Healing an Allergic Population
The rise in allergy complaints is on the increase, but the extent comes as a quite a surprise. In recent information produced by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 54.6% of U.S citizens test positive to one or more allergens. So the question is how can you easily identify your allergies and overcome the problems they produce?
IgE vs IgG Allergy Responses
Occasionally you might come in contact with a substance that your body tells you it doesn’t like. How does it tell you that this particular food, airborne allergen, grass or other source does not agree with you? Answer- It produces IgE antibodies which cause an inflammatory chemical, known as histamine, to be released. This then produces an allergy such as a skin problem, asthma, runny nose or even a life-threatening anaphylaxsis response.
An IgE response is one that occurs almost immediately or within 4 hours after contact or ingestion. Because the effect is rapid, you are usually aware of the negative response. But then there are the other types of not so obvious bodily responses that may occur many hours or days after coming in contact with the allergen.
These IgG responses can produce ongoing low grade symptoms and are subsequently often consumed in the diet on a regular basis. They are often labeled more as food intolerances rather than actual allergens, however there accumulative and delayed response in conditions such as eczema, cannot be ignored.
Skin prick testing is another means of testing for a response to an allergen. This particular test is rarely considered suitable for young children, and unfortunately research reveals a great variability in the results (according to who is the supplier of the kit).
What is the easiest and most reliable way of testing and treating and allergy response?
Whilst very accurate testing for IgE antibodies can be performed using the Immunocap system, the problem with all IgE antibody testing is the limited amount of foods and other allergens that can be tested at once, not to mention the associated expense. Skin prick testing is traumatic and similarly not 100% accurate. And then there are the other symptoms such as aggressive behavior, abdominal pain, bowel irregularities or learning disorders that are often believed to be related to a poor reaction to a certain food, but are not picked up on any of the tests.
So is there a way of working out what foods are causing harm, whilst reducing the allergy response, and without any traumatic testing?
The answer is yes.
Challenge diets have been used effectively by nutritionists, naturopaths and some doctors for many years to help relieve symptoms and work out which foods do not agree with their patients. Quite simply, certain foods are taken out of the diet for a given period of time (the time needed to diminish the harmful antibodies) and are later re-introduced using a specific program, that will highlight and help identify what the real problem foods are. Mums and dads are often amazed how their children’s disruptive behavior problems diminish, how sleep improves, bowels become regular etc. In adults some notably changes might be diminishing headaches and other pain, no more post nasal drip and sinus problems or energy levels increasing.
Known as a Low Reactive, Elimination or Challenge diet, this process is inexpensive, enlightening and healing. For the novice or busy person, finding alternative food sources and nourishing recipes that will actually get eaten on such a diet, can be a challenge however. Fortunately a new book has been written to help overcome these issues. It contains shopping guides, gluten, dairy free, low salicylate recipes as well as eating plans, a symptom diary and in depth (but easy to understand) information about why the body can react to some foods plus how to re-balance the immune system.