1

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Whenever I eat a spoon of coconut oil, I get a really bad sore throat for days. Am I allergic?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 17, 2011 at 3:53 PM

I've seen other posts and sites that say that if you rub it on your skin, that's the best test for allergenicity, but I can use it on my skin and it's great. But eating it, I get the same reaction that I do with peanuts, coconut meat, and some tree nuts. Weird, huh? I always thought the protein component was what people had allergic reactions to and obviously, coconut oil is all fat.

Am I doing myself harm eating it, other than the throat discomfort?

9bbf694e0f3e8b14c21fc45baa21040e

(0)

on March 05, 2013
at 02:42 AM

Because I also gave it to my boyfriend the night before in coffee and he also said he had a sore throat when he woke up. We have no other cold symptoms except the sore throat. It's so bad. I will stick to adding it to my food as opposed to drinking it with tea/coffee. I had my mother try it too and she also had it in tea and said her throat was irritated.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on March 04, 2013
at 09:44 PM

What makes you think it's not a cold?

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on November 21, 2011
at 06:20 PM

foodallergypaleomom, I'm part of a yahoo.group for people who are exploring a low oxalate diet for various health or behavioral symptoms. Many members are there to treat children with autism (not me). There's a lot of chat on that board about how food allergies and intolerances can cause autism or autism-like behaviors and symptoms. Gluten, phenols, oxalate, and salicylate are the things most commonly mentioned. From everything I've learned on that board, I would say what we eat has a direct impact on the expression of autism.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on November 21, 2011
at 04:08 PM

I see, that is interesting. Perhaps your teen would respond a bit to a lower phenol diet? This is all relatively new to me as well and there is a paucity of information out there - as you say, it's definitely not recognized in the mainstream world and it seems that even more holistic types often don't know about phenols specifically. Hopefully this area of research will expand since there is some acknowledgement that ADD/ADHD responds to removal of food dyes and preservatives (phenolics of a specific type) and so forth. Best of luck to you both on your journey. :)

3fa1da906c426b335569644f8a908024

on November 19, 2011
at 03:33 AM

I look forward to reading more about it, thanks!

3fa1da906c426b335569644f8a908024

on November 19, 2011
at 03:33 AM

Thanks for sharing. I'm intrigued. I don't have any personal experience, although I have a teenager w/high functioning autism, who is also allergic to peanuts. So, I'm always curious about connections btw food and behavioral/mental health. I've experienced great improvements in my own mental health after getting rid of grains. I just read an overview about phenols, and it certainly sounds much like food sensitivities, where it isn't recognized in mainstream medicine. It must have been a huge challenge to determine exactly what was ailing you. Thanks for helping me understand this better!

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on November 18, 2011
at 05:39 PM

Paleomom, what is your experience as phenol reactor? My guess is that many people don't realize they're having weird internal symptoms because they're somewhat nebulous, and if you're already a high-sensitivity person to begin with, it can be hard to differentiate. Also, many people probably don't know what it's like to not have a significant amount of phenol in their system, especially considering that phenol is in everything to some degree.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on November 18, 2011
at 05:36 PM

- of course, this could also be attributable to my body's response with histamine production, as histamine causes a variety of symptoms as well - heightened emotionality, tendency to cry, wakefulness, tachycardia, etc. But the most interesting thing about the constellation of symptoms has been that when I read about autistic experiences, they resonate with how I feel when affected by salicylate/phenols. Because it feels like mind monitor is set to maximum brightness, saturation, volume, etc. - being social is the last thing I want to do whereas a sojourn to the Arctic tundra sounds appealing.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on November 18, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Thanks for the tip, that blog looks quite interesting! Well, aside from the obvious symptoms of allergy-like sensitivity - pink edemic eyes, sneezing, postnasal drip etc. - I tend to get brainfog that makes me hypersensitive to various stimuli and it can be overwhelming enough that I feel socially inept, which reminds me of autism. For instance, heightened sensitivity to sound, touch, movement, etc. I believe something happens to the CNS that affects receptivity while slowing processing. There's a tendency toward crankiness/irritability which I attribute to feeling like an exposed wire (cont'd

