Olive Oil Allergy Symptoms

An olive oil allergy isn't unheard of, but it's extremely rare, reports the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). Conversely, exposure to olive tree pollen commonly causes seasonal allergic symptoms.

Allergies to olive oil is extremely rare. Credit: mezzalunayca/iStock/GettyImages

Olive Oil Allergy

According to the ACAAI, scientific literature contains only three reports of a serious allergy from ingestion of olives, which is classified as a fruit rather than a tree nut. In addition, it has one report of a person developing an allergy to the fruit after receiving pollen allergy shots, as well as one report of an airway illness in an olive mill worker.

Allergic responses from skin contact with olives, such as hives or dermatitis, are also very unusual. In contrast, people who live in regions where olives are grown commonly suffer from allergic symptoms from inhaled olive tree pollen.

Any food allergy stems from sensitivity to a protein found in the food, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). The infrequency of reports of an allergy to olives or olive oil is probably due to the protein content of olives being only about 2 percent, notes the ACAAI.

When the oil is extracted from olives, it's separated from the fruit solids and water, but it's conceivable that the oil may contain protein. However, among the reported incidents of allergic responses to olives, few were associated with olive oil.

If testing shows a person has an olive allergy, it's unlikely to follow that they also have an allergy to olive oil, says the ACAAI. This is because much of the 2 percent of protein content in the fruit has probably been removed during the extraction process. Nonetheless, in sensitive individuals, an allergist can test specifically for the presence of an olive oil allergy.

Read more: Can Too Much Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Be Bad for Your Health?

Olive Oil Side Effects

Reports of olive oil dangers or adverse reactions aren't found in scientific literature. It does have a mild laxative effect that can help alleviate constipation, states the International Olive Council. As long as the intake is limited to the daily recommended amount, it shouldn't produce diarrhea. The University of California Davis Olive Center advises taking 2 tablespoons per day.

Since olive oil is high in healthy fat, it's high in calories. The University of Virginia Health System School of Medicine states that 1 tablespoon has 119 calories. Does this mean that regular consumption may lead to weight gain? A June 2016 study published in the_ Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology_ found that it may not have that effect.

In the Lancet study, a large group of participants were assigned to follow one of three dietary interventions: a low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet with a liberal intake of extra-virgin olive oil and a Mediterranean diet with extra nuts. After five years, the consumption of fat was considerably higher in those who followed the two Mediterranean diets than those who adhered to the low-fat diet. Despite this difference, they experienced no weight gain.

Olive Oil Benefits

Research links olive oil to an array of positives, and one of the best-known benefits involves cardiovascular health. A 2018 review appearing in Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders Drug Targets evaluated studies exploring the heart-protective effects of the Mediterranean diet.

This eating plan centers on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil and fatty fish. Although all of these foods are nutrient-dense, the scientists found extra-virgin olive oil was the component most closely related to lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Research shows the main type of fat in olive oil, monounsaturated fat, may improve insulin levels and blood sugar control, notes the Mayo Clinic. A September 2017 study published in Biochemistry found another constituent of the oil, oleuropein, promotes insulin secretion. The investigative team concluded that the beneficial compound might help fight Type 2 diabetes.

Olive oil also has anti-cancer properties. In a July 2015 study featured in Molecular and Cellular Oncology, researchers tested the phenolic compound oleocanthal on human cancer cell cultures. They noted the compound caused the death of cancer cells, but it left noncancerous cells unharmed. The discovery has implications for cancer treatment, the team said.

The wellness advantages of extra-virgin olive oil include mental health. A June 2017 study published in the_ Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology_ involved mice, but it's worth mentioning because of what it portends. The results indicated that the oil protected learning ability and memory and decreased the formation of plaque in the brain, which is characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

Read more: Is It Good or Bad to Drink Olive Oil Every Day?

Olive Oil for Pets

Pet owners who have heard of the health effects of olive oil may wonder if it's safe for dogs. A June 2018 study published in Reproduction in Domestic Animals indicates olive oil supplementation may improve fertility in dogs.

Researchers compared the effects of the consumption of two extra-virgin olive oils containing different levels of polyphenols on canine fertility parameters. (Polyphenols are one of the main nutrients responsible for olive oil's health benefits.) The team concluded that the polyphenols have a beneficial effect on sperm in dogs.

You can also use olive oil to treat a pet's ear infection, says the Veterinary Institute of Integrative Medicine. Several drops of the oil per day in a cat's ears will eradicate ear mite infections. You may also treat mild ear infections in dogs with olive oil that has been infused with fresh garlic.

Olives for Dogs

The American Kennel Club (AKC) says dogs may eat olives in moderation. While the fruit contains nutrients important for humans, dogs fed a balanced diet don't need these extra nutrients. Nonetheless, unsalted, plain olives are an acceptable snack for your canine.

Be sure to get the pitted olives because the pits can pose health threats to dogs, warns the AKC. They can lodge in a dog's intestinal tract or block an airway and cause choking. Pits can also crack teeth. In addition, don't give a dog olives with seasonings or a garlic coating.

references
Load Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.