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Key Allergens

Macadamia nuts are in the Proteaceae family of plants. This family of plants are usually found in the Southern hemisphere, mostly Australia and South America. Other plants in this family include chilean hazelnuts (also called avellano chileno).

There are two key food allergens found in macadamia nuts, Mac i 1 and Mac i 2.

Mac i 1 is a vicilin like protein used in storage in the plant. This is also sometimes described as a 7S seed storage protein.

Mac i 2 is a legumin like protein, this is similar to the protein casein in milk. This is also often described as an 11S seed storage protein.

Seed storage proteins are found in multiple types of nuts, seeds and legumes which can lead to cross reactivity.

Food Intolerances

Food is low in histamine Food is low in FODMAP Food is high in salicylates

Macadamia nuts are low in histamine, so are suitable for people who follow a low histamine diet.

Macadamia nuts are a low FODMAP food. FODMAP stands for Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. 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.

Macadamias are high 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.

Associated Syndromes

Macadamia nut allergy is not currently linked to any allergic syndromes.

Cross Reactivity

Other foods containing vicilin like proteins are cashew, coconut, pecan, hazelnuts, buckwheat, soyabean, walnut, lentil, lupin, peas, peanuts, pistachio, sesame and mung bean.

There is a lot of crossover between foods containing vicilin and those containing legumin proteins. Foods containing legumin but not vicilin proteins are almonds, brazil nuts, kiwi, pumpkin and mustard.

You can download a Tree Nut Allergy Factsheet from the Allergy Resources Ko-fi Shop for just $0.50 (£0.40 or €0.45). This has up to date information on which foods contain linked allergens and what foods to avoid if you think you have an allergy to tree nuts.

Please note that these food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.



Science Direct - Macadamia Nuts

Allergen Encyclopedia - Macadamia Nuts

What Are the Symptoms of a Nut Allergy?

Allergy UK - Quick Guide to Tree Nut Allergy

FARE - Tree Nut Allergy

AAAAI - Tree Nut Allergy

Anaphylaxis Campaign - Peanut and Tree nut allergies

Can You Be Allergic to Just One Type of Tree Nut?

Histamine Intolerance Food List

ATP Science - Salicylate Food List

Healthline - Low FODMAP Foods

Articles and Journals

Prevalence of tree nut allergy in Europe: A systematic review and meta-analysis, 2024

Expression, purification, characterization, and patient IgE reactivity of new macadamia nut iso-allergen, 2023

Recent advances in diagnosing and managing nut allergies with focus on hazelnuts, walnuts, and cashew nuts, 2022

Tolerance induction through non-avoidance to prevent persistent food allergy (TINA) in children and adults with peanut or tree nut allergy: rationale, study design and methods of a randomized controlled trial and observational cohort study, 2022

Identification of vicilin, legumin and antimicrobial peptide 2a as macadamia nut allergens, 2021

Macadamia nut allergy in children: Clinical features and cross-reactivity with walnut and hazelnut, 2021

IgE-binding to vicilin-like antimicrobial peptides is associated with systemic reactions to macadamia nut, 2020

Defining challenge-proven coexistent nut and sesame seed allergy: A prospective multicenter European study, 2020

Clinical features and allergen analysis in five children with macadamia nut allergy, 2018

Tree nut allergens, 2018

Current perspectives on tree nut allergy: a review, 2018

Allergy to macadamia nut, 2007

Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful. If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.

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