Lentil Allergy Test
Latin name: Lens esculenta
Source material: Dried seeds
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common names: Lens culinaris, Cicer lens, Lentilla lens
Lentil is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Lentil Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
The lentil plant is a bushy annual plant which yields tiny, lens shaped-seeds (from where it gets its English name). It grows low to the ground, seldom exceeding around 40cm, and produces small pods, each of which contains two seeds.
Lentils were originally cultivated by the PErsian and Egyptian civilisations around 4,500 years ago, and are now grown in most warm and subtropical regions of the world.
They are most widely consumed in India, the Middle East and parts of Europe, although they are increasingly forming part of diets worldwide, particularly where vegetarianism or veganism are becoming popular. Rich in protein and vitamins, the lentil makes an excellent dietary substitute for meat or fish.
Lentils are usually dried for storage, transport and sale. They may be used in soups, salads and casseroles, and as dhal, and ground into cereal flour for enriching other flours or infant food. Lentils need to be boiled for 15 minutes to destroy harmful toxins found in the skin.
The seeds are mucilaginous and laxative. They are considered helpful in the treatment of a variety of intestinal afflictions. Made into a paste, they are used as a cleansing application for indolent ulcers.
The young seed pods can be eaten raw or cooked like green beans.
Lentil Allergy Test: Allergen Description
Several allergens present in lentils have been categorised, including a major allergen.
A common feature of most legume allergens is their natural resistance to thermal, chemical, and, in some respects, proteolytic denaturation.
A lipid transfer protein has been isolated from germinated Lentil seed, however its potential allergenicity has not been evaluated.
Lentil Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected but in fact is not seen frequently. Clinical studies have found that there is little cross-reactivity among members of the legume family.
Lentil Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Lentil is the most common legume implicated in allergic reactions in food-allergic paediatric patients in the Mediterranean area and in many Asian communities.
Approximately 20% of patients allergic to these legumes present with severe and systemic symptoms, although isolated cutaneous reactions are most common. Symptoms include angioedema, urticaria, asthma and anaphylaxis as well as oral allergy syndrome (OAS).
In a Spanish study, in 20 of 22 subjects who experienced allergy symptoms following exposure to Lentil, the most frequent symptoms were oropharyngeal ones (40%) and acute urticaria (30%); 3 patients also reported symptoms when they were exposed to steam from cooked lentil.
Lentils are ranked fourth as a cause of hypersensitivity reactions in Spanish children, and fifth in India.
Four episodes of anaphylaxis occurred in an 8-year-old girl, which could be attributed to lentil. These episodes occurred between the ages of 3 and 7 years. The first 3 involved ingestion of cooked lentil and each episode required smaller amounts to induce symptoms. The fourth episode occurred with exposure by inhalation to cooking lentil soup.
If Lentils are to be eaten whole, they must be boiled an extra 15 minutes to destroy harmful toxins found in the skins.