Sunday, August 14, 2011

Food Allergies - Elimination Diet

Last month I went to see my naturopath at Seattle Integrative Medicine to complete a food allergy test. Dr. McCarty took a sample of my blood and sent it to a company that performs the tests. Three weeks later, I went back to go over the results.

IgE vs IgG:

Food allergies happen when our bodies believe that something we ate was harmful. The body tries to protect us by producing antibodies to that specific food. Once the body has made antibodies against that item, it recognizes it the next time it is ingested. The two antibodies involved in this reaction are immunoglobulin E (IgE) and/or immunoglobulin G (IgG).

 IgE is the antibody involved in a Type I immediate hypersensitivity reaction. It is a more severe reaction and its production starts immediately upon ingestion. Inflammatory mediators, like histamine, are released and can cause constricted airways, mucous secretions leading to airway congestion, itching or hives and some people may even go into anaphylaxis and need epinephrine injections (ex. EpiPens).

In a Type II delayed hypersensitivity reaction, IgG antibodies are produced. The symptoms for this type of reaction are delayed and can appear anywhere from an hour to three days after ingestion. Some of the most common offenders are foods that are frequently eaten such as corn, milk and wheat and are said to affect as much as 60% of the population. The test results usually present the target foods in three or four categories depending on the levels of antibodies (very low, low, moderate and high).

Test Results:

Of course my IgE tests came back negative (no surprise there) and I learned I have a moderate allergy to the inhalation of the mold, alternaria tenuis. Wikipedia tells me that this specific mold is "responsible for causing leaf spot and other diseases on over 380 host plant species."

When it comes to the food test, I only had low-moderate results for the following foods:

DAIRY: (Reacted to every item tested in this category)
  • Casein
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cow's milk
  • Goat's milk
  • Lactalbumin
  • Yogurt
  • Apricot
  • Cranberry
  • Grape
  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Raspberry
  • Alfalfa
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Green Pepper
  • Lettuce (really?!?)
  • Mushroom
  • White potato
  • String Bean
  • Crab (At least it was only one type of seafood, but I sure do love crab!)
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Egg white
  • Egg yolk
  • Almond
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn gluten
  • Kidney bean
  • Oat
  • Pecan
  • Pinto bean
  • Rice
  • Sesame
  • Yeast (No beer or wine during elimination)
  • Chocolate :(
  • Coffee

That's not all, then there were the spice antibody results. My doctor said she has never had a single person react to every single spice...except me!!! I have to cut them all out during the elimination but then I'll hopefully only have to avoid the moderate-high category which includes allspice, cloves, dill, nutmeg and oregano. Time will tell. I'm starting my elimination diet this week. For the first two weeks I cut out everything I reacted to and see if I can tell a difference. Some of the symptoms that may be improved would be my overall energy, concentration, headaches, reduced joint/muscle pains, less gas/bloating and improved digestion.  Then I slowly introduce one item every three days and keep a symptom diary. I may have to completely eliminate a few of the foods and for others find that I simply have to limit my intake to only once a week.

Wish me luck! I know the spices will be the hardest part and that this definitely means no yummy restaurant food for the next few weeks.

Peace, love and sunshine <3

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