Patients with suspected food allergies are commonly seen in our practice.
Although up to 15 percent of parents believe their children have food allergies, many of these cases turn out to be food sensitivities, which are a chemical reaction and still others turn out to be issues like candida, yeast.
The most common foods that produce allergic symptoms are; milk, eggs, seafood, corn, soy, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts. Skin testing and in vitro serum immunoglobulin E assays can help in the evaluation of suspected food allergies, but the best blood test currently is the IgG4, which is not available in New York State.
In some cases skin and blood tests don’t document an allergic reaction and confirmation then requires a positive food challenge or a clear history of an allergic reaction to a food and resolution of symptoms after eliminating that food from the diet. Food allergies are most common in children and many of them will outgrow their milk and egg allergies by early adolescence, whereas peanut allergies usually remain throughout life. The most serious allergic response to food allergy is anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening. It requires emergency care that should be initiated by the patient or family using an epinephrine auto-injector, which should be carried by anyone with diagnosed severe food allergies.
Treatment usually consists of a combination of temporary avoidance of the identified allergens, progressive antigen desensitization and digestive tract support. As a result of the chronic inflammation, from allergic reactions, people with food allergies commonly have digestive tract problems. Digestive enzymes and probiotics are very helpful and should be continued for at least 6 months after the symptoms subside. Anti-inflammatory protein shakes are a good source of nutrition and speed up the healing process.
If you have food allergies or sensitivities, then reading food labels carefully is important for avoiding things that you are sensitive to. Information about food labels can be found and downloaded from our website: http://eastendwellnesscenter.com/library/food-label-allergy.pdf .
East End Wellness Center, Riverhead, N.Y.