Improvements in laboratory techniques have made blood testing for food and airborne allergens more reliable than they previously were. The test should include both IgE and IgG antibodies in order to identify both immediate and delayed type allergens.
While an elimination diet is less expensive, it is more cumbersome and may result in confusion or discouragement, particularly in children.
Before having your blood tested, be sure to include any food you are suspicious of in your diet. The lab test may not indicate a reaction if you are not currently consuming that food.
Good laboratories for this kind of testing can be found on our links page.
As many as 50% of sufferers will improve by avoiding food allergens such as dairy, wheat, corn and eggs.
Teeth grinding may be aggravated by certain foods in some individuals.
Constipation triggered by food allergies might be responsible for chronic constipation in some adults. Individual foods, such as milk and milk-containing products, may be at fault in some individuals.
Food allergy may be a factor in as many as 80% of migraine sufferers. In one study of 60 patients, the average number of foods causing symptoms was 10 per patient. All patients improved when offending foods were eliminated and 85% became headache free. All 15 patients who had high blood pressure at start of study saw blood pressure return to normal. The following were most often implicated as a cause of migraine: cow's milk (30%); eggs (27%); chocolate (25%); oranges and wheat (24%); cheese and tomatoes (15%). Common food triggers of migraines were milk products, sweets, corn, beef, coffee and teas amongst others. While food allergies are an important factor in migraines, they play less of a role in tension type headaches.
Allergies to one or more foods are often found in children with ADHD. Frequent offenders are milk, cane sugar, chocolate, American cheese, and wheat. [Annals Allergy Vol. 72, 1994, pp. 462-8]
All Meniere's disease patients should be skin-tested for inhalant and food allergies. Around 50% are found to have allergies that can be treated through injections.
Food sensitivities should be ruled out in cases of edema of unknown cause. "I often recommend an empirical elimination diet in which common allergens (wheat, milk, eggs, corn, coffee, tea, alcohol, yeast, citrus and sugar) are removed for several weeks. Although edema is usually not their primary complaint, many patients report a pronounced diuresis and loss of edema fluid during the first several days of the diet. Foods that cause a return of a patient's presenting symptoms often cause fluid retention as well". [Gaby, AR. Idiopathic edema: Letter. Hospital Practice Feb. 15, 1986, p. 21]
Edema is a very reliable and accurate index in detecting a food reaction that may cause the body to suddenly retain as much as 4% of its body weight as edema fluid. This weight is gained within 6-8 hours of ingesting the guilty food and lost within 18-24 hours after the food has been removed from the diet. [Brenerman, JC. Basics of Food Allergy. Springfield, IL, Charles C. Thomas, 1978]
Masked food allergy can be a factor in the development and persistence of obesity. [Abstract. J Lab Clin Med 32: p.1547, 1947]
While virtually any food can result in aggravation of rheumatoid arthritis, the most common offending foods are dairy protein, wheat, corn, citrus fruits, eggs, beef, sugar, fats, salt, caffeine and nightshade (Solanum) family foods (tomato, potato, eggplants, peppers and tobacco).
In order to test whether foods trigger symptoms, a food elimination protocol was followed in a blind, placebo-controlled study that resulted in significant improvement in arthritic symptoms, including shorter duration of morning stiffness and fewer painful joints. [Lancet 1986:1, pp.236-8]
While many doctors believe that the percentage of rheumatoid arthritis patients benefiting from diet manipulation is small, there is an increasing number of scientific studies suggesting that food elimination may help a higher percentage of patients.
"Nutritional therapy, not drugs, is the cornerstone of alternative treatment. A treatment for arthritis that relieves symptoms in a large percentage of patients is based on the theory that most arthritic symptoms are allergic reactions." [Jane Heimlich (wife of Dr. Henry Heimlich, the "Heimlich Maneuver" physician), in her book, "What Your Doctor Won't Tell You"]
Many studies have indicated that food allergies play an important role in asthma. Negative reactions to food may be immediate or delayed. Immediate onset sensitivities in children are usually due to egg, fish, shellfish, nuts, or peanuts. Foods most commonly associated with delayed onset include milk, chocolate, wheat, citrus, and food colorings. Elimination diets have been successful in treating asthma, especially for infants.
Food allergy detection and elimination should not be overlooked in searching for the causes of eczema. Many studies have documented the major role that food allergy plays. In cases of atopic dermatitis, eggs, milk, wheat, soy protein and peanuts are the most common offending foods. Inhalant allergens such as house dust mite, pets, pollen and cut grass may also cause an acute flare-up of eczema.
Numerous clinical studies demonstrate that diets that are free of foods or food additives that commonly trigger allergic reactions typically produce significant reductions in 50-75% of people with chronic hives.
The incidence of migraine headaches and flushing accompanying rosacea points to some form of food intolerance.
Generalized cysts may be due to allergies. Allergy testing may be useful only if there are other allergy symptoms also.
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