This is a simplified description of oleosin 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 oleosin proteins?
Oleosin proteins are a lesser known allergenic protein found in plants. The proteins are involved in preventing the build up of oil molecules and may have a role in lipid store degradation during plant germination.
Oleosin proteins have been shown to maintain their shape after thermal processing, for example, studies have shown that roasted peanuts (in their shell) had more allergenic oleosin proteins than peanuts which were not heated.
Which foods contain oleosin proteins?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises 4 foods as containing oleosin proteins known to cause allergic reactions after consumption of food.
, palm oil
, perilla seeds
and sesame seeds
all contain oleosin proteins.
What symptoms do they cause?
Allergy to foods containing oleosin proteins 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 oleosin 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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