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Some Common Questions About Food Allergy Testing

Thursday, April 6th, 2006

Food allergies are an important thing to consider, especially in people with abdominal bloating or belly discomfort after they eat. Many people don’t realize how such allergies can be a cause or contributing factor to diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, joint aches, fatigue, depression, rashes, or inflammation (AKA inflamm-Aging!) Many people wonder about the value of testing. As a physician, here is my view of this testing.

Q: Will these food allergies always exist? Can I grow out of them?

A: Food allergies may not persist forever. That’s the benefit of rotating the diet. We can actually become allergic to new foods if our diet becomes monotonous on them. That’s why a natural organic highly varied diet is most healthy. The risk of allergies, in general, increases with biological aging. The benefit of slowing or reversing this process allows us to tolerate our environment better. Unfortunately, becoming invincible to foods as allergens is not yet possible!:)(If it was, I’d enjoy eating ice cream on a regular basis, sigh!)

Q: A friend of said I should avoid all the foods I’m allergic to for at least a year. Is that true?
A: A year is a long time to avoid such foods. Kudos to your friend who was able to do that! I recommend avoidance for as long as is possble, knowing that everytime I weaken and eat something I’m allergic to that I have just damaged my gut, increased my inflammatory response, and increased my risk for chronic illness. My personal eating habits are “good” for a while, have a moment of weakness, experience the pain and depression of my chemical mistake, then clean up my diet again. Will I ever learn?!

Q: How often should I test or retest for food allergens?
A: Retesting food allergies is helpful for people that have many allergies and want to monitor improvement or changes. Some people take the data of the first test, correlate it to what they experience when they eat foods that they are allergic to, then use subsequent experiences to guide their diet choices in the future. Also, some people may not be allergic to a food, but they realize that it impairs their health for other reasons, and need to avoid it anyways. This is especially true for patients with blood sugar balance problems. For example, a woman may not be allergic to corn, but if she suffers tremors and headaches a few minutes after eating some, she may suffer hypoglycemia…or a reaction to all the pesticides put on it…but that’s a whole other issue!

Q: Why do people even get food allergies?
A: Our vulnerability to foods as allergens depends on 2 main issues: the health of the gut and the intelligence of the immune system.

Q: Can food alergies be seasonal?
A: Because food allergies depend on gut and immune sytem function, they could be seasonal. For example, the immune system may become more stressed and incompetent during your hayfever season. Your gut may be sicker after you drink alcohol or consume sugar during the holidays.

Q: Are the food allergens listed on the test the only foods I should avoid?
A: Again, even though a food may not appear reactive on the test, listen to your body. Does it feel REALLY good when you eat it? If so, you may be having an allergic or blood sugar reaction to it. Do you feel tired, sad, itchy, irritable or bloated after eating something? If so, it might be an unhealthy reaction to that food. Be a detective. Watch for coincidences and correlations.

I hope this information has been useful. Best wishes in healthy eating!
Dr. Natalie