Sports allergy? Yes, it exists - The360 Healthy

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  • Friday, January 3, 2020

    Sports allergy? Yes, it exists

    Sports allergy? Yes, it exists

    Exercise-induced anaphylaxis affects 50 in 100,000 people. But the exact cause has not yet been determined by researchers.


    Don't expect your body to triple in volume or become covered in red patches as soon as you touch a dumbbell. Sports allergy, more specifically called exercise-induced anaphylaxis (IAEP), is not a reaction of the body to physical activity per se, but rather a unique form of allergy. Described for the first time in 1979, it is triggered by a physical effort of more or less sustained intensity.

    In the majority of cases, the body is allergic to a particular substance, such as food or medication, but the reaction only takes place when you exercise your muscles. Some women have experienced the same reaction during their menstrual cycle when estrogen hormone levels are highest. According to data from the Popular Science website, 50 people in 100,000 are affected by this disease. However, scientists still cannot explain the exact origin. Result: no effective treatment can cure the cause of these symptoms at the moment.

    Difficult to test

    The dose of sport required to trigger this reaction varies for each person. But almost all types of physical exercise, such as running, dancing, or cycling, are affected. The only sport that doesn't appear to cause PSIA is swimming, said Maria Castells, a researcher at Brigham and Women Hospital in the United States, cited by Popular Science.

    There are many theories about the real cause of PSIA: an increase in blood flow that stimulates an immune cell response, or a protein in the gut that changes behavior during exercise… the real problem, explains Maria Castells, is that it is almost impossible to test these theories because it would be necessary to recreate the same conditions of allergy in the laboratory. Over time, researchers may be able to do this, and at the same time succeed in making life easier for people affected by this disease.

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