Food Intolerances and Food Allergy Testing

There are different types of allergic responses in the body.  The one I am writing about today is an IgG delayed hypersensitivity response.  Sounds complicated…here is the complicated part

IgG Delayed Onset Allergies

In a Type III delayed hypersensitivity reaction, IgG (a part of your immune system) forms an immune complex with the allergen/antigen (Ag) ,(could be any food…egg, cheese, grapefruit.) which activates the complement pathway and releases inflammatory mediators wherever the immune complex is deposited. This process takes anywhere from several hours to several days, which is why hypersensitivity reactions are delayed. Although macrophages pick up the IgG-Ag complexes immediately, they have a finite capacity to do so. If there are a lot of antigens present, the macrophages may saturate their capacity to remove the immune complexes, causing the excess to be deposited in tissue.

So what does this all mean? Simplified to how it affects you.

It means that depending on which tissues are involved you may experience any one of or all of the following:

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • inflamed blood vessels (usually show up as small red or purple dots on legs)
  • asthma
  • recurrent lung infections
  • skin conditions
  • joint pain
  • anxiety or depression
  • runny nose or watery eyes

Fighting off a 24 hour a day 7 day a week allergic reaction is exhausting for your body, so it is often the case that a client comes and tells me that they are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Maybe they have headaches, not as much energy as they should, joint pain.  This may be the person who doesn’t really of know a time when their stomach doesn’t hurt, when eating particular foods gives them gas or discomfort.  This is the person with acne whose body is trying to eliminate toxins and inflammation through the skin.  Food intolerances play a big role in anxiety and depression also and I have seen such great improvements in mental health through dietary changes.  The childrens song that says “the knee bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the ankle bone”  needs to have some additional verses.  All of the above symptoms are connected to the digestive tract and to food intolerances.

The test is simple

The testing that we do in the clinic is a simple finger prick blood test. It takes about 2 minutes and then we ship off your sample to the lab where they quantify the reactivity to the proteins of about 100 foods and mail us the IgG results in a few weeks.

It can be hard work, but it is worth it

When presented with an IgG test result that indicates foods that you can include in your diet, foods to only once every few days or foods to eliminate completely it can be overwhelming at first. Sometimes the foods that you show intolerances to, may be the foods that you have grown up on, they may be the ones you crave the most.

But I promise you that it is worth it.  This week alone I have seen 3 people who have come back to the clinic reporting that their life has changed for the better and it’s only Monday !!

One gentleman who has suffered for YEARS, woke up after four days of eliminating his trigger foods to find that he could breathe through his nose !!! He thought that would never happen. Another client told me that she had felt so bad for so long that she was just honestly surprised that she could feel so good.

For myself it was gluten and eggs which were the culprits. Since removing them from my diet 2 years ago, I have lost weight, have great energy levels morning to night, I no longer have persistent pain in my wrists and ankles or the chronic discomfort with my digestion and I feel fabulous.  Sure, when there is a fresh baguette or a big egg filled brunch I may have a moment of “oh if only”, this is particularly drawn out when there are fresh Kettleman’s bagels in the house, but then I remember how great it feels to be pain free and how those foods can make me sick and tired and then I smile and am really grateful for Naturopathic Medicine, really grateful for the scientific advances that have allowed for my food intolerances to be identified.

What if it isn’t your problem directly?

Sometimes it is hard to have food restrictions in the family.  Not always for the person who’s health is benefiting from the changes, they can feel the physical reward of removing the foods from the cupboard or fridge, but often for the others who might feel that “hey I don’t have a dairy intolerance, why do I have to eat that way”. For these people it may even be harder.

For the main food prep person, it may be challenging to please all of the palates in the household, it may be tiring to have to prepare different meals.  For these folk who are the providers or the ones who most enjoy cooking I suggest that they make themselves a nice cup of tea and head to their local bookstore and spend a good amount of time in the recipe book section.  The big stores especially are now carrying a great selection of recipe books for special needs.  I suggest that they find a book that they like the look of, the layout of.  One that has recipes of meals that they would love to eat.  This way they can get enjoyment out of the food and transform meal prep from a challenging and a perhaps a trying experience to one that allows for discovering fabulous flavour and culinary delights!

Some resources

I have no affiliation with the following books or blogs or sites, I include them here to offer a starting point for information. To show you that food can be fabulous even if some ingredients are restricted.  If you know of any that you love feel free to post them in the comments.

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If you have a young one that has food intolerances check out this link

http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org

or this blog  http://angkantz.blogspot.com/

This book is one that we have at home, purchased for my son, but we all eat the food.

http://www.amazon.com/Allergy-Proof-Recipes-Kids-Gluten-Free/dp/1592333834

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If you are a real “foodie” who has found out that you or someone you love will benefit from removing gluten from meals, you might want to peruse this blog by a woman whose  health was dramatically changed by removing gluten from her world.  She happens to be married to a fabulous chef, but we can all learn from them J

http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/

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We have a local author here in Ottawa, Shirley Plant, who has a wonderful and accessible book called   “Finally…food I can eat”  It is also available in French.  “Libre. 140 recettes sans allergens”.       Her recipes are free of wheat, yeast, eggs, dairy, gluten, soy, corn, nuts, and sugar.  We have this one in our house too.

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Finally-Food-I-Can-Eat-Shirley-Plant/9781897113561-item.html

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/LIBRE-RECETTES-SANS-ALLERGENES-recettes-Shirley-Plant/9782895236146-item.html

Vivienne Guy

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

One thought on “Food Intolerances and Food Allergy Testing

  1. Great blogg, lots and lots of useful information. It is amazing how affective such treatments are for allergies. Asthma being the most misunderstood allergy. Seams a good amount of the cases I see have a huge impact on an individual’s health just through such a focus. The public would be greatly aided if it was generally known to be the case. http://holisticsolutionsdoc.com/

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