Food Allergy Testing – What You Need to Know

Food allergies have increased by up to 500% since the 1990s based on data collected from hospital visits. There is also a dramatic increase in other allergic conditions including asthma, hay fever and skin conditions.

This blog aims to give an overview to food allergies – an otherwise, very complex and individual issue.

These days, a lot of people simply believe they are gluten-intolerant due in some part to the popularity of gluten-free life style news in the media and products on grocery store shelves, but the bottom-line is – until you are tested, your symptoms could be one of 100 or more possibilities.

A food allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction resulting in an abnormal immune response to a substance (allergen) that should be harmless. Food allergies have been identified as being mediated by a specific antibody (IgE), but new research and testing is now encouraging doctors to explore the role other types of antibodies may play in disease, ­specifically IgG and IgA.

IgE-mediated responses are quite severe and usually need hospitalizations, while IgG and IgA-­mediated responses are often less severe, and symptoms often seem more generalized. Symptoms from IgG-­mediated allergic responses may manifest as skin and complexion issues, headaches/migraines, nervousness and irritability, fatigue, joint aches, immune compromise, gas and bloating, inflammatory bowel disease, and other more common allergic responses such as itchy watery eyes, runny nose, and swelling.

Allergies can be identified through two major ways: testing and elimination diets. Blood testing (IgG), or skin prick testing (IgE) are common ways and seem to be most accurate.

It must be pointed out that correct identification of the type of reaction in an individual is critical.

After identifying any food allergens, most patients will have at least one to three triggers. Although wheat, dairy, and eggs are among the most common, reactions vary much with each person. The patient is asked to refrain from their food triggers for around one month or longer depending on the severity of reaction and symptoms.

This amount of time will allow the, gastrointestinal tract a chance to heal and lower general inflammation and its associated symptoms.

Often a complimentary supplement prescription will go with this healing time. Vitamins, amino acids, herbs, and probiotics may be prescribed to aid in the rebuilding of gastrointestinal system and to help re-balance the immune system.

After elimination of the food allergens for the prescribed amount of time, foods can generally be reintroduced back into the diet in rotation through a meal plan that cycles them a few times a week at the most, to see if the previous symptoms recur.

We strongly recommend that patients keep a diary during the entire elimination and reintroduction of food diet including food preparation methods. For our patients, this record becomes a vital part of a patient’s history down the road for later care.

For further information on our testing services, please contact our offices through our contact page by email or phone.

Posted in dairy-free, Food Medicine, Gluten-free, Health, nut-free, Well Being.