World’s first case of Brazil nut allergy transmitted via sexual intercourse has much to teach us.
An anaphylactic reaction to Brazil nuts has the potential to kill you, at worst. Even in best case scenarios, the allergic reactions caused by consuming Brazil nuts are not pretty or comfortable. While you already know enough to protect yourself from consuming them directly or indirectly so as to avoid a Brazil nut allergy, you probably did not know this – a Brazil nut allergy can be sexually transmitted.
One of the most frequent causes of nut allergies across the world, a Brazil nut allergy can actually be transmitted via intercourse. A 20-year old woman in the UK became the first person to ever suffer an allergic reaction to Brazil nuts through having sexual intercourse.
The Truth about Brazil Nuts
The Brazil nut is sourced from the Amazon jungle in South America. It is actually the seed of a giant tree found there. The three-sided seeds are about 6cm long each, and about 8-25 seeds are found inside the pod of the tree. Brazil nuts are popular owing to their rich flavor that comes from the fact that the seed contains more than 70 percent of oil and 17 percent of protein. The seed stays fresh for a short time, and becomes rancid quickly owing to the high oil content. The exportation of Brazil nuts began in the 1600s, and they were first taken off land by the Portuguese and the Dutch. However, there are millions across the globe who have nut allergies, and a Brazil nut allergy is known to be one of the severe ones out there.
When it comes to staying away from Brazil nuts, the process is not as easy as you would like it to be. This is because of the fact that the Brazil nut is actually used in a multitude of products. The oil extracted from the Brazil nut is often the “hidden” allergen in cookies. It is also commonly used while making soaps, skin moisturizers, shampoos, hair conditioners, as well as to make insect repellents. A number of different allergenic proteins have been isolated from the Brazil nut. However, this is the first time that a Brazil nut allergy has been triggered by sexual intercourse.
The boyfriend of the 20-year old woman had consumed a handful of Brazil nuts right before indulging in sexual intercourse. The woman in question had a severe Brazil nut allergy problem, because of which she ensured that he took all the precautions necessary. These precautions included brushing his teeth, rinsing out his mouth, thoroughly washing his hands and fingernails, etc. Even though all these precautions were taken, the woman experienced swelling in her lower body, as well as severe shortness of breath.
When she was checked by the doctors of the St. Helier hospital in Surrey, it was assumed that the couple had not taken the necessary precautions to prevent a Brazil nut allergy. However, when the couple stated their case, further investigations were conducted. At the end of the investigation, the doctors concluded that the Brazil nut allergy was caused by traces of the nut found in the man’s seminal fluids. To ensure that their deduction was correct, the man was called in for a few tests. By testing his semen sample both before and after consuming Brazil nuts, it was found that Brazil nut proteins do not get completely digested, and are expelled from the body through a variety of means, including seminal fluids.
A Brazil nut allergy is triggered by the reaction of the body’s immune system to the proteins in the nut. The immune system produces quantities of the antibody, immunoglobulin E or IgE along with histamine to neutralize the allergens in the nuts. Brazil nut allergy symptoms include severe anaphylactic shock, eczema, headaches, asthma, abdominal pain and cramps, etc. In case you have a Brazil nut allergy and come in contact with the nut through any means, it is important to ensure that you have antihistamines at hand. For people with mild Brazil nut allergy symptoms, no treatment may be necessary. However, if your Brazil nut allergy is severe, make sure that you have antihistamines, as well as bronchodilators (for asthmatic symptoms) readily available to combat the allergic reactions.