It seems that more and more often I'm seeing patients young and old in the office with conditions that are directly or indirectly connected to chronic inflammation or stress to the immune system caused by food sensitivities. You yourself may be one of these individuals or you at least know of someone that has some type of food "issue". I'm finding food allergy testing to be of great benefit to those who display many and varied symptoms affecting the neurological, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal and immune systems.
For some people, food allergies are quite obvious. You are probably familiar with the shellfish allergy that causes one to swell up around the mouth and face. Or the peanut allergy that can be life threatening. But other food allergies, I'll refer to these more as "sensitivities", can be much more difficult to see. The problem lies in the fact that these individuals continue to compulsively consume offending foods that contribute to their health challenges, all the while oblivious to the effect that they have on their physiology. These are termed delayed reaction food sensitivities and they contribute to symptoms that may not become apparent for many hours or even days after ingestion of the offending food.
This is becoming an all-to-common problem. Millions of Americans suffer from food sensitivities. There are dozens of conditions that can have at their root, these food sensitivities. Just for starters, some of the common conditions include: irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, migraine and other headaches, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, weight imbalances, skin eruptions, AD(H)D, autism spectrum disorders, seizures, Crohn's disease, tic disorders, endometriosis, learning disabilities, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and leaky gut syndrome. As you can see, this list can be quite extensive.
Some people with food sensitivities can tolerate a large amount of an offending food without ever experiencing any outward symptoms. Others may require only a minute amount of an offending food before symptoms are expressed. Still some others will only experience symptoms if multiple foods that cause sensitivities are combined together. The degree and severity of symptoms vary depending on the genetic makeup of the individual. The most important factor, however, is the individual patient's gut lining and its condition.
Food allergy testing can be quite complex. There are many ways to perform food allergy testing. Traditionally medical doctors will utilize a skin prick testing protocol. A major disadvantage to this test is the discomfort associated with it.Dozens of needles are used to inject small amounts of the food item being tested under the skin. Hives form when there is a positive reaction to the test substance. The hives are measured to determine the severity of the allergy. The whole process can be quite uncomfortable. Another test used often by medical doctors is the RAST test, which is a blood test.Both are immunoglobulin E (IgE) based tests. They measure one part of the immune system's reaction to the food, the immediate or short term reaction. They do not account for the delayed reactions that we've been discussing.
I use two different types of testing in my office. Both are blood tests. One is based on a different part of the immune system's reaction; IgG, which allows for a delayed response reading. This test measures 93 common foods for reactivity.This test is very affordable and requires only a pin prick on the finger to gather enough blood for the sample. It is done in the office with a minimum hassle.
The second test I use is a little more expensive and requires a full blood draw done at a lab. This test, however, is much more comprehensive. It is known as LEAP-MRT testing. It tests for 120 foods and 30 chemical food additives including common food preservatives and food colorings. This testing is known as Mediator Response Testing and is specific for certain chemical mediators that play a role in the immune system's reaction to foods. It is the most highly specific food allergy testing available. Another advantage to this system is the food re-introduction schedule that accompanies the report.
Yes, foods can be re-introduced into the diet that had been previously tested as positive. How is this so? Well remember I chose to refer to delayed responses as sensitivities rather than allergies. And remember how the lining of the gut can play a major role in the development of these food associated symptoms? Well now we get to the resolution…
These delayed onset food sensitivities can be reversed with a combination of an elimination diet and repair of the GI tract through nutritional means. Then the re-introduction of the previously offending foods can be done gradually with an eye to the response over time. In most cases, the complete elimination of symptoms can be achieved.
For more information on food allergy testing contact my office or another qualified physician with a focus on food allergies and their associated symptoms, identification and repair.
Dr. Donohoe is a family practice chiropractor who specializes in the unique needs of pregnant women and children. His office is located at 41880 Kalmia St., Suite 135 in Murrieta. He can be reached at 951-677-6500 or through his website atwww.DonohoeChiropractic.com.