A Confusing Topic

Last week I had a mother and daughter in the office…daughter has some food sensitivities and mom wanted clarification about how long these would last and how we can be sure they are “real”.

The short answer is, yes they are real, and it is hard to know how long these sensitivities may last. It’s complicated! There are many kinds of antibodies that can be formed to any food, and each type would have to be tested to make a positive ID. That being said, the very best way to assess a possible food sensitivity is by elimination diet, because food allergy testing by any method, whether it be by blood, scratch, saliva, even stool, can be inaccurate. In fact, I generally consider any negative finding with suspicion until all antibody reactions have been tested and until even the elimination diet reveals no change when off the suspected food.

Let me explain. In the lining of the intestines there is an immune factor called SIgA. When immunity is diminished due to infection (often silent) or chronic stress, the lining of the intestinal tract cannot make enough of the IgA antibodies to signal an allergic response. Hence, it is always important to measure the SIgA as well as the IgA antibodies in order to ascertain how accurate the allergy response is to any specific food because a weak immune response would give a false negative. Gluten allergies almost always occur in the gut lining. Therefore,again, I never accept a negative gluten test as true unless the total SIgA has also been measured. We use saliva testing to assess other foods’ IgA reactions as well, not only to gluten but also to dairy, soy, eggs and corn. Food allergy testing kits can be found on our website, www.bewellassociates.com.

Another type of food sensitivity occurs in the blood. These are the IgG antibodies that give a delayed response to allergenic foods, and so are difficult to identify as the trigger to various symptoms. This type of reaction is most often the result of intestinal hyper-permeability, or “leaky gut”*. Leaky gut is the breakdown of the integrity of the lining of the intestinal tract so that is changes from its normal impermeable state to a compromised permeable state. Several possible causes of leaky gut include antibiotic use without balancing probiotics, chronic infections (bacterial or fungal), overuse of NSAIDS (such as ibuprofen) and steroids (prednisone) and chronic underconsumption of protein. People often become sensitive to the foods they eat more often, because these foods are always in their system and the food proteins leak out into the bloodstream, causing the IgG reactions.

The tricky thing about the IgG antibodies is that a reaction can occur up to 48 hours after ingesting a trigger food. Signs and symptoms of the IGG reactions include just about any physical symptom that can plague people. This is the antibody we test most often as it is difficult to identify trigger foods by a diet diary or symptom survey alone. IgG Food Allergy test is a blood test and can be ordered at www.bewellassociates.com. We offer a regular serum blood test (90 foods) as well as a bloodspot home collection kit (30 foods).

The IgE antibodies are the ones you read about in the paper- dramatic and immediate reactions that might include anaphylaxsis, hives, itching, etc. I never test for these as most people know if they have this type of reaction to a food! You can’t miss it!

Reversing some food allergies is possible through a combination of strategies. Healing the gut lining is key, and is often accomplished by the use of Glutamine, the amino acid that is the main food for this membrane. Digesting the allergenic proteins is the job of a special class of enzymes called proteolytic enzymes. Our product, Allerg-zyme is very effective in speeding the breakdown of the immune complexes that circulate in the bloodstream as a result of food sensitivities. Many of these Immune Complexes break down over time.

Once the lining of the digestive tract heals up and no further proteins leak out into the blood stream, some of the trigger foods can be reintroduced. The IgG Food Allergy Profile