Danger of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds don't pose many dangers. Like nuts, they can cause allergic reactions, and this can result in a life-threatening allergic response. For some people, they may increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Sesame seeds are also a choking hazard for young children. Otherwise, sesame seeds are safe to include in your diet.

Risk of Allergies

Allergies to sesame seeds are about 10 times less common than peanut and tree nut allergies, according to a report in the "Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology" in June 2010. While an allergy can appear at any age, children with nut allergies are at a higher risk for developing a sesame seed allergy.

Sesame seeds aren't included in the top causes of food allergies in the United States to date. As a result, they're not reported as allergens on food labels.

If you’re allergic to sesame seeds, check the ingredients on the foods you buy. Watch for any form of sesame, including benne seeds, tahini, sesamol, sesamum indicum and sesame oil, which is also known as gingelly.

High in Oxalates

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Whole sesame seeds are very high sources of oxalate, according to the Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation. Oxalate is naturally produced by plants. Most people can consume oxalate-containing foods without any problem because it’s excreted in urine, but oxalates should be avoided by people with certain medical conditions.

If you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, your physician may advise you to avoid high-oxalate foods such as sesame seeds. Oxalate binds with calcium, which may increase the risk of forming kidney stones in the future.

A rare genetic disorder -- primary hyperoxaluria -- causes a buildup of oxalate that can lead to kidney damage. People with this condition should not consume sesame seeds.

Possible Tyramine Interactions

Sesame seeds contain a substance, tyramine, which may trigger migraine headaches. Tyramine can also cause serious side effects when it interacts with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease, and with some antibiotics.

Diets designed for people with migraine headaches recommend avoiding sesame seeds. Diets to prevent medication interactions usually do not suggest eliminating sesame seeds, however.

If you have migraines or take either of these medications, consult your physician before consuming sesame seeds to be sure they're safe for you.

Choking and Other Considerations

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Small objects like sesame seeds can get caught in the throat and cause children to choke. If your child is 4 years old or younger, don't let her eat sesame seeds, or else watch carefully while the seeds are eaten, recommends the National Children’s Hospital.

Sesame seeds are sometimes associated with side effects based on outdated information. For example, you may read that they should be avoided if you have diverticular disease, which is when a pouch forms in the wall of the intestine. Current research confirms that sesame seeds do not aggravate this condition, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.