Coconuts are part of the Aracaceae family of plants and are more similar to palm plants, banana and pineapple than they are to tree nuts.
Coc n 1 is a major allergen associated with allergy to coconut - it is classified as an inhalent allergen rather than an ingested food allergen. It is a protein which is vicilin like, these types of proteins are usually found in nuts, seeds and legumes.
There is some evidence that coconut can cause contact dermatitis rashes - this is due to cocamide diethanolamine (Cocamide DEA). These are fatty acids found in coconut which are used in many cosmetic products. If sensitised to cocamide DEA you will still be able to eat the fruit from a coconut without any reactions.
Coconut allergy is most commonly associated with contact urticaria (hives or welts) and atopic dermatitis.
Vicilin-like proteins are usually classified as food proteins, other foods containing a similarly shaped protein are peanuts, cashews, pecan, hazelnut, walnut, pistachio, soya beans, sesame seeds, buckwheat and mung beans.
Allergen Encyclopedia - Coconut
DermNet NZ - Coconut Diethanolamide Allergy
Anaphylaxis Campaign - Coconut
Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology & Allergy - Coconut
Allergy information for: Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
Articles and Journals
Anaphylaxis and allergy to coconut: An Australian pediatric case series, 2020
Coconut Allergy Revisited, 2017
Association of tree nut and coconut sensitizations, 2016
Allergic contact dermatitis caused by cocamide diethanolamine, 2016
Mining Novel Allergens from Coconut Pollen Employing Manual De Novo Sequencing and Homology-Driven Proteomics, 2015
Occupational allergic contact dermatitis caused by coconut fatty acids diethanolamide, 2014
Cross-reactivity between coconut and hazelnut proteins in a patient with coconut anaphylaxis, 2004
Systemic allergic reaction to coconut (Cocos nucifera) in 2 subjects with hypersensitivity to tree nut and demonstration of cross-reactivity to legumin-like seed storage proteins: new coconut and walnut food allergens, 1999
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