Anaphylaxis By Flaxseed

January 1, 2013 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Anaphylaxis By Flaxseed

Year: 2013
Authors: Alvarez-Perea, A. Alzate, D.P. Maldonado, A.D. Baeza, M.L.
Publication Name: J Invest Allergol Clin Immunol
Publication Details: Volume 23; Number 6; Pages 435-447


Flax or linseed (Linum usitatissimum) belongs to the  Linaceae family. It is native to the region stretching from the Mediterranean coast to India, and has been used in the production of textiles since ancient times; it is also used to extract vegetable oil and produce flour. Flaxseed derivatives can be also been found in bakery products and animal feed (birds, dogs, cats, horses, etc). Finally, in recent years, the use of flaxseed has increased dramatically in the so-called alternative medicine industry, mainly because of its laxative properties.  A 61-year-old man reported an allergic reaction to flaxseed. Out of curiosity, he had ingested two linum seeds and had immediately experienced oral pruritus, vomiting, persistent abdominal cramps, dyspnea, and facial angioedema. He was treated with methylprednisolone and dexchlorpheniramine in the emergency room. A prick-to-prick test with flaxseed yielded positive results. Control tests performed in 3 atopic individuals produced no irritant effects. Flaxseed has rarely been reported as a sensitizer. Since 1930, only 5 cases have been reported, and 2 of these have been in the last 10 years. Most of the cases reported involved anaphylaxis. The positive prick-to-prick test and the positive IgE ELISA and immunoblot results confirmed that the patient experienced IgE-mediated anaphylaxis caused by flaxseed allergy. There was no evidence of cross reactivity to pollens or sensitization to other pan allergens. Prior to the episode, the patient had had minor symptoms following contact with other sources of flaxseed (bird feed and multigrain bread). The authors suggest that given the growing use of this seed in many industries, including food and alternative medicine, an increase in allergic reactions is to be expected and flaxseed should be considered in the investigation of patients with suspected allergic reactions to cereals and other grains. (Summary of case study)


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