PSYLLIUM SEED ALLERGY
Psyllium seeds (or Ispaghula) are derived from plants in the Plantaginaceae
family of plants. Other plants in this family include English Plantain (also called Ribwort).
Psyllium seeds are used in medicines as a remedy for constipation, diarrhoea and to reduce cholesterol. They are used in foods as a thickener and in gluten free foods as a binding agent.
Allergic reactions to psyllium husk are more common in those who pick and process the plant.
Psyllium is a low FODMAP food when eaten in small quantities. FODMAP
stands for F
olyols. 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.
Psyllium is a food low in salicylates
. Salicylates have the potential to cause worsening of asthma, swelling, itching and hives as well as food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.
Psyllium is lectin
free. This is 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.
Psyllium husk or seeds are currently associated with allergic rhinitis. There are multiple studies showing that ground psyllium used in baking or as a laxative can have an effect on the workers that use them without them being ingested. These studies are linked at the bottom of the page.
Psyllium is closely related to Ribwort/English Plantain, so if you are allergic to psyllium you may also be allergic to the pollen of this weed.
Note these food lists are not exhaustive, you can find the most up to date information on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
Allergen Encyclopedia - Psyllium
Science Direct - Psyllium Seed Husks
Healthline - Psyllium (Plantago ovata, Plantago isphagula)
Articles and Journals
Vegan diet—alternative protein sources as potential allergy risk, 2023
Anaphylactic Shock Due to Psyllium (Plantago ovate Seed) Allergy: A Case Report, 2022
Occupational inhalant allergy in food handling occupations, 2022
Occupational IgE-mediated psyllium allergy in contemporary gluten-free and vegan baking: A case of allergic rhinitis, 2021
Psyllium-associated anaphylaxis and death: a case report and review of the literature, 2003
Anaphylactic reactions to a psyllium-containing cereal, 1991
Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful.
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