Key Allergens

Bananas are in the Musaceae family of plants which includes plantains.

Allergic reactions from eating bananas are thought to be mainly caused by chitinase, which is a plant derived enzyme made by the plant and naturally acts as a defence against fungal attacks.

Mus a 1 is a profilin protein. These are plant panallergens with the potential to cause allergic reactions over large groups of seemingly unrelated groups of foods.

Mus a 2 is the chitinase protein, these are proteins associated with latex allergy.

Mus a 3 is a Lipid Transfer Protein. Again this is a panallergen which can cause allergic reactions over groups of foods. Mus a 4 is a thaumatin-like protein, this is made by plants to inhibit fungal growth.

Food Intolerances

Food is low in FODMAP Food is low in salicylates

Banana is a low FODMAP food. FODMAP stands for Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.

Bananas are low in Salicylates, so has the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.

You can read more about Food Intolerances on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.

Associated Syndromes

Banana allergy is most often seen in conjunction with allergies to other foods, either presenting as Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome or Latex Food Syndrome.

In Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome the body mistakes the shape of a protein that it is already sensitive to (a plant pollen) to a similarly shaped protein in certain fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and nuts.

Latex Food Syndrome is caused by the body confusing the proteins it encounters in food to that of latex proteins to which it is already sensitised.

You may have LTP Syndrome if you react to multiple foods in the cross reactivity section.

Allergy to banana is sometimes linked to Celery-Mugwort-Spice Syndrome as the sensitising allergen is a profilin protein called Art v 4, these proteins are also sometimes also called Bet v 2 proteins.

There is a link between banana and Latex Food Syndrome. The plant involved in latex allergy Hevea brasiliensis, the rubber tree plant, has an allergen called Hev b 8 which is a profilin protein. Those very sensitised to latex may have a contact allergic reaction from other foods or plants containing profilin proteins, there is less evidence of this than sensitisation to other latex linked proteins like hevein and chitinases.

Cross Reactivity

Those with a sensitivity to chitinase may have linked allergies to foods which contain high levels of chitinase, like avocado, chestnuts, corn (maize), kiwi, papaya, pomegranate and tomatoes.

If sensitised to ragweed pollen you may also have problems with melon, courgette, cucumber, and squash.

45% of latex allergy sufferers are also allergic to bananas.

Other foods containing thaumatin proteins are kiwi, chilli, peppers, apple, banana, cherry and peach.

If sensitised to LTP proteins you may also react to kiwi, strawberries, sunflower seeds, walnut, apple, mulberry, banana, pea, apricot, cherry, plum, almond, peach pomegranate, raspberry, tomato, grape, celery, peanut, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, chestnut, lemon, tangerine, orange, hazelnut, lettuce, lentils, lupin, green bean, pear, mustard, wheat and maize.

Banana is broadly linked to other fruit profilin allergies. Allergy to celery, peanut, lychee, soyabeans, walnut, lupin, almonds, mustard, hazelnut, kiwi, pineapple, chilli, melon, orange, strawberry, apple, banana, aubergine (eggplant), peach, pear, tomato, dates, cherry, carrot, barley and wheat. Allergic reactions to some of these foods may be considered a marker of profilin hypersensitivity.



Healthline - Banana Allergy

Allergy information for: Banana (Musa acuminata; Musa balbisiana(hybrid))

Thermofisher Allergen Encyclopedia - Banana

Healthline - FODMAP Foods

ATP Science - Salicylate Foods

Articles and Journals

Identification of S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine hydrolase from banana fruit as a novel plant panallergen, 2024

Not Just a Banana: The Extent of Fruit Cross-Reactivity and Reaction Severity in Adults with Banana Allergy, 2023

Oral Allergy Syndrome Preceding Anaphylaxis is the Most Common Phenotype in 133 Thai Adults with IgE-Mediated Banana Allergy, 2023

A Heart Gone Bananas: Allergy-Induced Coronary Vasospasm due to Banana (Kounis Syndrome), 2023

Analysis of Protein Sequence Identity, Binding Sites, and 3D Structures Identifies Eight Pollen Species and Ten Fruit Species with High Risk of Cross-Reactive Allergies, 2022

Prevalence and Patterns of Latex Glove Allergy among Healthcare Workers in a Tertiary Care Center In South India - A Cross-Sectional Study, 2022

Comprehensive Review on Banana Fruit Allergy: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, Management, and Potential Modification of Allergens through Food Processing, 2022

Allergen Tests of Fruit Sensitization Involving Children with Allergic Diseases, 2022

Identification of a thaumatin-like protein as a new allergen in persimmon (Diospyros kaki) with cross-reactivity with banana (Musa acuminata), 2021

Fruit-Induced Anaphylaxis: Clinical Presentation and Management, 2021

The Clinical Spectrum of Reactions Due to Banana Allergy, 2020

Banana anaphylaxis in Thailand: case series, 2020

Heterogeneity of banana allergy: characterization of allergens in banana-allergic patients, 2002

Class I chitinases as potential panallergens involved in the latex-fruit syndrome, 1999

Latex allergy: clinical features and cross-reactivity with fruits, 1994

Banana allergy in patients with immediate-type hypersensitivity to natural rubber latex: Characterization of cross-reacting antibodies and allergens, 1993

Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful. If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.

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