The rate of food allergies has more than doubled in the past 10 years alone. An extraordinary amount of people now suffer from allergies, however, not everyone realises it. I myself thought I had no allergies, however, when I got tested I was highly allergic to pineapple. I used to drink pineapple juice nearly every day. I was surprised by the result but decided to eliminate pineapple and its juice from my diet. In doing so, I must admit I felt generally alot better. Over the years since I have sent away over 1000 tests for people and to date I have had only 6 tests show absolutely NO allergies. Most come back with 4 -4 5 allergy foods and some can be 20 or over. That shows how common they are.
Most people think of allergies as sneezing, hay fever and skin rashes. While this is certainly true for some, allergies can also manifest as headaches, bloating, hot flushes, lethargy, constipation, diarrhoea, joint pain, sleeplessness, fatigue and much more. What’s worse is - allergies can increase your risk factor for more serious chronic illnesses.
I believe if you don’t know what you are allergic to, you are not doing everything you can to maintain a high level of wellness for your life.
When you consume foods that you are allergic to, it creates inflammation in your body. Histamines are released which are pro-inflammatory and if this goes on long-term the inflammation levels can become a real problem. Inflammation is fast becoming recognised as one of the key factors in all modern day illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis and more. Anything we can do to keep inflammation levels down will help to prevent these chronic illnesses. Dr Dwight Lundell www.heartattackprofessor.com was a leading cardiovascular surgeon who says that in over 5000 heart operations he performed the only thing they all had in common was inflammation. He claims it wasn’t the cholesterol or the saturated fat in their diets that caused their problems, it was ‘Inflammation’. Dr Lundell has quit operating on heart patients and chooses now to educate people on how NOT to end up on the operating table.
There are 5 main types of allergies – IgG, IgE, IgA, IgM and IgD.
IgE allergies are the most common type of allergies tested. These tests are usually done by a General Practitioner as skin prick tests ranging from 5 to 20 foods, grasses, pollens and dust/dust mites. The main foods tested are wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, soy and peanuts. These tests show allergies that can develop due to an excessive consumption of that particular food or foods in the same food group. They can also develop due to an under-functioning immune system. The good news is; by avoiding those particular allergy foods and improving the immune system, the allergy response can reduce or even be eliminated. IgE allergies usually account for around 10% - 15% of allergy problems. Some Naturopaths have testing equipment that they use to test IgE allergies also.
IgA and IgD allergies combined account for around 5% of allergy problems. These are usually tested in cases of coeliac disease and major gut issues. Someone with IgA mediated problems is likely to have inherited a Selective IgA Deficiency. This deficiency renders them more prone to infections. Fortunately it is not very common.
Immunoglobulin D (IgD) deficiency is a defect of humoral immunity that is characterized by abnormally low serum levels of IgD immunoglobulins. Little is known about the normal function of IgD, and few clinical signs or symptoms are associated with its absence. Individuals with low or absent levels of IgD do not appear unusually predisposed to infections.
IgM allergies Selective deficiency of immunoglobulin M (sIgM-D) is an immune disorder that has been reported in association with serious infections, such as bacteraemia. Cumulatively, there have been fewer than 200 to 300 cases reported in the literature, and understanding of this condition is therefore preliminary.
The Great Plains Laboratory has this to say;
Allergy or Chemical Reaction?
Intolerance to certain foods, especially gluten (wheat related grains) and casein (milk protein), is a common occurrence among children with developmental delays. Before adopting an elimination diet, however, many parents consult an allergist to determine if the diet is necessary. Surprisingly, after extensive scratch testing, the child is often found not to be allergic to any foods. Some parents choose to eliminate gluten and casein proteins anyway, and find their youngster responds with improved attention, sleep and/or language skills.
How is this improvement possible if the child was not allergic in the first place? The answer lies in understanding the difference between allergies and other types of chemical reactions within the body.
IgE versus IgG Reactions
Allergies are defined as specific reactions within the immune system involving an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Immediate responses such as hives, congestion or swelling typically result from IgE activity. Traditional scratch testing identifies IgE triggers such as pollen or peanuts, which can cause symptoms that range from annoying to lethal.
