Flaxseed allergy is a rare though emerging allergen. Flaxseeds are consumed and added to cereals and cooked foods. It is also used for their laxative effect and it also has a high content of omega 3 fatty acids. Allergy to flaxseed has been rising partly probably due to its increased consumption over the last few years.
Although rare, several cases of anaphylaxis have been reported due to flaxseed. The storage proteins are usually responsible for most cases of flaxseed allergy. This is a 2s Seed storage albumin. These types of proteins are found in many seeds and nuts.
Cross reactivity between flaxseeds and other seeds (peanut, soybean, rapeseed, lupine, and wheat) have been described. With infrequent and/or new foods being eaten more, seed allergy, specifically flaxseed allergy should be considered in the diagnosis of food allergy.
Anaphylaxis reactions to flaxseed, or any other food for that matter, can cause hives, itchy skin, swelling, redness, vomiting, or in severe cases throat closure.
Flaxseed is harvested from a plant called Linum usitatissimum, it is in the Linaceae family of plants.
To diagnose flaxseed allergy, your allergist can do skin prick testing, or send you to the lab to check your IgE to Flaxseed. Common labs that can perform this test are Quest and Labcorp. Under Labcorp Linseed is tested, Lin u 1.
In cases of anaphylaxis to flaxseed, the first line treatment is epinephrine. There are many different forms of epinephrine delivery systems, the most common ones are Epipen and Auvi-Q.
If you do have a case of anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately and administer epinephrine. If the cause of the anaphylaxis is unknown, see an allergist who can help figure out the cause of the reaction. With a careful history and targeted lab or skin testing the cause of the reaction can hopefully be found. There are sometimes cases of idiopathic anaphylaxis where there is no specific cause of these reactions.