Linseed Allergy Test
Latin name: Linum usitatissimum
Source material: Dried seeds
Common names: Linseed, Flaxseed
Linseed is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Linseed Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Linseed is the fruit of the flax plant, which has been cultivated for its fibres, which can be woven into textiles, for much of recorded human history. Flax is an annual plant which, having flowered, produces round capsules containing between 1 and 10 seeds.
Linseed is common as a foodstuff across much of Europe. It is often used in cereals and breads, including the German Leinsamenbrot. It can be sprouted and served in salads. It is also an ingredient in cattle feeds.
The seeds are high in oil, with around 35% oil content, and when extracted this is used in the preparation of varnish, paint, linoleum, and soap.
Historically the oil has been used medicinally, as a laxative, expectorant and demulcent.
Linseed is often a hidden allergen, being present in a diverse range of products including cereals, milk from cows fed flax, laxatives, shampoo, hair tonic, infusions, depilatories, cattle feed, dog food, patent leather, insulating materials, carpets, cloth, cough remedies, breads, health shop muffins, and other “health food” products.
Linseed the richest known source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the parent compound of the omega-3 fatty acids, much more so than oily fish, for example. As a result, linseed has gained recent attention from researchers in the pursuit of reducing cardiovascular disease.
Linseed also contains phytoestrogens, which have purported health benefits including mitigation of hormone-dependent breast and prostate cancers, osteoporosis, cognitive dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, immune system dysfunction, inflammation, and treatment of infertility.
Linseed Allergy Test: Allergen Description
While it is known that linseed contains several major allergens, none have yet been characterised.
Linseed Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected but has not been clinically recorded.
Linseed Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Linseed may uncommonly induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals; but cases could increase in number and variety because of the increased use of linseed in consumer products, including food and cosmetics.
Anaphylaxis induced by linseed has been described in a 39-year-old woman who developed symptoms immediately after the ingestion of the first spoonful of linseed grains which had been prescribed as a laxative.
A 40-year-old man had had, over a 6-year period, 5 or 6 episodes of intestinal/abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, generalised urticaria, acute dyspnoea without bronchospasm, hydrorrhoea, successive sneezing, nasal obstruction, pruritis, and intense general malaise which required emergency treatment, all occurring within 2-3 minutes after ingestion of multigrain bread containing linseed.
Occupational dermatitis caused by sunflower seeds and linseed has been reported.
Flax is an important cause of respiratory disease. Non-IgE-mediated byssinosis, caused by inhalation of dust in the processing of flax, has been described in flax workers.
Linseed may be a source of cyanide exposure. Unprocessed whole seeds and Linseed cakes processed under low temperature can be toxic to animals.
The seed can be hard to digest and may provoke flatulence.