Food Allergy Testing
Food allergies and sensitivities are abnormal responses to a food component triggered by the immune system in the form of immunoglobulins (IgE, IgG, IgA). The response may be immediate or delayed. Specific IgE food panels include the major food groups and types.
* IgG Delayed-Response Testing – 154 foods, including Elimination Diet and Rotational food plan
* IgE Environmental & Foods Testing
Food Allergy Tests & Sensitivity Awareness
There is growing concern surrounding our food supply and the increasing emergence of food intolerance, sensitivities, and allergies. Detailed analysis of food allergy testing is often required to diagnose this impact on your health. An explanation of the differences between these food-provocation challenges is a logical starting point for today’s discussion.
* Food Intolerance: a well-known example of a food intolerance involves a person who is “lactose intolerant,” meaning they lack the necessary enzyme to break down/metabolize lactose, a sugar contained in milk products. This does not involve an immune-mediated response.
* Food Sensitivity: food sensitivities involve the immune-mediated reaction known as the IgG delayed response. This refers to the immune system responding/reacting generally to protein complexes from an offending food source (antigen), causing the immune system to produce antibodies to that antigen.
* Food Allergy: food allergies, while much rarer in the general population, are a much more serious immune system reaction involving a more immediate IgE response to the offending food (antigen). Two well documented examples of this occurrence involve peanuts and shellfish.
Immune System Responses
* IgG Delayed Sensitivity Reaction
This is an immune response to an offending food (antigen) causing the production of antibodies to the antigen. This delayed reaction (24-72 hours after the ingestion of the offending food) results in mild to moderate symptoms that can include gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, cognitive impairment, and skin conditions. Due to the delayed sensitivity response, most people have difficulty discerning which foods are causing these symptoms and need to rely on food sensitivity testing to identify the culprits. This is not a life-threatening situation, but it can adversely affect one’s quality of life and pursuit of optimal wellness.
* IgE Hypersensitivity Reaction
This reaction to an offending food involves immunoglobulin E and happens within minutes of an exposure to an offending food source. This potentially life-threatening emergency can quickly develop into anaphylactic shock and is usually treated with an Epi-Pen injection and immediate transport to the ER. A common symptom is severe respiratory distress that necessitates prompt treatment and support. This reaction is much rarer in the general population, but obviously much more serious to one’s welfare. This is also associated with airborne irritants such as pollen, dust, animal dander, and some bites/stings.
Food Allergy / Sensitivity Health Issues
* Crohn’s disease
* ulcerative colitis
* Candida albicans
* weight gain
* irritable bowel syndrome
* gastric/duodenal ulcers
* celiac disease
Food Allergy Testing Options
* IgG Delayed Food Sensitivity/Allergy Assay – The majority of adverse immune reactions to foods classified as Type II, III, or IV with delayed symptom onset are mediated by IgG and are termed food sensitivities. It has been estimated that 90% of immune reactions to foods are non-IgE, or delayed symptom onset food allergies.
* IgG ELISA Immuno 1 Bloodprint – 115 foods sensitivity assay
* IgG Pediatric Delayed Food Allergy Assay – 88 foods sensitivity assay
* IgE Hypersensitivity Allergy Assay – This test can screen for food allergies and/or airborne allergens.
* IgE Airborne and/or Food Allergy Assay – 36 items
* Candida albicans Immunoassay – A form of Candidiasis has emerged which manifests symptoms that are often systemic and cause considerable discomfort. It usually originates as an overgrowth of the fungal form of Candida and can result from courses of steroids, antibiotics, OC, and ingestion of high amounts of sugar, yeast, and simple/refined carbohydrates.
* Tissue Transglutaminase Antibody Assay (tTG) – Celiac disease and dermatitis herpatiformis, the two recognized forms of gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE), are characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestinal mucosa and flattening of the epithelium inhibiting nutrient absorption. Intolerance to gluten, the protein of barley, rye, oat and wheat (BROW), causes GSE. GSE patients have an increased risk of developing lymphoma, but the condition can be controlled by a non-gluten diet.
* Anti-gliadin Antibody Assay – Gliadin is the protein component of gluten which will cause the production of anti-gliadin antibodies in affected people. Over 100 chronic conditions, including celiac disease, have been associated with increased levels of anti-gliadin antibody. The anti-gliadin antibody assay is only a screening test and must be followed by the complementary test, the tTG, in those patients testing positive in the AGA.
* Milk & Egg Sub-Fractions – This assay is performed to determine whether a patient can eat components of milk and eggs, or must avoid the entire food source. In preparing cheese, for example, milk is separated into curds and whey. Cheese is made from curds, with casein its major component. Whey proteins, on the other hand, consist of Alpha-lactalbumin (ALA), Beta-lactoglobulin (BLG), Bovine serum albumin (BSA), and lactoferrin (LF).
These 5 protein subfractions of milk are tested individually, so if one tests positive to casein, they should avoid cheese. If they test positive to any of the 4 whey proteins, they should avoid whey proteins in their diet. The same approach extends to egg yolks and whites.
Elimination and Rotation Diets
* Elimination Diet: the offending foods are removed from the diet for a 90-day period to allow the body/immune system to hopefully desensitize to these foods, followed by gradual re-introduction of the +1, +2 foods, one at a time.
* Rotation Diet: ideally, this is begun simultaneously with the elimination diet, with intent of offering the immune system a wide array and variety of non-offending foods identified through testing. The theory is that, by not over-exposing the body to a small number of foods, the likelihood of developing future sensitivities is greatly lessened.
* Gut Repair: probiotics, amino acids
Dr. David M. Newirth is a naturopathic doctor and operator of Alaska Natural Health Solutions in Anchorage, AK. He can be contacted @ 907-569–5757.