This is a simplified description of Lipid Transfer Proteins – there are more resources available at the bottom of the page for further reading for those who are interested in knowing more.
What are Lipid Transfer Proteins?
Lipid Transfer Proteins, also commonly called "LTPs", are one of the most frequently studied food allergens.
LTP function in plants is to move lipid molecules to develop and maintain the internal and external structures of the plant.
LTPs have been shown to be heat stable, but can sometimes be affected by intense heating. They are most notable for their cross reactivity, they have the potential to cause allergic reactions across large groups of foods. When a person is allergic to many foods containing LTPs they can be said to have LTP Syndrome
What are Non-Specific LTPs?
When LTPs are referred to as 'non-specific", it means the proteins are not specialised in the lipid type they carry throughout the plant.
Conversely, when LTPs are described as "specific", it means they are specialised proteins which only carry one type of lipid between plant organelles.
Which foods contain lipid transfer proteins?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises 35 foods as containing lipid transfer proteins known to cause allergic reactions after consumption of food.
, sunflower seeds
, mustard seeds
, durum wheat
, green beans
all contain lipid transfer proteins.
Other studies show that lipid transfer proteins have been food in other foods - visit the individual pages to find specific resources. LTPs have also been found in onion
, goji berry
, runner beans, butter beans
You can download a Lipid Transfer Protein Factsheet from the Allergy Resources Ko-fi Shop
for just $0.50 (£0.40 or €0.45). This has up to date information on which foods contain Lipid Transfer Proteins and what to avoid if you think you have LTP Syndrome.
This food list above is not exhaustive, for the most up to date information visit the Cross Reactivity Tool.
Which pollens contain lipid transfer proteins?
Pollen allergens associated with lipid transfer proteins including wormwood, mugwort
and plane trees.
What symptoms do they cause?
Allergy to foods containing LTPs have a wide range of symptoms and severity including urticaria (hives or welts), angioedema (swelling under the skin), nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting or breathlessness and anaphylactic shock.
What is the importance of knowing whether a reaction is to lipid transfer proteins or other allergens?
Multiple allergies are becoming more common and this often leads people to impose a strict restrictive diet on themselves. This can lead to a poor diet lacking in essential nutrients and frustration over a lack of eating options. Knowing which foods are the most likely to be causing your reactions can bring more options back into your diet.
This is why food diaries continue to be an important tool in diagnosis of your allergies – noting the times reactions took place and what medications were taken are a necessary starting point for a proper diagnosis.
There is more information on food diaries HERE
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