Oaks are large trees in the Fagaceae
family of plants. Other plants in this family include beech and chestnut trees.
Most oak species have one known allergen, this is a Bet v 1-like protein.
This means that the pollen from oak trees are similar in shape to those of birch trees, the most common type of pollen allergen that people react to. These proteins are sometimes also called PR-10 as they are used by the plant in pathogenesis (defence against disease).
The Sawtooth Oak tree, which is found most commonly in Asia also contains an airway profilin
protein. These proteins are panallergens which can cause allergic reactions across many different species of plants.
Oak pollen is most prevalent in the UK between April and June, peaking in April. This varies in different countries. It is considered to have moderate allergenicity.
You will see the Bet v 1 allergen mentioned in many pages on this website as it is a protein that has a common shape. If you are allergic to birch pollen, particularly the Bet v 1 protein then you can suffer oral allergy type symptoms to other fruits, nuts, herbs, spices and vegetables if they are similarly shaped. This is known as Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome
. You may be suffering from this syndrome if you suffer from oral allergy symptoms to 3 or more of the foods mentioned in cross reactivity section.
An allergy to oak pollen is also strongly associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hayfever) as well as asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and atopic dermatitis.
Other tree pollens with Bet v 1 like proteins are alder, hazel, birch and hornbeam.
Food containing Bet v 1 proteins include almond, aniseed, apple, apricot, carrot, celery, cherry, chestnut, dill, soya, fenugreek, fig, hazelnut, jackfruit, kiwi, mango, melon, mung beans, parsley, parsnip, peach, peanut, pear, persimmon, plum, poppy seeds, raspberry, strawberry, tomato and walnuts.
Profilin allergens can be considered both pollen allergens and food allergens. Other plant pollens containing profilin are ragweed, mugwort, bermuda grass, sunflower, olive, rice, timothy grass, poplar, mesquite and maize. Foods containing profilin proteins are almond, aniseed, apple, aubergine, banana, barley, beetroot, peppers, carrot, celery, cherry, coriander, corn, courgette, cucumber, cumin, date, soya, fennel, fig, hazelnut, kiwi, lychee, mango, melon, mustard onion, orange, parsley, parsnip, peach, peanut, pear, persimmon, pineapple, plum, poppy seed, quinoa, rice, strawberry, sunflower seeds, tomato, walnut, wheat and lupin. There is a lot of cross over between profilin and Bet v 1 protein foods.
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