American Academy of Allergy and Immunology`s
Committee on Adverse Reactions to Foods in cooperation with the National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases compiled a monograph in 1984
outlining the "state of the art" in adverse reactions to foods (NIH Publication 84-2442 July 1984). The categories of
possible adverse reactions to foods they listed are outlined below:
Generalized reactions: ANAPHYLAXIS
Skin reactions: URTICARIA/ANGIOEDEMA (hives), ATOPIC DERMATITIS (eczema), DERMATITIS HERPETIFORMIS
Respiratory System Reactions: ALLERGIC RHINITIS & CONJUNCTIVITIS, SEROUS OTITIS MEDIA (earache), BRONCHIAL ASTHMA, HEINER`S SYNDROME (milk-induced)
Gastrointestinal Tract Reactions: ALLERGIC GASTROENTERITIS, EOSINOPHILIC
GASTROENTERITIS, GASTROINTESTINAL BLEEDING, PROTEIN-LOSING ENTEROPATHY, CELIAC
DISEASE (Gluten-sensitivity), ULCERATIVE COLITIS, ORAL AND PHAYNGEAL
PRURITIS (itching), NONSPECIFIC PERIORAL
RASH, PERIANAL RASH (Diaper rash), COLIC
Nervous System Reactions: HEADACHES, CLUSTER HEADACHE, SINUS HEADACHE,
Behavioral Reactions: TENSION-FATIGUE SYNDROME, ATTENTION-DEFICIT DISORDER
Miscellaneous: VASCULITIS, SUDDEN INFANT DEATH
SYNDROME (SIDS), THROMBOCYTOPENIA, ENURESIS (loss of bladder control;
bedwetting), CARDIAC ARRTHYMIA, MUSCULOSKELETAL
Poisoning from natural toxic agents
Poisoning from food contamination by infectious agents
Natural pharmacologic agents in foods (ex: goitrogenic:
cabbage family, turnip, soybeans, and possibly watercress, radishes, rapeseed,
Metabolic reactions as a result of food ingestion
you can see there are many ways that food can cause reactions. Although technically,
only those reactions that involve the immune system, and specifically include
the involvement of IgE (an immunoglobulin associated with a rapid onset of
symptoms), are called "Food Allergies." Beyond food allergies, there
are a variety of other immune mechanisms by which the body can react and there
are even more ways the body can react to food without involving the immune
system. Because of this, we term those reactions that involve the immune system
in a primary/principle way as being "hypersensitivities" and the
non-immune based reactions as "intolerances."
are many ways to try to assess food hypersensitivities and/or intolerances.
Each has limitations:
- Allergy skin
tests are rapid, inexpensive, and considered by traditional allergist
to be accurate. They can be helpful when positive but do not include
non-IgE mediated immune reactions to foods or other ingested agents.
- Blood tests include methods
to detect allergies caused by IgE (typically rapid onset) or IgG
(typically slower and mre prolonged reactions)
antibodies. Drawing blood is required, they can be expensive, but have the
advantage of having a wider array of foods available than skin tests.
Tests using IgG may help identify foods that cause delayed reactions but
may only indicate recent or recurrent intake or poor digestion rather than
allergic or hypersensitivity reactions. Other immunologic tests include
the ELISA/ACT/LRA that reportedly reveals other
type of immune reactions. There are over 300 items available but it is
expensive. If foods/items reactive on an ELISA/ACT/LRA
are avoided as outlined by the laboratory, scientific studies have shown
improvement in immune-related conditions but not always observed in my
practice. None of the above procedures identifies foods/items that cause
metabolic reactions without an immune basis.
- Muscle tests or other Applied
Kinesiology techniques can help but are dependent on the skill of the
tester and are considered controversial by traditional medical doctors.
Electromagnetic and resistance type tests use a similar basis for finding
intolerances but also depend on the skill of the tester, the device being
used, and are controversial.
- A Diet Diary
with food avoidance of "high-risk" foods or by use of defined
rotational diets often provides the most convincing information and is
without any financial expense. See the section on Mini-Food Meals for a
practical way of testing foods.
kinds of conditions might Food Allergies be worth exploring?
- Recurring ear
infections: food allergies are important in 85-93% by causing the lining
of the eustachian tube and middle ear to swell
and produce more mucus. The result is stagnant and excessive mucus, which
is perfect for bacteria to overgrow. In one study, 14% had food allergies,
16% had inhaled allergies, and 70% had both. Proper food avoidance works
Conditions such as SLE, MS, RA, etc.
- Atopic Dermatitis and
- Irritable Bowel
Syndrome and Dyspepsia
- Frequent colds,
chronic sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma.
Problems like ADD, ADHD, ODD, Autism, etc. Although not considered a
treatment for these conditions, many children's behavior improves
dramatically with the proper dietary restrictions.
type of testing required warrants a discussion between the patient and Dr.
Kaslow to determine which method is best.