Am I allergic to white fish?

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White fish basically refers to flat or round-shaped fishes with fins that thrive close to or on the bottom of lakes or seas that are white in color. Examples of white fish include halibut, cod, haddock, hake, bass, whiting, cat fish, flounder, perch and Pollock. It is important to note that white fish are considered as the most common types of fish that can instigate an allergic reaction among sensitive individuals. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if the individual develops breathing difficulties since this indicates a life-threatening reaction.

Immune reaction

The usual kinds of white fish that trigger an allergic reaction include tilapia, cod, Pollock, hake and cat fish. An allergic response to white fish can manifest via the immunoglobulin E-mediated response. The immune system perceives paravulbumin which is a muscle protein conserved in all fish species as a threat.

Allergy to white fish
The release of histamine into the GI tract can lead to nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The immune system starts to generate IgE antibodies that seek out and destroy these proteins. The antibodies also recruit and bind to the pro-inflammatory immune cells, mainly the mast cells and trigger the release of histamine and other immune mediators. This results to the signs and symptoms that manifest during an allergic reaction.

What are the symptoms of white fish allergy?

The indications of an allergic response to white fish usually manifest within a few minutes up to an hour after exposure to the allergen. Swelling, itchiness and reddening of the mouth, lips, throat and face are the primary symptoms that are followed by reddening and swelling of the skin as well as the manifestation of the itchy hives involved with a rash, usually eczema.

The release of histamine into the GI tract can lead to nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The swelling of the throat and the airways can result to bronchospasms, wheezing as well as increased resistance to airflow, difficulty breathing and chest tightness. In severe circumstances, a highly sensitive individual can go into a state of anaphylactic shock with symptoms of intense nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, a drop in the blood pressure, heart palpitations as well as loss of consciousness. It is vital to seek immediate medical care if the individual experiences breathing difficulties or there are signs of anaphylaxis.


The best way to avoid an allergic reaction to white fish is full avoidance of white fish and other fish-derived products. It is vital to carefully read the labels of all the foods to ensure that it does not contain white fish in any form.

Avoid seafood and Asian restaurants due to the high-risk for contamination. It is vital to avoid Caesar salad dressing, Worcestershire sauce, paella, caponata, gumbo, sushi, and oyster sauce as well as fish sauce and frito misto. If the individual experiences a severe allergic reaction previously, it is vital to consult a doctor if he/she can recommend an epinephrine auto-injector.

Important facts on white fish

Always bear in mind that white fish is the leanest type of fish and unlike the oily fish, these varieties of fish only have oil in their liver which makes them virtually fat-free. White fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that promote improved cardiovascular health and minimize the risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

White fish are also packed with B vitamins including pyridoxine and niacin. They also contain high amounts of minerals such as selenium, iodine, phosphorus and iron. Remember that selenium and iron plays a vital role in maintaining overall health of the immune system, thyroid function as well as preventing infection.

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