Talking Allergies

Coconut Allergy Question
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Author:  suzycat [ Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:44 am ]
Post subject:  Coconut Allergy Question

I'm new to the forums and am looking for more information on coconut allergies. I have been allergic to some forms of coconut since I was a child (am now 21), and my allergies seem to be becoming more severe. I have visited an allergist for my seasonal allergies, but she seemed unconcerned with my coconut allergy, suggesting that I simply avoid coconut products.

I have reactions to coconut in several forms, especially shredded. It seems that sometimes coconut milk is ok, and other times it is not. I try my best to avoid it, but am looking for others who have similar allergies or know more about it. I find that after I eat it, my skin immediately begins to feel lightly itchy, and this increases over a period of days. (This is even after only a few bites.) For example, I had a bit of peanut salad dressing on Wednesday that had coconut in it. It is now Saturday and the front and back of my torso is covered in tiny, itchy red bumps. The last time this occurred, the reaction was more severe (more coconut had been consumed), with itchy bumps all over my body and face for approximately three weeks. How would people recommend I treat this beside taking antihistamines?


Author:  KarenOASG [ Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:26 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi Suzycat -

I guess my first piece of advice would be to do as the allergist recommended and avoid it completely.

Has your allergist tested you for other allergens, including tree nuts and peanuts? It's possible that you're also allergic to other things.

Do you have a prescription for an EpiPen? If you feel the reactions are worsening, it would be wise to get one. But I would definitely practise total avoidance. It's a pain, but think how much worse it would be to end up in ER... :(

Perhaps there are others with a coconut allergy who will have some other advice...

Hang in there!


Author:  suzycat [ Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks! I will definitely ask my allergist about testing & the epipen. And yes, I do try to avoid it completely, but sometimes I don't realize I've eaten it until it's too late!

Author:  ethansmom [ Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

Like Karen, I also wonder if you are reacting to something else besides the coconut. Most commercially processed coconut has additives (check out the ingredients list) -- most have "may contains" for peanuts / tree nuts, sulphites could also be a problem. I'd also suggest testing for other potential allergies as well. Do you react when you eat a coconut that you have bought from the produce section and cut up yourself?

Author:  suzycat [ Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Well, I've never eaten coconut straight from a coconut before. I've always reacted when it has been in other things, i.e. shredded in an oatmeal cookie, incorporated into a processed smoothie, or in Thai curries.

Author:  kimp00chs [ Mon May 07, 2007 7:31 pm ]
Post subject:  I am new to this forum

We were just told that my 2.5 year old has a coconut allergy and I am not sure what to look for to stay away from coconut. Does anyone know any websites were I can find a listing of things that may have coconut in them? If so I would like it if you were share them with me.

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Mon May 07, 2007 7:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi and welcome,

I'm not sure you'll find any websites on coconut specifically as an allergen (unless Karen, our amazing moderator, has come upon any). You'll probably, though, find others at this site who have coconut as one of their allergies - since many people have multiple allergies.

It's not a common one, but it's not entirely rare either. As with any allergen, it's the plant protein that brings on the reaction.

You'll have to learn to do what the rest of us do: read every label before eating to make sure coconut is not contained. (Label reading is universal, whether your allergen is tree nut, peanut, milk, egg or - coconut.)

I'd suggest you'll need to be very careful around Asian cuisine, since coconut can be used in many dishes - particularly in Thai cooking. Also shows up in Indian food. So just become aware of which manufacturers use it; choose restaurants carefully.

Author:  dustytiger [ Mon May 07, 2007 8:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

just a food for thought for those of you avoiding coconut remeber to ask what kind of oil popcorn is popped in as the oil in the two kinds of popcorn i've worked with (at an arena) is coconut oil which i must say shocked the heck out of me when i began working my job

Author:  KarenOASG [ Mon May 07, 2007 10:42 pm ]
Post subject: 

If you live in the U.S., the US FDA is considering coconut to be a nut for the purposes of its food labelling law (even though coconut is not really a nut). See - item 25.

The upside of that is that foods produced in the U.S. that contain coconut will be clearly labelled. Obviously that will have a trickle-down (or rather trickle-up) effect for those of us here in Canada when U.S. made food products come across the border.

Foods produced in Canada are not clearly labelled for coconut so like Gwen said, you will have to carefully read the labels.

You should also be aware that coconut-derived products are used in things like soaps and shampoos.

For more info about that and about coconut allergy in general, see ... llergy.htm . You can also use Google and search for "coconut allergy" and you will get a few more hits with a bit more info.


Author:  ethansmom [ Mon May 07, 2007 11:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

KarenOASG wrote:
You should also be aware that coconut-derived products are used in things like soaps and shampoos.

Also like to add that some "earth friendly" cleaning products are using coconut derivatives and not necessarily listing the ingredients in plain English on the packaging. I know Ecover uses coconut derivatives but only lists "Plant based anionic and non-ionic tensio-active surfactants". Be cautious when you see "plant based" anything -- give the company a call to clarify what plants they use.

Author:  Wandering White Wolf [ Mon May 04, 2009 4:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Coconut Allergy Question

Dear suzycat,

I have only a very mild allergy to coconut. So much so that, when I was younger, I only knew that I didn't like coconut. Even, as a teenager, when a friend bought a fresh coconut, thinking this would be different, I tried it. Still didn't like it.

A few years ago I switched from the chemical based, biodegradable, laundry detergent to an all natural one. Around the time that the detergent residue in my clothes was completely replaced, I started itching. This was especially true whenever and wherever I worked up a sweat. I thought it was a fungal skin infection and treated it as such. (There are natural ointments for this purpose.) They seemed to work, however, only when I applied the ointment. Otherwise the itching would not stop, I saw a dermatologist who diagnosed me with eczema.

When I researched eczema I found that 'contact dermatitis' is one of the many things classified as eczema. Then, I finally made the connection to the detergent residue. I concluded that it might be the coconut extracts in the all natural, biodegradable, laundry detergent residue which was causing the itching. I switched back to the chemical based, biodegradable, laundry detergent and to my ever lasting joy the itching was significantly reduced and has become less irritating over time.

I also gave some of the all natural, biodegradable, laundry detergent to my sister (Before I figured it out.) and the same thing happened to her and her daughter, only more severely.

So, I now know I have a mild allergy to coconut and avoid it.

As mentioned by ethansmom there are coconut extracts in many natural cleaning products. The reason, as I understand it, is this -- though corn extracts are as effective and could be used, most corn these days is genetically modified, so, in order to be able to claim that the product does not contain GMOs coconut extracts are used.

Coconut extracts may be listed as:

    coconut derived cleaning agents, Bio-Vert / Bio-Green laundry detergent
    sodium lauryl sulfate (from coconut), Nature Clean All Purpose Cleaning Lotion
    octyl alcohol (from coconut), Nature Clean All Purpose Cleaning Lotion
    cocamide DEA (from coconut), Nature Clean All Purpose Cleaning Lotion
    cocamidopropyl betaine, Life Extension Toothpaste

So you can see that;

* some organizations mention the source of the ingredient and others do not, and also
* some ingredients are self explanatory (have the string coca in them) and others are

This, unfortunately, makes it very difficult for someone with a serve allergy to coconut.

Dear Karen,

Thanks for the info about the FDA considering coconut to be equivalent to tree nuts. I've sent that info on to the Life Extension Foundation to bolster my request that they provide full disclosure on all their labels.[quote][/quote]

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