Very different responses are delayed allergy reactions. If they occur more than two hours after eating a food, they may result from immunoglobulin G (IgG) rather than IgE activity. IgG reactions may cause symptoms such as sleep disturbances, subsequent bed wetting, sinus and ear infections, or crankiness. Blood tests rather than scratch tests are the only way to screen for IgG allergies.
Where immunoglobulins are involved, the word “allergy” can legitimately be used to describe symptoms after exposure. A reaction to gluten or casein sometimes shows up in IgG or IgA blood testing, and is, therefore, referred to as an “allergy.”
Dr Stephen Wangen from Seattle USA reports -
IgA and IgG antibodies are simply two different types of antibodies that the immune system can produce in reaction to something. They are both valuable (as are IgE antibodies).
We know from experience that IgG antibody reactions are frequently at the root of many food reactions. However, we also know that sometimes there is no IgG reaction even when there is an IgA reaction.
IgG allergies account for around 80% - 85% of allergy problems and appear to be long-term responses. In theory, IgG allergies can disappear if the person refrains from eating those foods for an extended period and improves the immune system. In my experience, I have yet to see these IgG allergies reverse. I know many people who have avoided the foods for years and improved their level of wellbeing significantly, yet still they react to their IgG allergy foods years later. This is why I believe it is vital to know what your IgG allergies are and avoid them. It may save you alot of trouble later. This test can be done by drawing blood or by a simple finger prick sample. The tests done for IgG’s are often the ELISA testing. See the article below:
IgG Food Allergy Testing by ELISA/EIA
What Do They Really Tell Us?
by Sheryl B. Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD
Clinical Laboratory Director
Bastyr University Natural Health Clinic
Adverse reactions to food may initiate a myriad of physiological effects in the body. These reactions may be immunologically or non-immunologically mediated and can result in signs and symptoms ranging in severity from mild to life threatening anaphylaxis. Although the majority of severe reactions are thought to be immunological and mediated via IgE, other immune globulins, such as IgG and IgA, may play a role in adverse reactions to food as well.
The clinical laboratory has historically played an important role in the diagnosis and management of patients with allergy. This role has been more clearly defined with the diagnosis of IgE mediated adverse reactions and less well defined with the diagnosis of other immunologic aetiologies or adverse reactions of non-immunologic origin. Diagnosis of food allergy, in particular, has classically involved the detection of IgE antibodies with a variety of different methodologies.
Of late, a number of clinical laboratories have set up ELISA/EIA (Enzyme Immunoassays) panels to test the presence of IgG antibodies in patients to numerous food allergens. This is based on the findings that certain subclasses of IgG have been associated with the in vitro degranulation of basophils and mast cells, the activation of the complement cascade, (both of which are important mechanisms in allergy and anaphylaxis) and the observation that high circulating serum concentrations of some IgG subtypes have been measured in certain atopic individuals. The premise behind this testing is that high circulating levels of IgG antibodies are correlated with clinical food allergy signs and symptoms. These tests, one might extrapolate, would help the physician pinpoint food allergies in their patients so that patients might avoid these foods and their associated signs and symptoms. The ELISA/EIA test itself involves coating a 96 well plate with food antigens, adding a patient's sera and looking for a classic antigen/antibody interaction. In addition to the IgG antibody detected in most of the newer commercial assays, some companies also detect IgE.
Food allergy panels have found an increasing popularity among physicians who are looking for a reliable method to aid in the diagnosis of an otherwise difficult diagnostic problem. Up until now, the only methods for the detection of food allergy included skin tests, elimination and challenge diets, or double blind placebo controlled oral food challenges. Skin tests, although fairly reliable for the detection of IgE to environmental allergens, are not well correlated with food allergy signs and symptoms. Placebo controlled food challenges and elimination/challenge diets are extremely time consuming for the patient and practitioner and elimination/challenge diets require a high degree of patient motivation and compliance.
The detection of food allergies with the use of food allergy panels, in contrast to the previously mentioned methodologies, is easy and convenient for both patient and physician. One need only submit a blood sample from the patient and the laboratory returns not only the foods the patient is allergic to but a rotation or elimination diet for the patient.
