Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between food hypersensitivity and CU in 350 Korean participants.
Methods: Patients with CU were assessed for a previous history of food hypersensitivity that caused symptoms of CU. Blood samples were taken from the patients to measure food allergen-specific IgE. Based on history and laboratory results, open oral food challenge (OFC) tests were performed.
Results: Of 350 participants, 46 (13.1%) claimed to have experienced previous food hypersensitivity. Pork (n=16) were the main foods mentioned, followed by beef (n=7), shrimp (n=6) and mackerel (n=6). We found that 73 participants (20.8%) had elevated levels of food-specific IgE, with pork (n=30), wheat (n=25), and beef (n=23) being the most common. However, when the open OFC tests were conducted in 102 participants with self-reported food hypersensitivity or raised levels of food-specific IgE, only four participants showed a positive reaction to pork.
Conclusions: Although some participants claimed to have a history of CU related to food intake, when an open OFC test was conducted, few of them had positive results. We therefore conclude that food allergy is an uncommon cause of chronic CU .