Food Sensitivities & Food Allergies
Ig G Food Sensitivity
Ig G Food Sensitivity (or food intolerance) is a type IV delayed hypersensitivity reaction in the immune system that can occur a few hour and up 72 hours after ingestion of the reactive food. This window of time makes it difficult to link one’s symptom to the food eaten a day or two prior. Such hidden allergies are often the cause of many chronic symptoms. The immune response to delayed food reactions are often caused by antibodies other than Ig E. They are mediated by immunoglobulins: Ig G, Ig A, Ig M and Ig D. The Ig G antibody is the largest circulating antibody in our immune system (about 80-85% of our white blood cells) and can cross the placenta from mother to child. Ig G antibodies are the most common form of immunologic-mediated food responses. These antibodies combine with the food particles in the blood to form “immune complexes” which cause inflammatory reactions in tissues. Such inflammatory reactions can occur in any part of the body, thus producing many kinds of symptoms such as headache, eczema, joint pain, mental disorders, etc.
Ig E Food Allergy
Ig E Food Allergy is an Immediate Food Reaction that most people are familiar with. As the name implies, this food reaction can occur within minutes or up to 3 hours after ingestion. Peanuts that cause anaphylaxis in a child is an Ig E food allergy. The reaction is caused by the presence of a high Ig E antibody levels in the blood, which sets off an immediate allergic response. Ig E antibodies make up only a small percentage of our immune system (about 5-10% of our white blood cells), but exert the most severe and life threatening reactions. Symptoms can include rashes or full body hives after eating an apple, immediate vomiting or diarrhea from milk, or an intense headache after drinking wine. These reactions can be tested for by either an allergist or a naturopathic doctor.
Symptoms of food sensitivities
- Chronic constipation
- Heartburn or Indigestion
- Boating and gas
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Eczema or Itchy skin
- Migraines or headaches
- Immediate fatigue after a meal
- Increased heart rate
- Joint pain
- Respiratory problems
Common Signs, Symptoms or concerns patients present with in our office
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal Gas or Bloating
- Acid Reflux or Heart Burn
- Brain fog, poor memory, reduced concentration, poor focus
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Excessive Burping or Flatulence
- Food allergies or food intolerances.
- Skin problems: acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis & other rashes or itching
- Anxiety and Depression or other mood disorders
- Headaches or Migraines
- Yeast Overgrowth
- Difficulty losing weight, despite a balanced diet and exercise
- Lack of Appetite or Lethargy after eating
- Environmental Allergies (grass, pollen, etc.) or Asthma
- Hormonal Imbalances (painful heavy menses, PMS, PCOS, etc.)
- Autoimmune Conditions: Celiac Disease, Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, MS, psoriasis and others
- Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia
Two ways to identify food sensitivities
Food Sensitivity & Allergy Testing
The most common way I identify food sensitivities and food allergies in my practice is via a blood draw. Your sample is shipped to a lab to assess for Ig G reactions via ELISA testing. This is a highly sensitive test and comes with a recommendation booklet, shopping list and resources.
The benefit of a food sensitivity panel is that it provides a clear outline of food sensitivities as well as the severity of the sensitivity. In addition, yeast antibodies for Candida can easily be added to this panel if you suspect a yeast overgrowth.
The major disadvantage for most people is cost for testing, in addition to requiring a liberal and unrestricted diet for a few weeks prior to your blood draw (not ideal if want to confirm an actual Ig E allergy to a food). Also, this test will not be accurate if you are regularly taking anti-histamine medications (Benadryl, Claritin) or immunosuppressants such as prednisone.
The elimination diet is akin to the 28-day detoxification diet. They really accomplish the same thing. The removal of the most common inflammatory foods allows for a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in health such as good liver function, glowing skin, improved energy and sleep, and more. Foods are then re-introduced one at a time, usually every 4 days and in their simplest form first, and if symptoms re-occur, then a food sensitivity is suspected, noted and avoided.
The most common food sensitivities I see in my practice include: dairy, gluten, eggs, tree nuts, soy and corn. The elimination diet is the most cost-effective way to identify food sensitivities but does require patients to be self-aware of their reactions and follow a strict diet. We provide you with a shopping list and avoidance list, clean recipe resources and additional protein supplementation to ease the burden of food preparation.
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