Allergies And Your Health: Food Allergy Testing

Are the foods youíre eating making you sick? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Weíve all heard the familiar expression: "You are what you eat", but did you know that maintaining a health body involves more than just a healthy diet? Certain foods can trigger immune system responses which can strain even a healthy body. If continued over time, allergenic reactions, can potentially cause many debilitating illnesses.

Holistic Care of Charleston has set a new standard for food allergy testing, identifying reactions to food, inhalants, environmentals and chemicals with Meridian Stress assessment (MSA) and or IgE and IgG antibodies using ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) or RAST blood testing.

What are allergies?

Basically defined, an allergy is described as a hypersensitivity reaction in which one individual displays an excessive or abnormally sensitive reaction to any substance that otherwise does not effect others the same.

There is much debate between "real" allergies and sensitivities. Today, a hypersensitivity reaction is defined as an umbrella term for any type of adverse reaction to any number of agents. An allergy , on the other hand, used to define clinical reactions in which an immunological mechanism is implicated. Immunoglobulins, or antibodies, play an integral role in immune-mediated reactions. Each of these Y-shaped proteins, produced by cells of our immune system, are specific for each allergen encountered. Sources of allergens vary from person to person and may include foods, pollens, animal dander, molds and yeast. As part of our defense system, these antibodies mediate significant inflammatory processes in an effort to neutralize the allergen. Allergenic symptoms are the direct result of this process.

There are two major types of allergenic reactions that play an important role in the allergenic response.

IgE Type I Allergic Reactions:

This type of allergic reaction is mediated through IgE antibodies. Typically, allergic reactions occur within a few hours after contacting the offending food or inhalant. IgE antibodies are elevated in diseases like allergic asthma, hay fever and atopic dermatitis.

Non-IgE Allergic Reactions:

The greater majority of reaction are not IgE and involve antibodies other that IgE, primarily IgG, (also known as delayed histamine), immune complexes and cell mediated reactions. These are called delayed because the reaction can be 2-72 hours after the initial exposure. This can make understanding the connection between the allergy and the symptom difficult. For example, if you are reactive to eggs, you may not have a reaction to the eggs you ate on Sunday until Wednesday. This is why the 4-day rotational diets work.

Allergenic reactions to foods in particular, vary. Some reactions are immediate occurring within a few hours from the time of exposure. Asthma, itchy watery eyes and nose, rash, swelling and acute gastrointestinal distress are common presentations of this type of Immediate, or IgE antibody mediated allergenic reaction. Because the reaction is usually explosive and sudden in onset, the relationship between offending food and the symptoms is usually self evident.

Delayed reactions, through IgG antibody immune mechanisms, on the other hand, are not as easily recognized simply because of the delayed onset of the symptoms which may take hours to days to develop and persist over time. For this reason you may not even be aware of it, nor the toll it is silently taking on your health and well being. Symptoms tend to be low grade and chronic: general fatigue, malaise, headaches, difficulty losing weight, insatiable food cravings, food addictions, trouble concentrating or simply that "run over by a truck feeling that you just canít shake. Delayed food reactions are more common than immediate food allergies and are associated with a spectrum of symptoms that may affect virtually every site in the body.

Why do allergies develop?

According to the experts, the rate of allergies has truly increased. Poor diet, stress, leaky gut, infections, trauma, chemicals, drugs, environmental toxins and genetic predisposition are all possible contributing factors to the development of allergies. Of special interest is the impact these factors may have on the integrity of our gut wall - the interface between our external and internal environments. An extremely common problem today is known as "leaky gut", in which the gut wall is hyperpermiable to large molecules which may prove to allergenic. Large food fragments for instance, may traverse a leaky gut wall and activate our immune cells to make antibodies. These antigen-antibody immune complexes may then permeate into circulation to any tissue or organ of the body and illicit an inflammatory reaction. The role of leaky gut in systemic disease has far reaching consequences with food allergy , inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune at the forefront.

Who has allergies?

Almost everyone knows someone who suffers from symptoms of allergies, including wheezing, runny nose, irritable bowel, migraine headaches, skin rashes, or a host of other common uncomfortable and often debilitating problems. Conservative estimates are that as many as 25% of the population have significant allergies to some types of food, chemicals, or inhalants. The true incidence of allergy is be considerably higher when considering non-IgE immune reactions. Many of the symptom pictures may not necessarily be considered associated with allergy and therefore go unrecognized or possibly misdiagnosed.

Take a Second Look at IgG

1. IgG's are an alternative mechanism through immune complex formation for immune activation an inflammation.

2. IgG antibody levels increase from repeated exposure to the offending food(s) forming immune complexes. These immune complexes may tax the immune system over time affecting our health.

3. There are 5 key indicators to inflammation:

1. heat, 2. redness, 3. swelling, 4. pain, 5. loss/compromised functions

4. Inflammation may occur in any tissue or organ of the body: "wherever the blood flows, inflammation and its tell tale signs may follow".

5. Symptoms may vary in severity and location from person to person.

Possible Disorders That May Be Associated with Food And Inhalant Allergies:

Skin: Atopic Dermatitis, Dermatitis, herepetiformis, urticaria, angioedema and contact dermatitis.

Digestive System: Oral allergy syndrome, celiac Disease, Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS), Food sensitive Enteropathy, Colitis, Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis and Peptic Disease.

Respiratory System: Rhinitis, Seasonal Allergenic Rhinitis, Asthma and Heinerís Syndrome.

Cognitive and Psychological: Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity, Migraines, Autism, Schizophrenia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Epilepsy.

Head and Neck: Menier;s syndrome, Chronic Otitis, Media, Reoccurent Aphtous Stomatitis.

Muscle and Joint: Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

What Can I Do?

Have yourself yourself tested through Meridian Stress Assessment (MSA), RAST, ELISA or SAGE methods to identify sensitivities and antibodies to foods and inhalants allergens.

Fix the problem by clearing the allergen through NAET or avoid the allergenic foods in your diet. NAET has an excellent record for often completely resolving your dietary allergies. Or, one can avoid the foods on a rotational diet or altogether.