3fa1da906c426b335569644f8a908024

on November 18, 2011
at 02:30 AM

I get the phenol allergy and cross-reactivity; here is a really cool blog post on the subject: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/oscillator/2011/09/18/allergy-recapitulates-phylogeny/ But, what do you mean you feel a bit autistic when you have a severe reaction? I'm just curious because I'm interested in how food affects behavior, mental health and developmental disorders like autism. I have never heard anyone say they're not on the spectrum but identify with spectrum-like symptoms as a result of a food reaction.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on November 17, 2011
at 04:47 PM

Yes, Try a few brands before you give up. Refined vs. raw may make a difference too.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on November 17, 2011
at 04:43 PM

Oh, and I just noticed the second part of your question...in my opinion, if your body has an immediate reaction that is obvious like you are having, the likelihood that there are other less noticable reactions going on at deeper levels is quite high, and also, imho, not worth the risk.

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16 Answers

5
3fa1da906c426b335569644f8a908024

on November 18, 2011
at 02:26 AM

Sounds like because you have a similar reaction in your throat to nuts and peanuts, you should consider the coconut reaction an allergic one. Coconut oil surely has some type of proteins left it in because we're all generally after high quality, unrefined coconut oils in paleo land. I think the addition to coconut oil to our diets, while great for most, also identifies existing allergies in some who otherwise might never have detected an allergy to coconut on the SAD.

Many people w/peanut allergy can technically eat peanut oil because it is highly refined supposedly with little or no proteins left in it... however, to someone severely allergic it is not worth the risk. Coconuts are considered tree nuts, which would explain the similar reaction.

Don't underestimate any reaction that makes your throat sore or itch. It's a hop, skip and a jump away from full-blown anaphylaxis, which is life threatening. I suggest anyone who gets a sore throat or itchiness in the mouth/throat gets an EpiPen because reactions are not predictable. Stress or weakened immune systems due to colds, illness, etc. can significantly increase the likelihood of a life threatening reaction. There's just no telling what will trigger a reaction into escalating into something very scary, and it's just not worth the risk.

4
7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

on November 17, 2011
at 07:28 PM

Coconut oil is absolutely loaded with salicylate, a subgroup of phenols. Over time I have developed an intolerance to phenols - a very real phenomenon. If you do some googling you can find a ton of information, specifically on problems with the phenol sulfotransferase pathway, especially in people on the autism spectrum. (I don't have autism, but feel a bit autistic when I have a severe reaction.) I don't know if your sensitivity is to salicylate specifically but reactions to protein are definitely not a requirement for food sensitivity.

3fa1da906c426b335569644f8a908024

on November 19, 2011
at 03:33 AM

I look forward to reading more about it, thanks!

3fa1da906c426b335569644f8a908024

on November 19, 2011
at 03:33 AM

Thanks for sharing. I'm intrigued. I don't have any personal experience, although I have a teenager w/high functioning autism, who is also allergic to peanuts. So, I'm always curious about connections btw food and behavioral/mental health. I've experienced great improvements in my own mental health after getting rid of grains. I just read an overview about phenols, and it certainly sounds much like food sensitivities, where it isn't recognized in mainstream medicine. It must have been a huge challenge to determine exactly what was ailing you. Thanks for helping me understand this better!

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on November 18, 2011
at 05:39 PM

Paleomom, what is your experience as phenol reactor? My guess is that many people don't realize they're having weird internal symptoms because they're somewhat nebulous, and if you're already a high-sensitivity person to begin with, it can be hard to differentiate. Also, many people probably don't know what it's like to not have a significant amount of phenol in their system, especially considering that phenol is in everything to some degree.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on November 18, 2011
at 05:36 PM

- of course, this could also be attributable to my body's response with histamine production, as histamine causes a variety of symptoms as well - heightened emotionality, tendency to cry, wakefulness, tachycardia, etc. But the most interesting thing about the constellation of symptoms has been that when I read about autistic experiences, they resonate with how I feel when affected by salicylate/phenols. Because it feels like mind monitor is set to maximum brightness, saturation, volume, etc. - being social is the last thing I want to do whereas a sojourn to the Arctic tundra sounds appealing.