There are many different things in our environment that can create allergies and sensitivities to foods, such as a high chemical load in our western diet. The addition of pesticides, fertilisers, and soil top dressings may have had a significant impact on our immune system over the last few generations, making us more reactive to things which were once considered ‘normal’ for us to eat (ie. peanuts, corn and wheat). I wonder if we had remained organic for the past 70 years, would we be seeing the same rates of allergies and illness in general?
Something else which can have a major impact on the human immune system is the huge amount of toxic chemicals that have found their way into the homes of every Westerner. From shampoos to lipstick to laundry powders an enormous range of chemicals has made its way into these products and most people have no idea that they could be creating a multitude of health problems. Even products which advertise themselves as ‘natural’ can still contain many toxic chemicals, as long as they have at least one natural ingredient contained in them. Perfumes, for example, are often just blends of different chemicals mixed together to create a pleasant smell. Oftentimes, single chemicals get tested for their safety, but rarely does anyone test what happens when a variety of chemicals are mixed together. Scientists readily admit that there is no proof that various chemicals when mixed together remain safe. I believe that we have seen a dramatic shift in the health of the last generation due to the build-up effect that these chemicals are having. After all, many chemicals were not found that way in nature and since when did nature harm anyone. How many people have been poisoned by ‘chamomile’ for instance. Possibly none, and yet, there is a high rate of adverse reactions from ‘chemical based’ personal care products.
In 1997, Senator Edward Kennedy stated – ‘Cosmetics can be dangerous to your health. Yet this greedy industry wants Congress to prevent the American people from learning that truth. Every woman who uses face cream, hair spray, lipstick, shampoo, mascara or powder should demand that this arrogant and irresponsible power-play by the industry be rejected. A study by the respected non-partisan General Accounting Office reported that more than 125 ingredients available for use in cosmetics are suspected of causing cancer. Other cosmetics may cause adverse effects on the nervous system, including convulsions. Still other ingredients are suspected of causing birth defects. A carefully controlled study found that one in every sixty users suffered a cosmetic related injury identified by a physician.’
“Untoward reactions to cosmetics, toiletries, and topical applications are the commonest single reason for hospital referrals with allergic contact dermatitis”, according to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology.
It is important to understand however that the term ‘chemical’ is very broad and many natural and non-toxic ingredients can still be termed ‘chemicals’. This is why it is so confusing for the public to decipher which ingredients are safe and which are not, and how it is easy for them to fall prey to clever marketing tactics.
Mineral deficiencies may also be a trigger for a lowered immune system creating a decreased level of general health and increasing the risk of food reactions. Since most Westerners consume a mineral poor diet due to the level of soil deficiencies and the sprays that are used, it stands to reason that we may need to top up our mineral levels via supplementation. Colloidal mineral formulas are one of the most effective ways to absorb the extra minerals we need. My recommendation is to source a mineral formula that has not been bleached and made to look nice to drink, but to find one that is still in its natural state, which is usually muddy looking. Colloidal minerals are tiny particles only 1/7000th of the size of a red blood cell, so absorption is almost 100%. The greater our mineral levels, the better our immune system functions. High mineral levels also minimise the absorption of heavy metals from our environment, further protecting our immune system.
Lastly, one of the best things we can do to reduce our risk of allergies (particularly IgG’s) is to ensure we always have high levels of good gut bacteria. It has been shown that good bacteria actively prevent the sensitivities and allergies from developing in the first place. By eating a good diet and supplementing with some probiotics we can keep the health of the gut strong enough to keep these problems at bay. Many people think that yoghurt is the best way to increase good bacteria, however, there is very minimal bacteria in yoghurt and around 80% of people tested for IgG allergies show a reaction to dairy, in which case they should be avoiding yoghurt altogether. I recommend a capsule or powder form of probiotics. The ideal way to supplement is with a separate form of probiotics and prebiotics that you mix together just prior to consumption.
Click on the allergies link on the home page to find out how you can test for food allergies.
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