Food sensitivities are a result of many compounding factors, including intestinal health, nutritional status, genetics, medications that include antacids, ibuprofen and antibiotics, and even stress. The immune system is very complex and is not completely understood.
There are many confounding factors that may mitigate or worsen someone’s response to things in their environment, from foods to topical applications to inhalants.
The classic food allergy includes an IgE antibody reaction and has the potential for causing anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), and once experienced, the allergy is fairly obvious. This extreme type of reaction affects about 2 percent of adults and 4 to 8 percent of children in the United States. Less obvious are food sensitivities that have delayed reactions to a food and are more difficult to diagnose. Food sensitivity has been related to nonspecific symptoms such as migraines, chronic fatigue, recurrent ear infections, chronic congestion, eczema, brain fog, behavioral problems and other vague complaints. This type of sensitivity is quantified by measuring IgG antibodies. The difficulty is that there is controversy as to what the IgG antibodies actually do. Some authorities say IgG antibodies are measuring “tolerance” to a food, others say they measure “intolerance”.
The best way to find out what may be causing symptoms is to ask ourself what we are eating daily that may be causing the problem. Eliminate the top offenders, which are usually dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, wheat, corn and shellfish. A blood test for food sensitivities and allergies may also be a helpful place to start when determining an elimination diet trial. By cleaning the slate of all potential foods causing symptoms and replacing them with whole food nutrients and an anti-inflammatory, whole food diet, symptoms may resolve. Digestive enzymes and probiotics are also used to help with normal intestinal health and the breakdown of foods in order to resolve the food sensitivities.
Deborah Bain, M.D., FAAP, ABIHM, IFMCP, is a doctor of pediatrics and owner of Healthy Kids Pediatrics, in Frisco. For more information, call 972-294-0808 or visit HealthyKidsPediatrics.com.