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Peanut

Peanut Allergy Research

A peanut allergy is fairly common. Researchers still do not know how much peanut antigen is necessary to cause an allergic response. In the Johns Hopkins study, allergic reactions developed after the person contracted residual peanut butter on counters of tables that were wiped-clean of all visible peanut butter. Two patients developed wheezing and hives after a jar of peanut butter was opened in front of them.

Peanut Allergy Can Be Extremely Dangerous

This allergy can be extremely dangerous- sometimes fatal. There have been recent cases of people having anaphylactic reactions to peanuts and dying.

EpiPen® or Ana Guard®

If you know you are allergic to peanuts, have your physician prescribe an EpiPen® or Ana Guard®. (These are epinephrine injections used to stop a serious reaction.) Remember to check the expiration date on these medications periodically.

In a series of 7 deaths caused by anaphylactic reactions to foods, all the victims knew they were allergic to the allergen they unknowingly ate, but they were unable to take adequate emergency treatment measures.

Those who are allergic to peanuts are not generally allergic to tree nuts. You can substitute pecans, walnuts, or almonds in baked goods or as nut butter spreads.
Always be prepared for the worst. Use your EpiPen® or Ana Guard® even if the allergic reaction seems mild. This should be followed immediately with an Emergency Room or doctor's office visit, since the epinephrine may buy time, but may not prevent a life-threatening reaction.

Nutrients Provided by Peanuts

Peanuts are good sources of the following nutrients:

  • Niacin
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium

And provide smaller amounts of:

  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Phosphorus
  • Folacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Biotin

Many other foods including other nuts can provide these same nutrients. Therefore, a peanut restriction alone would not create a big problem for your diet.

Avoid All Products Containing Peanuts

Peanuts are listed on labels as:

  • Peanuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanut flour
  • Mixed nuts

If any of these words appear on a label, that food must be avoided. Foods which have been known to contain peanuts or peanut products (especially peanut butter) are:

  • Marzipan
  • Chili
  • Chinese and Thai dishes
  • Soups
  • Baked goods
  • Candy
  • Egg rolls

Peanut Oil

Although occasional reports of allergic reactions to peanut oil are reported, most physicians believe that because they peanut portion is extracted during the manufacturing process it is safe to use. They believe that some of the reported reactions to peanut oil may have been caused by other food protein (e.g. fish and other seafood) in the frying oil. If you use peanut oil, however, some caution may still be necessary.

Nu-nuts

Beware! New products which are not readily recognizable as peanut protein and can cause a severe reaction are being introduced! These products are peanuts which are deflavored, reflavored, and then pressed to be sold as almonds, walnuts, or other nuts. They are called "Nu-nuts" by the Flavored Nuts Co., division of Seabrook Blanching Corp., Tyrone, PA.

Contact Information

Allergy and Inflammation - Research
Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Center for Life Science, 9th floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-723-4110
617-735-4115