It is estimated that 1 in 6 people are sensitive or allergic to certain foods and that many health, psychological and behavioral problems are due to food allergies. However, conventional methods of allergy testing often fail to identify allergies in patients.
I see many patients who have spent frustrating years trying to understand their health problems, only to find that they actually have food allergies. It is not surprising that many of these patients or parents of allergic children tell me they suspected allergies for the first time, but their suspicions were rejected by their doctors after their test results were negative. It is thanks to sheer persistence that these patients eventually find the answers they were looking for.
Types of food allergies
A food allergy can trigger an immediate or delayed reaction to food. This and whether the reaction involves high levels of antibodies determines what type of food allergy it is.
Type l. Immediately or immediately after eating food, you show clear and often dramatic symptoms. If you are allergic to mushrooms, you may develop abdominal cramps within an hour of eating a mushroom ragout. A child with a type 1 reaction to kiwis may experience severe itching in the mouth or vomiting within 15 minutes of consuming a kiwi.
Type 1 food allergies cause high levels of IgE antibodies in the blood, so they can be easily diagnosed by tests for these antibodies. Many doctors consider IgE-mediated allergies to be the only true allergies, yet most food allergies are not mediated by Ige. It is estimated that only 3-5% of children and 1-2% of adults are affected by type I food allergies.
Anaphylaxis – a serious reaction that can be fatal in minutes – is a type 1 reaction. Warning signs are dizziness, lightheadedness, swollen tongue or throat, breathing difficulties, fainting or swelling of the face immediately after eating. Get immediate emergency care.
Type ll. Although not considered a true allergy by more conservative doctors, a type II reaction still causes high levels of antibodies, usually IgA, IgG and IgM, as well as the typical inflammatory reactions.
Type lll. Delayed reactions are often not recognized because symptoms are generally not evident and can occur days after food intake. In addition, as they do not involve IgE antibodies, delayed allergic reactions do not occur with standard skin tests or some blood tests. On the contrary, they manifest themselves as groups of physical, behavioral and learning symptoms that simultaneously affect different body systems. L-type allergies are therefore often called “hidden” allergies.
A person with type II food allergies can suffer from recurrent breathlessness, mucous throat, sporadic hyperactivity and emotional fluctuations, chronic stuffy nose and flu-like symptoms. For another person, symptoms may include headache, itchy eyes, stomach pain, depression, fatigue, sleep problems and enlarged lymph nodes.
These delayed reaction patterns of food allergy are difficult to diagnose. However, health professionals believe they explain most food allergies, especially in children. In my opinion, any indefinite disease model involving different symptoms and different body symptoms should be taken as a probable sign of food allergy until proven otherwise.
Effective tests for food allergies
Given the prevalence of food allergies, other methods of analysis are required. The most common non-standard test is the rolling diet. Common allergenic foods and suspected food allergens are eliminated from the diet for 4-7 days, then reintroduced. When the body is given the opportunity to eliminate food allergens, the symptoms usually decrease or disappear. By reintroducing the food, you make the symptoms reappear, allowing you to identify exactly which foods affect you.
Kinesthetic and energy tests
Many natural therapists test allergies by identifying the energy disturbances caused by different foods. Some methods work on the principle that these ailments will temporarily weaken the long muscles of the body, while others use energy technology to identify which foods cause disturbances in the body’s energy fields. Although not yet accepted as valid tests by conventional medicine, these test methods are providing discoveries to thousands of patients whose allergies had not previously been diagnosed.