3fa1da906c426b335569644f8a908024

on November 18, 2011
at 02:30 AM

I get the phenol allergy and cross-reactivity; here is a really cool blog post on the subject: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/oscillator/2011/09/18/allergy-recapitulates-phylogeny/ But, what do you mean you feel a bit autistic when you have a severe reaction? I'm just curious because I'm interested in how food affects behavior, mental health and developmental disorders like autism. I have never heard anyone say they're not on the spectrum but identify with spectrum-like symptoms as a result of a food reaction.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on November 18, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Thanks for the tip, that blog looks quite interesting! Well, aside from the obvious symptoms of allergy-like sensitivity - pink edemic eyes, sneezing, postnasal drip etc. - I tend to get brainfog that makes me hypersensitive to various stimuli and it can be overwhelming enough that I feel socially inept, which reminds me of autism. For instance, heightened sensitivity to sound, touch, movement, etc. I believe something happens to the CNS that affects receptivity while slowing processing. There's a tendency toward crankiness/irritability which I attribute to feeling like an exposed wire (cont'd

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on November 21, 2011
at 06:20 PM

foodallergypaleomom, I'm part of a yahoo.group for people who are exploring a low oxalate diet for various health or behavioral symptoms. Many members are there to treat children with autism (not me). There's a lot of chat on that board about how food allergies and intolerances can cause autism or autism-like behaviors and symptoms. Gluten, phenols, oxalate, and salicylate are the things most commonly mentioned. From everything I've learned on that board, I would say what we eat has a direct impact on the expression of autism.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on November 21, 2011
at 04:08 PM

I see, that is interesting. Perhaps your teen would respond a bit to a lower phenol diet? This is all relatively new to me as well and there is a paucity of information out there - as you say, it's definitely not recognized in the mainstream world and it seems that even more holistic types often don't know about phenols specifically. Hopefully this area of research will expand since there is some acknowledgement that ADD/ADHD responds to removal of food dyes and preservatives (phenolics of a specific type) and so forth. Best of luck to you both on your journey. :)

3
8e1876a74536739ecf7bef97d5d97b76

(747)

on November 17, 2011
at 04:19 PM

I am allergic to coconut.
I contracted the allergy late (around 21 y.o.) for a few months it was just a sore throat. Then I started getting colds and a sore throat after eating it. Now when I eat it I cough, can't breathe and get puffy.

Long story short, my suggestion is to quit using it and go to an allergists and get tested

2
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on November 18, 2011
at 10:49 PM

I'd dump the rest and try something else. Maybe one of the refined versions vs the raw version. Not as good as the rawer versions, but if your body can't take it, it can't take it. Don't push it. The sore throat is indicative of an immune response, which could mean inflammation and other problems that you don't necessarily need.

1
1dc524a212a3ea2ff6b553ecb31da5fd

on June 23, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Some people don't do as well as others running a soap through their bile ducts.

1
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on November 17, 2011
at 05:17 PM

You can be sensitive to any component in a food, not just the protein. If you are sensitive to one component, you may not be sensitive to another component and could still eat it (such as being sensitive to the protein but still eating the oil). If you are allergic to one component, you often will not be able to eat any other component without some reaction, so it's best to avoid the whole food and any component of the food. Also, allergies often start mild then build with each exposure. If you keep testing the coconut oil and are getting worse reactions each time, then it's time to stop before you have a dangerous reaction.

You might also consider that you are not truly allergic to coconut, but to a preservative, cross pollen, or other food that has contaminated the coconut.

1
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on November 17, 2011
at 04:40 PM

A true allergy is to a protein, but you can have a sensitivity to anything. It's very common that if if you have an allergy to one component of a food, than you'd need to avoid the whole food. Most people I know that can't eat tree nuts and coconuts also can't eat the oils from those foods, including my husband who gets an itchy mouth and throat from any tree nut or coconut product, including the oil. Probably best to avoid it, you can always retest it at a later time if you miss it...

