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Key Allergens

Sesame seeds are from a plant in the Pedaliaceae family of plants. Other plants in this family are flowers.

There are seven allergens associated with sesame allergy.

2 are 2S seed storage proteins, 1 is a 7S seed storage protein and 2 are 11S seed storage proteins. Seed storage proteins are generally linked to tree nut, peanut and seed allergies.

The last two allergens are oleosin proteins, which are found in parts of plants with a high oil content.

Many allergenic proteins are broken down with heat and processing, this is not the case with seed storage proteins or oleosins, so sesame oil which is made from ground and processed sesame seeds still has the potential to cause allergic reactions.

Sesame seeds and peanuts contain many of the same allergenic proteins, so cross reactivity is a possibility.

Food Intolerances

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

Sesame is 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.

Sesame seeds are low in salicylates, these have the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.

Although it is a seed and these are usually considered to contain lectins, sesame is actually low in them. Lectins are another cause of food intolerance.

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

Associated Syndromes

Sesame allergy is not currently linked to any allergic syndromes.

Cross Reactivity

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

There is a lot of cross reactivity between 2S and 11S seed storage proteins, the only other food containing 11S proteins not mentioned above is pumpkin.

Other foods containing vicilin-like (7S seed storage) proteins not mentioned in the list above are lupin, lentils, macadamia nuts, peas and mung bean.

Oleosin proteins are also found in peanuts, quinoa, palm oil, buckwheat and hazelnuts and are already mentioned as cross reacting with other proteins found in sesame.

You can download a Sesame Seed 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 sesame seeds.

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



Science Direct - Sesame

Allergen Encyclopedia - Sesame Seeds

Anaphylaxis Campaign - Sesame Allergy

FARE - Sesame Allergy

Allergy information for: Sesame (Sesamum indicum)

Healthline - FODMAP Foods

ATP Science - Salicylate Food List

Articles and Journals

The unique characteristics of sesame allergy and sesame labelling, 2024

Real-world safety and effectiveness analysis of low-dose preschool sesame oral immunotherapy, 2024

A Retrospective Review of Sesame Oral Food Challenges in a Pediatric Allergy Clinic, 2024

Sesame allergy in children: New insights into diagnosis and management, 2023

Assessment of the effect of glycation on the allergenicity of sesame proteins, 2023

Sesame Oral Desensitization Outcomes in a Pediatric Cohort, 2023

Open Sesame: shedding light on an emerging global allergen, 2022

Clinical experience with sesame oral immunotherapy and a quality-of-life assessment, 2022

Adverse Events and Labeling Issues Related to Suspected Sesame Allergy Reported in an Online Survey, 2021

Recurrent acute pancreatitis secondary to sesame allergy, 2021

Prevalence and Diagnosis of Sesame Allergy in Children with IgE-Mediated Food Allergy, 2020

Prevalence and Severity of Sesame Allergy in the United States, 2019

Sesame allergy: current perspectives, 2017

Hypersensitivities to sesame and other common edible seeds, 2016

A population-based study on peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, and sesame allergy prevalence in Canada, 2010

Identification of 2 new sesame seed allergens: Ses i 6 and Ses i 7, 2007

Identification of oleosins as major allergens in sesame seed allergic patients, 2006

Identification of sesame seed allergens by 2-dimensional proteomics and Edman sequencing: seed storage proteins as common food allergens, 2002

The major allergen of sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) is a 2S albumin, 2001

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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