mushroom allergy

Mushroom is a delicious fleshy and soft food. Many vegetarians like to consume mushrooms as a substitute for meat. But there are some situations that you may have felt discomfort after eating mushrooms. Therefore Mushroom allergy is a common topic among mushroom consumers. Before eating you should know the safety of the food you eat. right??

First of all, we should understand why it can become allergic??

You may know that Mushrooms are reproductive structures of some fungi species. There are millions of spores beneath the mushroom cap among the gills. These spores spread through the air or else you may eat mushrooms. Clearly these spores are the reasons for mushroom allergy!! [1]

What is Mushroom Allergy??

mushroom allergy symptoms

Allergy is a condition that causes some allergic reactions that will result in unfavorable symptoms in your body. Clearly, If your body is sensitive to reactions of molds ( mold sensitive bodies), this can develop as a result of eating mushrooms.[2]. And also this can occur with the inhalation of airborne basidiospores too, which have allergenic properties.

However, some researches suggest that these properties may be due to unidentified cross-reactive protein compounds. There are some situations where these allergic symptoms grow in mushroom growers. So, when the spore production is high more and more people will subject to this allergenic condition.

Particularly we can divide this condition into three sections as,

  • Intolerance
  • Allergy
  • Poisoning

Mushroom poisoning

From all the above, especially mushroom poisoning is dangerous. Mushroom poisoning occurs as a result of eating toxic mushrooms. The most available examples are Death cap mushrooms and yellow staining mushrooms. They can be very dangerous to those who eat them Because it can be fatal to your body.

If you eat death cap mushroom you may get kidney damage or liver damage. A small amount of the mushroom is sufficient to make your body weak. It may contain poison sufficient enough to kill an average adult. There is no change in the edibility of this kind of mushrooms. If you cook, peel, Soak, or dry it no change will appear.[13]

Mushroom intolerance

But intolerance is a kind of situation which causes indigestion. Especially according to some researches this may be related to genes (OCTN1 gene). The patients with Crohn’s disease due to a gene issue have a high risk of mushroom intolerance.[14]

There are some situations where these allergic symptoms grow in mushroom growers. And when the spore production is high, more and more people will subject to this allergenic condition.

What are the responsible mushroom species??

You should know the species of mushrooms that cause those allergic conditions. Here are some examples,[3]

  • Ganoderma( lingzhi)
  • Boletus( penny bun )
  • Thelephora (Fiber Vase)
  • Lactarius( Milkcap )
  • Russula (vomiting russula)
  • Shiitake
  • Oyster

These are the main types of mushrooms that affect you with allergenic conditions. Boletus are common mushrooms in Europe. These mushrooms can initiate IgE related allergy conditions. This is due to a resistant protein called as profilin. Actually this is a cross-reactive protein. According to certain studies, this is one of the reasons responsible for an anaphylactic reaction after consuming mushrooms.

When considering mushrooms like oyster and shiitake, people consume them widely and cultivate them widely. Some researchers say that individuals who work with mushrooms, especially for several years, have shown many respiratory ailments like asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. In addition to these conditions, they also can be subjected to toxicodermia as well.[15]

It will be an easy process if there are many diagnostic tests for identifying a mushroom allergy. But Unluckily there are very few available diagnostic tests to screen the allergic condition. Therefore it is difficult to identify potential lung diseases associated with these mushrooms.

How allergic reactions occur in your body??

Of Course, allergy starts If you are a mold sensitive person and you exposed to mushroom spores. Usually, allergic reactions occur due to unidentified cross-reactive proteins as we discussed above. Therefore following reactions may occur in the body

  • The body starts to produce allergic antibodies ( we call them Immunoglobulins)
  • Antibodies find these cross-reactive proteins and direct them to Mast cells (White blood cells)
  • They will destroy these protein molecules
  • As a result, histamine releases into the blood
  • When the concentration of histamine increases different symptoms starts to appear in the body[8]

Now let’s take a look at what are the symptoms of this allergy. You should know that the symptoms can be different based on the sensitivity of the body.

What are the Symptoms of mushroom allergy??

Clearly we mentioned in the above chapters that inhalation of spores can cause different disease conditions. You may get the following conditions,[4]

  • Asthma
  • Rhinitis
  • Coughing
  • and dyspnea

Clearly Rhinitis is an inflammation condition of mucous membranes ( it is a lining of the respiratory tract). Due to that, you may feel sneezing, stuffiness in the nose, or runniness nose. You will feel an overall discomfort situation in your nose.

