Allergy, Tuna

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Tuna is a saltwater fish consumed worldwide due to its nutritional value and meaty flavour. The fish is found all over the world, primarily in oceans. It is mainly known for being rich in vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids.

However, it is also laden with other nutrients like potassium, selenium, iodine, vitamin B6 and iron.
People all over the world consume tuna in a variety of forms to take advantage of its health benefits. However, some individuals may suffer adverse reactions upon consuming tuna due to a tuna allergy. This condition occurs when the body's immune system views the parvalbumin present in tuna as a foreign invader. This compound is highly stable to heat. Hence, cooking tuna at a high temperature is insufficient to eliminate parvalbumin.

The immune system releases IgE antibodies in response to these compounds, releasing histamines into the bloodstream. These histamines are the reasons for the onset of common allergy symptoms like sneezing and coughing.

The tuna allergy test is a diagnostic test for detecting the presence of these IgE antibodies and hence tuna allergy in a person. It helps determine the allergen responsible for allergic symptoms. Additionally, the tuna allergy test is also performed to confirm sensitisation before starting immunotherapy in patients.

It is a standard blood test in which the clinical lab technician draws blood from the vein in the arm, usually at the bend of the elbow. The sample is stored in a labelled container and sent for further testing. During the analysis, the lab uses a tuna sample to check for the presence of IgE antibodies in the blood. If exposure to the sample generates IgE antibodies, the individual might likely have a tuna allergy. Sometimes, the results may be false-positive or false-negative. In such cases, it is vital to ensure that the sample is not contaminated and reperform the test to gauge the correct diagnosis.

Apollo 24|7 offers a comprehensive tuna allergy test to check for the presence of IgE antibodies in response to parvalbumin, a compound present in tuna and other fishes. Since this compound is widely prevalent in fish, a tuna allergy may also indicate other fish allergies. Some symptoms of this condition include:

  • Irritation and itching in the mouth and throat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach ache that may lead to diarrhoea
  • Nettle rash, commonly known as hives on the skin
  • Swelling under the skin
  • Itchiness and redness of various parts of the body

If one or more of these symptoms occur a few minutes after ingestion of tuna or exposure to it in any form, it is vital to consult a doctor. Severe allergic reactions may lead to a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis, where the body enters a state of shock.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Jatin Ahuja, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals Indraprastha, South Delhi.

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faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently asked questions

Most doctors would advise taking the tuna allergy test to determine if your immune system is allergic to parvalbumin, a compound present in tuna. It uses your blood sample to detect if tuna samples induce IgE antibodies in the blood. The presence of these antibodies may indicate a high chance of a tuna allergy.
Fish allergies, including a tuna allergy, usually occur due to the immune system's reaction toward parvalbumin, a compound in almost all types of fish. Hence, if you have a tuna allergy, chances are that you might also be allergic to other fishes.
The tuna allergy test is a simple and quick blood test with little or no complications. The clinical lab assistant draws blood from your arm and sends it for analysis. At most, you might encounter slight bruising at the spot where they draw blood. However, this mark fades away quickly.
In food allergies like tuna allergy, the symptoms are visible within a few minutes of ingesting tuna fish or getting exposed to it in any form. It could lead to various symptoms, including reddening of the skin and nausea. In severe cases, it may lead to a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic reaction that occurs due to corresponding allergic food, like tuna. In this condition, the airways in your body start constricting, and the blood pressure drops rapidly. Due to this, the body goes into a state of shock. This may even lead to death.
Tuna is believed to be one of the most nutritious fishes in the world. It is widely consumed for its high content of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the health benefits tuna offers are: May prevent vision problems Believed to contribute to lessening the risk of heart disease Supports weight loss

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The information mentioned above is meant for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute to your Physician’s advice. It is highly recommended that the customer consults with a qualified healthcare professional to interpret test results