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Key Allergens

Peanuts (also known as groundnuts and monkey nuts) are legumes rather than tree nuts and grow underground. They are in the Fabaceae family of plants which also includes peas, lentils, lupin, soya and other beans, pulses and legumes.

There are 18 allergens recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) associated with peanut allergy.

These allergens include 2S seed storage proteins, commonly found in other nuts, seeds and legumes. Peanuts also contain 7S seed stoage proteins, also known as vicilin and 11S seed storage proteins, also known as legumin, which are also found in many seeds and legumes.

Peanuts also contain plant profilin proteins, Lipid Transfer Proteins (LTP) and Bet v 1 proteins which are associated with Pollen Food Syndrome. These proteins are all considered to be panallergens - having the potential to cause allergic reactions across multiple groups of foods.

Plant defensin proteins have been identified in peanuts and have the potential to cause food allergy. They are peptides in the plant used to defend against fungal attack.

More recently there is interest in oleosin proteins, which are found in the oils of certain nuts and seeds and are not denatured by heating. There are 4 oleosin proteins in peanuts which have been shown to cause allergic reactions.

Food Intolerances

Food is low in FODMAP Food is high in salicylates Food is high in lectins

Peanuts 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.

Peanuts 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.

Peanuts contain high amounts of lectins. Lectins are another possible cause of food intolerance. Usually cooking foods with lectins makes them more digestible and can reduce the symptoms of food intolerance, peanut lectins however are heat stable, so their effect is not reduced by cooking.

You can read more about Food Intolerances on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.

Associated Syndromes

Peanut allergy is often linked to LTP Syndrome, where similarly shaped proteins in other plants resemble those in almonds and elicit an allergic reaction.

You may have Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome if you suffer from peanut allergy with oral allergy symptoms to 3 or more of the foods mentioned in the cross reactivity section.

Allergy to peanut is sometimes linked to Celery-Mugwort-Spice Syndrome as the sensitising allergen is a profilin protein called Art v 4, these proteins are also sometimes also called Bet v 2 proteins.

There is a link between peanuts and Latex Food Syndrome. The plant involved in latex allergy Hevea brasiliensis, the rubber tree plant, has an allergen called Hev b 8 which is a profilin protein. Those very sensitised to latex may have a contact allergic reaction from other foods or plants containing profilin proteins, there is less evidence of this than sensitisation to other latex linked proteins like hevein and chitinases.

Cross Reactivity

Common foods involved in LTP allergy include kiwi, strawberries, sunflower seeds, walnut, apple, mulberry, banana, pea, apricot, cherry, plum, almond, peach pomegranate, raspberry, tomato, grape, celery, peanut, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, chestnut, lemon, tangerine, orange, hazelnut, lettuce, lentils, lupin, green bean, pear, mustard, wheat and maize.

Other fruits containing profilins include celery, lychee, soyabeans, walnut, lupin, almonds, mustard, hazelnut, kiwi, pineapple, chilli, melon, orange, strawberry, apple, banana, aubergine (eggplant), peach, pear, tomato, dates, cherry, carrot, barley and wheat. Allergic reactions to some of these foods may be considered a marker of profilin hypersensitivity.

Other food containing 2S albumin seed storage proteins are cashews, peanuts, almonds, mustard seed, rapeseed, turnip, chickpeas, hazelnuts, pistachio, buckwheat, soya beans, sunflower seeds, walnuts, kiwi, castor beans and sesame seeds.

Other foods containing 7S seed storage proteins not mentioned in the list above are coconut, lupin, lentils, macadamia nuts and peas.

Almonds are the only other tree nut which contain 11S seed storage proteins, but not 7S or 2S proteins.

Other oleosin proteins are found in hazelnuts, buckwheat, palm oil and sesame seeds.

Defensin proteins are found as food allergens in celery, peanuts, mango, sunflower seeds and horse chestnuts and as pollen allergens in soya, woodworm and mugwort.

You can download a Peanut 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 peanuts.

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



Recurrent acute pancreatitis in a patient with peanut allergy, 2024

Allergen Encyclopedia - Peanuts

Science Direct - Peanut Allergy

DermNet NZ - Peanut

Allergy UK - Peanut Allergy

FARE - Peanut Allergy

ACAAI - Peanut Allergies

Anaphylaxis Campaign - Peanut Allergy

Allergy information for: Peanut; ground nuts; monkey nuts (Arachis hypogea)

Healthline - FODMAP Foods

ATP Science - Salicylate Food List

Articles and Journals

Interplay of Walnut and Peanut Allergies in Pediatric Anaphylaxis: Prevalence, Cross-Reactivity, and Therapeutic Implications, 2024

Tough Nut to Crack: Transplant-acquired Food Allergy in an Adult Liver Recipient, 2023

Peeling the Peanut. Characterizing Peanut Allergy with the new Food Allergy Severity Score, 2023

Incorporating genetics in identifying peanut allergy risk and tailoring allergen immunotherapy: A perspective on the genetic findings from the LEAP trial, 2023

Early introduction of peanut reduces peanut allergy across risk groups in pooled and causal inference analyses, 2023

Peanut, soy and emerging legume allergy in Canada, 2022

Association Between Earlier Introduction of Peanut and Prevalence of Peanut Allergy in Infants in Australia, 2022

Organ-specific symptom patterns during oral food challenge in children with peanut and tree nut allergy, 2022

Multi-scale study of the oral and gut environments in children with high and low threshold peanut allergy, 2022

Evaluating Knowledge and Implementation of Early Peanut Introduction Guidelines: A Cross-sectional Survey, 2022

Oral desensitization therapy for peanut allergy induces dynamic changes in peanut-specific immune responses, 2022

Life-threatening anaphylaxis to peanut — impossible to predict? 2022

Effect of Processing on the Structure and Allergenicity of Peanut Allergen Ara h 2 Roasted in a Matrix, 2022

Fatal anaphylaxis due to peanut exposure from oral intercourse, 2021

High-resolution epitope mapping by AllerScan reveals relationships between IgE and IgG repertoires during peanut oral immunotherapy, 2021

Current developments in the treatment of peanut allergy, 2021

Dietary Lectins: Gastrointestinal and Immune Effects, 2020

Peanut oleosins associated with severe peanut allergy-importance of lipophilic allergens for comprehensive allergy diagnostics, 2017

Development of a novel strategy to isolate lipophilic allergens (oleosins) from peanuts, 2015

Peanut defensins: Novel allergens isolated from lipophilic peanut extract, 2015

Detection and structural characterization of natural Ara h 7, the third peanut allergen of the 2S albumin family, 2010

Lipid transfer protein (Ara h 9) as a new peanut allergen relevant for a Mediterranean allergic population, 2009

Ara h 8, a Bet v 1-homologous allergen from peanut, is a major allergen in patients with combined birch pollen and peanut allergy, 2004

Isolation and characterization of two complete Ara h 2 isoforms cDNA, 2003

Molecular cloning and epitope analysis of the peanut allergen Ara h 3, 1999

Selective cloning of peanut allergens, including profilin and 2S albumins, by phage display technology, 1999

Recombinant peanut allergen Ara h I expression and IgE binding in patients with peanut hypersensitivity, 1995

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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