When considering asthma, it is important to know that your body is more sensitive to molds. Otherwise, if you have asthma, exposure to these mushrooms will lead to severe asthma attacks!!

What about Dyspnea?? Well, it is a discomfort feeling related to breathing. Breathing becomes difficult in dyspnea. However, some refer to this as shortness in breathing[5]. Coughing also becomes severe in this allergic condition.

What are the mushroom allergy symptoms due to eating??

You should know that, Unlike due to inhalation, due to consumption, allergic relations are somewhat low. There is a limited number of cases on this. But if you are consuming mushrooms frequently there is a huge possibility of you subjecting to mushroom allergy. So you must know the below facts.

First, let’s see what are the most common mushroom species causing this allergy. Well, there are a few species that belonging to this allergenic category. But they are popular in Asian countries including Korea, China, Japan, etc.[6]. These species are,

  • Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
  • Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
  • Shimeji (Lyophyllum decastes)
  • Matsutake (Tricoloma matsutake


Some researchers suggest that the above mushroom types have a higher tendency for allergies. Shiitake is harmful in terms of inhalation and ingestion both. Now let’s see what are the symptoms associated?? [6],[7]

  • Edema
  • Urticaria
  • Skin rashes and irritations
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrheal conditions
  • Bloating of stomach etc

How do you diagnose mushroom allergy for sure??

Especially after eating mushrooms or handling mushrooms Look for symptoms. You should identify whether there are the above-mentioned symptoms in your body. If the symptoms are positive then you should go under medical supervision to make sure that you have a mushroom allergy.

Under the medical tests, you will undergo skin prick tests, Anterior rhinomanometry test, and provocation tests.[4]

In this Anterior rhinomanometry test, your airflow is recorded. Usually, in here one of your nostrils is covered and airflow is measured with suing a reference pressure. If there is a 40% reduction in your airflow, that means your allergy is positive [8]

Particularly skin prick test is done on your forearm. After doing the test they check for the test results after about 20 minutes.[9] If the diameter of the skin patch is greater than 3 mm, it’s possible that you have the allergy.

In terms of provocation tests, clearly doctors do them to determine the sensitivity of your lungs. More specifically they are to detect the prevalence of asthma[9]. In terms of mushroom allergy surely it takes about two and a half days for the test. One day for control day, another day for exposure, and a half-day for observations. If there are the following results, there is more possibility that you have allergic reactions[10].

  • Increase in your count of leucocytes
  • Temperature rise
  • Reduction of your total lung capacity

How do you prevent mushroom allergy??

If you want to prevent mushroom allergy, then you should control the factors causing the allergy. So, these are the thing that you can do to protect you from mushroom allergy.

  • First things first, protect yourself from exposure to mushrooms. And also prevent the frequent consumption of mushrooms if you have a body that has an allergic sensitive body[11]
  • Try as much as possible to avoid exposing to different molds
  • keep some antihistamine drugs such as brompheniramine, cetirizine, and hydroxyzine, etc.[12] to use in case of an allergy.
  • Furthermore, avoid cooking or handling mushrooms that are not familiar to you, Especially wild mushrooms.[14]
  • And also you must be cautious in eating packed foods like dried fruits and alcoholic beverages like wine and beer. Because they may induce allergic reactions. In addition products like pickle meat also creates the same reactions we discussed above. So be smart in choosing your food!!

How to treat mushroom allergy??

However, the first thing before treatment is prevention as mentioned above. For that, it is important that you prevent from exposure to mushrooms if you have allergy sensitive bodies.

  • It is very important that you intake the recommended anti-histaminic drugs such as brompheniramine, cetirizine, Chlorpheniramine, and clemastine, etc. Usually, you can use them in allergic conditions. And you can take them in oral form or as a nasal spray.[7]
  • Steroid sprays for inhalation are a good example of nasal sprays.
  • Particularly in certain studies, in lung difficulty, some patients have given prednisone and salmeterol for two months. Clearly, until the treatment period, the patient should avoid any form of mushrooms
  • In case of severe conditions, if you have serious symptoms, you will be given epinephrine or adrenaline injections.

In the bottom line, it’s important to say that always be cautious with the food you eat. Try as much as possible to cook your food properly. And try to avoid mushroom growing areas especially if you have asthma conditions.


Healthy food is one of the ultimate factor for healthy long-lasting life. As a Food scientist who completed BSc (Hons) Degree on Food Science and Technology, I like to use my knowledge in food science to help people. I'm interested in each and every topic related with modern food related health problems because it is the leading factor for most of the health problems today. So I would like to direct my efforts in educating people to lead a healthy life with healthy meals.

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