I recently attended an online webinar entitled “When plants and allergies collide”, organised by the Anaphylaxis Campaign with Dr Isabel Skypala of the Royal Bromsgrove Hospital presenting.
To say it was an eye opener would be an understatement. I know all about allergies and I thought I knew quite a bit about Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) but I’d never even heard of Lipid Transfer Protein (LTP) allergies.
I’m hoping they will make the video of this seminar available to watch back so fingers crossed. If they do I will share the link here.
What is an allergy?
An allergy happens when a person has become sensitised to the protein of a certain food e.g. nuts, milk, wheat. There are 14 allergens listed in the UK that must be labelled on shop bought food and most people understand what allergies are. They can be mild or they can be life threatening. People with anaphylactic reactions to allergens carry adrenaline auto injectors.
We can all get our heads around that. We understand allergies even if we don’t know why the body reacts to these perfectly harmless foods.
What is Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)?
Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Food Syndrome occurs when a person is sensitised to pollens e.g. birch and then become sensitive to certain foods which the body confuses with the pollen as they have similar protein make up. This can apply for many fruits, nuts and vegetables and causes usually mild reactions around the mouth, lips and contact allergy reactions on the skin. It does not usually result in an anaphylactic reaction but in rare cases people can have very serious swelling of the throat and breathing difficulties, and will be prescribed an adrenaline auto injector.
What is Lipid Transfer Protein LPT?
Lipid Transfer Proteins (LTPs) are found in plants and foods that contain plants. Lipid Transfer Protein Syndrome is an allergy affecting people who have become sensitised to LTPs. They may thus react to vegetables, fruits, nuts and/or cereals. It is not known how many people have this allergy and it can be very confusing working out which related foods a person might react to. It can also be very serious and some people can have anaphylactic reactions. Testing for allergies would come back negative. There are sophisticated tests that can be done for LTP allergy but these are not readily available or well understood.
So how on earth do you work out what it is you have?
Yes. Yes I am!
Visit the Anaphylaxis Campaign website to read their Lipid Transfer Protein allergy handout to find out more.
I’m fascinated by all this and feel it could be the reason so many people slip through the cracks, knowing something is wrong but not being able to get a diagnosis.
Are you confused about whether you have an allergy, an intolerance, oral allergy syndrome or a lipid protein transfer allergy?