribe an ointment for external application that will relieve one from skin inflammations. Drink plenty of water for soothing your throat from allergy irritation.
Xanthan Gum Substitutes
Possible substitutes to xanthan gum include natural products such as guar gum or sunfibre, raw chia seeds, coconut flour, milled flax seeds, gum arabic, gum tragacanth, carrageenan, locust bean gum, cornstarch, arrowroot, agar agar, gelatin, etc.
I hope that my article has helped clear many of your queries about xanthan gum. You can always shield yourself against this allergy by being an alert consumer and reading the ingredient list of food products you purchase. Just make sure your shopping cart is xanthan gum free! Bon apetit!