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Extra virgin coconut oil is used for cooking and to treat head lice, dry skin, irritable bowel syndrome and heart disease 1. If you are allergic to coconut oil, you may experience reactions that affect your digestive system, respiratory system and skin after eating it or coming in contact with it 1. If you have any reaction at all to coconut oil, consult your physician before using or consuming it again 1.
Although the proteins in coconut oil are safe for human consumption, if you are allergic, your body mistakes the proteins as dangerous invaders and reacts as if it's under attack 1. This reaction causes the production of immunoglobulin E antibodies, histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation in the soft tissues of your body. Most symptoms of an coconut oil allergy are related to inflammation and can cause life-threatening symptoms in some people 1. Inflammation can restrict your breathing, cause your blood pressure to drop and increase your heart rate. These symptoms can lead to death if not treated.
- Although the proteins in coconut oil are safe for human consumption, if you are allergic, your body mistakes the proteins as dangerous invaders and reacts as if it's under attack 1.
- These symptoms can lead to death if not treated.
Safflower Oil Allergy
An allergic reaction to extra virgin coconut oil that's been eaten will cause symptoms to develop in different parts of your body 13. You may become nauseous, vomit, develop diarrhea, become bloated and have excessive gas from a digestive reaction. Your skin can become inflamed and trigger hives or eczema within a few minutes of consuming the oil, whether eaten in food form or taken in a pill.
Extra virgin coconut oil is used topically for various conditions, such as lice, psoriasis and dry skin 1. Applying the oil directly to your skin can cause an allergic reaction called allergic contact dermatitis, which will only occur at the site of contact 3. Your skin may become itchy, red and inflamed, or may even blister. Treat this allergic reaction by washing away the oil with soap and water 3. Call your doctor and ask about using hydrocortisone -- a common anti-inflammatory medication -- to reduce the swelling.
Allergy Caused by Vitamin E Oil
Allergy testing may be required to diagnose your condition. Testing involves challenging your body, to see if it reacts to coconut oil, by introducing a small amount of oil under the top layer of your skin 1. If your immune system creates immunoglobulin E antibodies, you're allergic and may have to avoid contact with all products that contain coconut. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you.
- Allergy testing may be required to diagnose your condition.
- Testing involves challenging your body, to see if it reacts to coconut oil, by introducing a small amount of oil under the top layer of your skin 1.
Coconut oil is easy to identify and is not typically hidden in many foods 1. Carefully read the ingredients list on product packaging, and let your server know you're allergic to coconut products when you eat at a restaurant.
Safflower Oil Allergy
Allergy Caused by Vitamin E Oil
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- RxList: Coconut Oil
- MayoClinic.com: Food Allergy
- MedlinePlus: Allergic Reaction
- American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Tree nut allergy.
- USFDA. Section 201(qq) of the Act defines the term "major food allergen" to include "tree nuts." In addition to the three examples provided in section 201(qq) (almonds, pecans, and walnuts), what nuts are considered "tree nuts?" Updated February 1, 2016.
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Food allergy.
- Anagnostou K. Coconut Allergy Revisited. Children (Basel). 2017;4(10). doi:10.3390/children4100085
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Coconut allergy. Updated 2019.
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Everything you need to know about tree nut allergy.
- Anaphylaxis Campaign. Coconut allergy. Updated 2019.
- Kids With Food Allergies: A Division of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Frequently asked questions about the food allergen labeling consumer protection act (FALCPA).
- Food Allergy Research & Education. Treating severe allergic reactions.
- American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Tree Nut Allergy fact sheet
- Anaphylaxis Campaign. What Is Anaphylaxis? fact sheet.
- Food Allergy Research and Education. Tree Nut Allergy fact sheet
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.