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on November 17, 2011
at 04:43 PM

Oh, and I just noticed the second part of your question...in my opinion, if your body has an immediate reaction that is obvious like you are having, the likelihood that there are other less noticable reactions going on at deeper levels is quite high, and also, imho, not worth the risk.

1
9d8b1ca66aba8d9fa784689c222615c6

on November 17, 2011
at 04:11 PM

It irritates my throat also. Then I switched to Artisana brand. It's avaiLable through Amazon if not avaiLable locally.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on November 17, 2011
at 04:47 PM

Yes, Try a few brands before you give up. Refined vs. raw may make a difference too.

0
Af25f29f9c262ca903e1af3a9c0be74d

on April 10, 2013
at 05:14 AM

I also got a sore throat and didn't know why. Last week, I had coffee at night before bed, added coconut oil to it and I woke up with a sore throat. I was completely healthy before drinking it. I never got a sore throat with coffee alone. It was the coconut oil. Now my throat still hurs and I am coughing up phlegm, I'm going to stop drinking the oil.

0
9bbf694e0f3e8b14c21fc45baa21040e

(0)

on March 05, 2013
at 01:33 PM

Nevermind, I think this is a cold and not a reaction to the oil lol

0
9bbf694e0f3e8b14c21fc45baa21040e

(0)

on March 04, 2013
at 09:40 PM

I've been taking it for 2 weeks with no issues. Last night I added it to my tea And this morn woke up with the worst sore throat ever. It's still sore and hurts to swallow and it's almost 5pm now. I don't understand why I got this sore throat. I took it in my tea before in the morning, never at night. It just hurts so much omg. Maybe I drank too much ? It was about a tbsp which I've taken before with food however.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on March 04, 2013
at 09:44 PM

What makes you think it's not a cold?

9bbf694e0f3e8b14c21fc45baa21040e

(0)

on March 05, 2013
at 02:42 AM

Because I also gave it to my boyfriend the night before in coffee and he also said he had a sore throat when he woke up. We have no other cold symptoms except the sore throat. It's so bad. I will stick to adding it to my food as opposed to drinking it with tea/coffee. I had my mother try it too and she also had it in tea and said her throat was irritated.

0
9a5a76f32ef72cc4de1cd6d42e9350b9

on February 12, 2013
at 03:14 AM

I get the scratchy congested throat only when I take a spoonful of coconut oil straight and not followed by any food. Haven't noticed the reaction when eating immediately after, cooking with it or putting it in a smoothy. so not sure if that's an allergy / sensitivity or not?

0
368568eb91f1b58d2f52c9c566d331b5

(182)

on November 18, 2011
at 03:39 PM

I might be on the way there myself. I can still consume the oil, but I find the coconut meat gives me trouble. If I eat the meat or the 'butter' I become very ill and have to lay down.

0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 17, 2011
at 04:59 PM

I only use coconut oil to coat meat I'm going to roast or sometimes as the starting fat in my skillet. I can't relate to drinking a spoonful of any fat straight. I love butter but I don't eat it straight either.

I take cod liver oil occasionally but I simply stir it into the broth in whatever stew I'm having--adds a nice flavor that isn't even fishy.

Since you're having problems, I suggest you change your approach and simply include the oil as an ingredient in dishes you're making.

For those who choose to do the spoonful and like it and have no trouble, then fine.

0
Medium avatar

on November 17, 2011
at 04:29 PM

Odds are that you're allergic to most raw tree nuts if you get a coconut reaction. I'd love to eat all of that stuff raw but it's just not in the cards.

0
D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on November 17, 2011
at 04:26 PM

Yes, don't mess with your throat. Maybe you are JUST that sensitive to whatever protein crept in. People react to someone eating peanuts next to them, right? Seems impossible but it's not. Be safe and go consult an allergist. Not that their tests are perfect, but at least they can tell you how to stay safe. You might need to carry an epi-pen, too.

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