Pumpkins are a vegetable in the Cucurbitaceae
family of plants. Other plants in this family include courgettes (zucchini), cucumbers, melons, watermelons and marrow.
There are 2 allergenic proteins found in pumpkins, Cuc ma 4 and Cuc ma 5. The first is an 11S seed storage protein
and the second is a 2S seed storage protein
Pumpkins are high in histamine, so should be avoided if you are on a low histamine diet.
Pumpkin seeds contain 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.
Pumpkins are 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.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
Pumpkins are not currently associated with any allergic syndromes, but are sometimes linked to carotenoderma, which is a skin condition causing orange skin pigmentation. This is due to overeating foods high in beta carotene like pumpkins, carrots, sweet potato and mango.
Other food containing 2S albumin seed storage proteins are cashews, peanuts, mustard seed, rapeseed, turnip, chickpeas, hazelnuts, pistachio, buckwheat, soya beans, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, walnuts, kiwi, castor beans and sesame seeds.
There is a lot of cross reactivity between 2S and 11S seed storage proteins, foods containing 11S seed storage proteins are almonds and macadamia nuts.
These food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
Science Direct - Pumpkins
Allergen Encyclopedia - Pumpkin
DermNet NZ - Carotenoderma
Allergy information for: Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima)
Anaphylaxis Campaign - Allergy to Vegetables
Histamine Food List
ATP Science - Salicylate Food List
Articles and Journals
Characteristics of tree nut, peanut, and seed consumption in the eastern Mediterranean region, 2023
The rising status of edible seeds in lifestyle related diseases: A review, 2022
Anaphylaxis after consumption of pumpkin seeds in a 2-y-old child tolerant to its pulp: A case study, 2021
2S albumins and 11S globulins, two storage proteins involved in pumpkin seeds allergy, 2020
Anaphylaxis Secondary to Ingestion of Pumpkin Seeds in a Child: A Case Report, 2019
Allergy to Pumpkin Seeds, 2017
Hypersensitivities to sesame and other common edible seeds, 2016
2S Albumin Storage Proteins: What Makes them Food Allergens?, 2008
Allergy to pumpkin and cross-reactivity to other Cucurbitaceae fruits, 2000
Food allergy to pumpkinseed--characterization of allergens, 1997
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