10 Rare Allergies

When people think about food allergies, most are aware of the big 8, the foods that must be labelled on food labels and which are responsible for the most amount of food allergies. But a person can be allergic to almost any type of food and here we explore some of the rarer allergies that have been reported.

Picture of a cup of coffee

Many a morning ritual is not completed without a cup of tea or coffee and with the growth of coffee shops across the globe, these beverages have been integrated into modern culture. One of the main ingredients however, has been reported as the trigger of allergic reactions. Although caffeine is usually associated to have anti-allergic effects by some, an allergy to caffeine has been documented albeit extremely rare, with only several reports reported. In order to read more, check out a caffeine allergy case report here.

Picture of a cabbage

Next on our list is cabbage, a vegetable well known for providing many nutritional benefits, such as a reliable source of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. An allergy to cabbage again is extremely rare, with one of the major allergens identified as Bra o 3, a lipid transfer protein. As with the case with a sensitivity to a lipid transfer protein, some people with a cabbage allergy with also be sensitive to other lipid transfer proteins, such as the peach allergen Pru p 3. To find out more you can view the abstract of a study looking into cabbage allergy and its cross reactivity here.

Picture of an orange

Like cabbages, oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and are valuable for a whole host of other vitamin content, however a rare associated allergy is an orange pip allergy. An orange pip allergy can take on different forms, with some people allergic to just the pips, and some people allergic to the whole contents of the orange. An abstract to find out more about cases of people with orange pip allergy can be found here.

Picture of peppermint

Peppermint has a variety of uses, and found in a range of products from toothpastes and chewing gums to tea and seasonings. It is also used widely in confectionery and skin care products. Similar to the rest of the list, an allergy to peppermint is very rare, and in some cases the affected person has not been sensitive to peppermint for the majority of their life. As peppermint in incorporated into such a wide range of products, avoidance is difficult. More information through a case study of peppermint allergy can be found here.

Picture of beer

As the worlds favourite alcoholic drink, beer can be found in most regions around the world. In contrast, an allergy to beer is very rare. In similarity with the case of cabbage, lipid transfer proteins are an important allergen found in beer, and therefore people with beer allergy may be sensitive to other major lipid transfer allergens, and cross react with foods such as peach. A case study was conducted to identify beer allergy cross reactivity.

Picture of balloons

This allergy, latex-fruit syndrome, describes a relationship between latex allergy and cross reactivity with a number of fruits, including banana, avocado and grape. A latex allergy has been described as an occupational disease within the medical field as historically there has been large exposure through the use of latex gloves. The latex-fruit syndrome usually results in symptoms affecting the mouth such as itchiness and the GI tract such as abdominal discomfort, after consumption of the associated fruits, however anaphylaxis has rarely been reported. You can read more in a study exploring the latex-fruit syndrome.

A picture of cannabis

As some regions look into the issue of legalising cannabis, it is interesting to discover that cannabis allergy does exist in rare cases. Although mild reactions such as itchiness and sneezing are common symptoms in cannabis allergic reactions, cases of anaphylaxis have very rarely been reported. Cannabis allergy can also be associated with occupation, as hemp workers have been found to be more sensitised to cannabis than the general population and there have even been reports of police officers who have developed a cannabis sensitisation. More information can be found out by reading a study about cannabis allergy.

Picture of honey

While an allergy to honey is rare, unfortunately serious reactions such as anaphylaxis in honey allergic individuals is not. What is also troublesome for people with a honey allergy is the fact that honey can be found in a wide range of foods, from confectionery to cosmetics. In addition to foods, people with a honey allergy can also be sensitive to honeybee venom. More information can be found in this article about honey allergy.

Picture of Saffron plant

Saffron is an expensive spice used for taste and colouring in a range of foods from soups to cakes, and like the rest of the foods on this list it can also be the cause of food allergy. The difficulty in diagnosing a saffron allergy lies in its rarity and inclusion in many different foods. To read more about saffron allergy, check out this case report of anaphylaxis caused by saffron.

Picture of a tick

The last rare allergy covered in this article is tick induced allergies, which includes reactions to tick bites as well as allergy to mammalian meat. People with this allergy are frequently sensitised to the α-Gal protein, and developing mammalian meat allergy following a tick bite is most commonly seen in Australia and in the South East of the USA, although cases have been reported world wide. To read up more check out the review paper on tick bite allergy and the relationship with mammalian meat allergy.