May 12th begins Food Allergy Awareness Week. There are no colored ribbons to kick off this week, but maybe, there should be. It is estimated that 3% of the American population has true food allergies, but the incidence among children has risen 18% since 1997. According to one study, 4 out of 100 children have food allergies or sensitivities, and 1 out of 133 children have wheat sensitivities. Somehow, given those last two figures, I think 3% is a low estimate.
Never the less, 5% of individuals with food allergies (children & adults) have severe, immediate symptoms called anaphylaxis, affecting the airways (asthma, difficultly breathing), skin (hives) or digestive tract (nausea, vomiting & diarrhea). These symptoms can be triggered by ingesting, or inhaling a minute amount of an allergen. The symptoms are intense, require medical intervention, and can be fatal. (Individuals with this severe form of food allergies should carry an epi-pen and antihistamines with them at all times.) This type of allergy is an IgE mediated allergy. The diagnosis is confirmed by a positive intradermal/skin testing or by a IgE mediated RAST, blood test.
Tree nuts, peanuts, soy, sesame seeds, eggs, fish and shellfish are the most common foods causing anaphylaxis. IgE allergies are generally considered a permanent fixed allergy & must be avoided.
The remaining 95% of the population with food allergies/sensitivies have IgG mediated allergies. Symptoms are often delayed, appearing a few hours, or days after ingesting the allergen. Symptoms can vary depending on the amount, or if the item was ingested with other allergens. Nuts, peanuts, soy, corn, milk (casein), eggs, wheat and other gluten grains are again the most common food sensitivity, but any food eaten frequently, can become an allergen.
Symptoms can include; congestion, headaches, migraines, fatigue, lethargy, fluctuations in weight, swelling, palpitations, asthma, skin rashes, gas, bloating, diarrhea &/or constipation. Some individuals experience behavioral changes, irritability, insomnia, brain fog, ADD, ADHD, or intense cravings.
We have used the ALCAT blood test since the 90’s to diagnosis IgG mediated allergies/sensitivities, as skin testing and RAST test are almost always negative.
Treating food allergies/sensitivities often requires eliminating offending items for a period of 3-6 months, allowing the body time to heal. Often, foods can be reintroduced on a rotation basis, without triggering symptoms.
Another treatment option for food allergies/ sensitivities is Nambudripad’s
Allergy Elimination Technique. NAET is a synthesis of various medical disciplines including allopathy, acupressure, kinesiology and nutrition. NAET utilizes Muscle Response Testing which indicates the kinetic imbalance in the body caused by allergens/or sensitivities. It is a treatment which I have used successfully with my own family. NAET results in improved tolerance to food and chemical sensitivities because it is painless, and non-invasive, it can be used on children and adults of all ages.