Key Allergens

Chia seeds are from the Salvia hispanica plant. This plant is in the Lamiaceae family which contains lots of edible herbs such as mint and sage.

With the rise of veganism in Western countries the use of chia seeds has increased as they are an excellent replacement for eggs as they act as a thickening agent.

Chia seeds contain 7S seed storage proteins and 11S seed storage proteins, which are protein found in lots of other nuts and seeds. There is however very limited information or clinical evidence on cross reactivity to show that these seeds should be avoided by nut and seed allergy sufferers.

There are only 2 case studies of chia seed causing severe allergic reaction, which may indicate the likelihood that cross reactivity between chia seeds and other seeds and nuts is actually very low.

Food Intolerances

Food is low in FODMAP Food is modererate in salicylates Food is moderate in lectins

In normal quantities chia seeds are 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.

Chia seeds are moderate in salicylates. Salicylates have the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.

Chia contains a moderate amount of lectins, another cause of food intolerance. Cooking foods with lectins makes them more digestible and can reduce the symptoms of food intolerance.

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

Associated Syndromes

There are no associated allergic syndromes with chia seed allergy.

Cross Reactivity

Other foods containing 7S proteins are peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pecan, coconut, buckwheat, walnut, lentils, macadamia nuts, peas, mung beans, soya, lupin and sesame seeds.

Other foods containing 11S proteins are kiwi, cashew, pecan, macadamia nuts, peanuts, brazil nut, hazelnut, pumpkin, soyabean, walnut, pistachio, almond, sesame seeds and mustard seeds.

Salvia hispanica is a plant in the Lamiaceae family. Other plants in this family are oregano, thyme, sage, basil, lavender, rosemary, marjoram and mint.

These food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.



Healthline - Does Eating Too Many Chia Seeds Cause Side Effects?

Chia seed allergy and cross reactivity

FODMAPedia - Chia Seeds

Articles and Journals

Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) Seeds: Nutritional composition and biomedical applications, 2024

Safety of the extension of use of partially defatted chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) powder with a high fibre content as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283, 2023

Phytochemical profile, nutritional composition, and therapeutic potentials of chia seeds: A concise review, 2023

Immediate Hypersensitivity Reactions to Chia Seed Ingestion, a Novel Food Allergy, 2023

The rising status of edible seeds in lifestyle related diseases: A review, 2022

Lectin Activity in Commonly Consumed Plant-Based Foods: Calling for Method Harmonization and Risk Assessment, 2021

Antibody Cross-Reactivity between Proteins of Chia Seed (Salvia hispanica L.) and Other Food Allergens, 2019

Safety of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) as a novel food for extended uses pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283, 2019

Dermatitis Caused by Ingestion of Chia Seeds, 2018

Allergen Characterization of Chia Seeds (Salvia hispanica), a New Allergenic Food, 2015

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