Ask the Allergista: How Do You Know You're Allergic to Coffee?

Q: Hi Allergista!  I love your blog and I've read every post!  Looking forward to reading more from you.  Anyway, I was curious as to how you determined you are allergic to coffee and caffeine.  Was it through a skin prick test or just trial and error with noticing it made you worse?  What kind of symptoms do you have when you consume coffee and/or caffeine?

A:

Thanks so much for the compliments! I can't believe you've read every post! You rock! :-)

Well, it was a combination of two things. I went to a "Wellness" place that provided acupuncture among other things. I, personally, was interested in the acupuncture. I wanted to see how it would help my allergies because I've heard some good stories about acupuncture getting rid allergies over an extended period of time.

The owner  I spoke with swung me in a completely different direction and told me she had more effective ways to treat it. I figured I'd give it a shot because she felt so strongly about it. What she did was called "muscle testing". The whole thinking behind it is that everything is connected in your body and when your body is exposed to certain allergens, your muscles will weaken. So, the owner ran all of these different waves through my body with a small machine and had me hold my arm at a 90 degree angle from my body. Then she would push on my arm with each different wave setting and if my arm gave way to her pushing down, I was considered allergic to the item. She told me that I'm allergic to caffeine and coffee separately.

I used to be a coffee feign, but I've haven't had any in months. It's better for me to be banned from it, though, because I get seriously out of control with coffee. I'll drink it all day at work... Ahhhh the days of caffeine fueled productivity...

There's been more than one day where all I've had was coffee in the first half of the day (bad, I know) and my hands and fingers would almost immediately start reacting. Then, I'd stop drinking the cup of coffee and my skin would settle down shortly after. So, between the muscle testing and watching my skin react, that's how I figure that I'm allergic to it. I'm also very allergic to Propylene Glycol which is in a lot of coffees, especially flavored ones.  I don't know how I really feel about the muscle testing place I went to.... they also said that I'm allergic to soy and I've been tested for that more than once at my regular doctor and it always comes up negative.

I didn't do a lot of testing for different foods at the patch testing specialist, but I wonder if they do test for caffeine or coffee beans... I'm going back to that specialist in 2013, so when I do, I'll make sure to ask and post what he says!

Thanks for writing and good luck in your quest for more knowledge on coffee and allergies!