Food Allergy Testing
Food Allergy Testing
Researchers estimate that at least 60% of the U.S. population suffers from unsuspected food reactions that can cause or complicate health problems. Symptoms can be extraordinarily diverse, ranging from arthritis to eczema to migraines. In extreme cases, food allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock and death if untreated. Fortunately, most people do not have severe reactions.
What you eat every day sends a very important message to your body and even to your DNA. On average in the U.S., we spend approximately 2.5 hours eating or drinking each day, and we consume 1,966.3 pounds of food (nearly one ton) each year!
When evaluating your health, it is important to analyze the foods you eat often to see how your immune system responds to them.
In a study of 30 people who took the Food Sensitivity Profile, headaches and chronic GI symptoms involving pain, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating decreased when allergenic foods were identified and removed.
Because of the high frequency of food sensitivities and the tremendous quantity of food that we eat on a regular basis, many doctors use food sensitivity testing to help get to the root cause of chronic, unexplained illnesses.
Food sensitivities may start during infancy. They are most common among children whose parents have food allergies, allergic rhinitis, or allergic asthma. Infants and young children with food sensitivities tend to be allergic to the most common allergy triggers (allergens), such as those in eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. Food allergies are sometimes blamed for such disorders as hyperactivity in children, chronic fatigue, arthritis, and depression, as well as poor athletic performance.
The majority of human allergies are caused by a limited number of inhaled small-protein allergens that elicit immune response in susceptible individuals. We inhale many different proteins that do not induce immune response which raises the question of what is unusual about the proteins that are common allergens.
Although we do not yet have a complete answer, some general principles have emerged. Many allergens are relatively small, highly soluble proteins that are carried on desiccated particles such as pollen grains or mite feces. On contact with the mucosa of the airways, for example, the soluble allergen eludes from the particle and diffuses into the mucosa. Typically, when the immune system is first exposed to an allergen, a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) is produced in response.
Besides IgE there are three other antibodies that are capable of tagging allergens that are absorbed into you bloodstream; they are immunoglobulin M (IgM), immunoglobulin G (IgG), and immunoglobulin A (IgA). There are certain antigens and routes of antigen presentation to the immune system that favor the production of IgE. CD4 TH2 cells can switch the antibody iso type from IgM to IgE, or they can cause switching to IgG2 and IgG4 (human) or IgG1 and IgG3 (mouse) (see Section 9-4). Antigens that selectively evoke TH2 cells that drive an IgE response are known as allergens.