A food allergy is an abnormal response by the immune system to a food trigger. Development of food allergies is dependent on a number of factors including timing of exposure to the allergenic food, frequency of consuming the allergenic food, and the integrity of the gastrointestinal system. Food allergies are implicated in a wide variety of conditions.
At times, it is clear that an allergy exists as seen in some people who have life-threatening reactions to peanuts. There are other types of allergies that do not create life threatening reactions, but do cause annoying symptoms and low grade chronic inflammation that may not be obvious and appear as hidden allergies.
Types of Food Reactions:
Immediate Food Reaction As the name implies, this food reaction can occur within 3 hours after digestion. The reaction is caused by the presence of a high IgE antibody level in the blood, which sets off an immediate allergic response. By keen observation, many people are able to identify these types of allergies easily.
Delayed Food Reaction Delayed food reactions can occur up to several days after ingestion of the reactive food, making it difficult to link one’s symptom to the food eaten several days ago. 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 IgE. They are IgG, IgA, IgM and IgD. 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.
Diagnosis of Food Allergies IgE antibodies cause immediate food reactions. Delayed food reactions are often associated with IgG4 antibodies, a subclass of the whole IgG molecule. The food allergy test that I use measures both IgE and IgG4 antibodies.
The following is an incomplete list of conditions that could be associated with both IgE and IgG4 allergies:
- Asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis, sinusitis
- Recurrent infections
- Recurrent Bladder Infections
- Chronic ear infections
- Canker Sores and mouth ulcers
- Chronic Back Pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome (constipation and/or diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, gas)
- Peptic ulcers and gastritis
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Joint Pain
- Skin Rash
- Eczema, psoriasis
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Sleep disturbances
- Learning disability
- Infantile colic and infantile colitis
- Premenstrual symptoms
- Fluid retention
- Excessive sleepiness
- Schizophrenia and other mental conditions
- Aggravation of diabetes
- Some kidney diseases
- Gall bladder symptoms
- Facial flushing
- Some types of palpitations
- Weight problems
Consideration of food allergy testing is a critical component of any comprehensive approach to ill health or disease prevention.
The test I most commonly suggest is the Basic E-95 food panel which is a blood test, and tests for 95 foods. Some people choose the larger test that consists of 190 foods. A Candida screen is also done with both of these food panels.
In 2013, in the archived blog section of this site, I wrote a post entitled: "The Non-Bogosity of IgG4 Food Intolerance".
Food allergy testing provided by the conventional medical system in Smithers, only measures for IgE antibodies (immediate food reactions), not for both IgE and IgG4 antibodies (immediate and delayed food reactions). As well, only a handful of foods are tested for by conventional medical testing, which produces a very incomplete picture of allergies and hypersensitivity reactions that a patient may have. That is why I test in this comprehensive way; more information results in better outcomes.