Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ about food allergies, food sensitivitities and food intolerance

Definitions Testing Causes of food allergies Symptoms of food allergies Healing food allergies After getting tested Questions about ELISA TEST Misc Questions

What are food allergies?

Traditional food allergies are also called Type-1 or Fixed Allergies. These traditional food allergies are physical symptoms caused by your immune systems reaction to food, food chemical, or food coloring. Symptoms usually appear immediately or within the hour, after contact or ingesting. They activate your immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies producing massive amounts of the histamine which can lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis, OR may cause whole body non-life-threatening reactions like hives and skin rashes.
According to FAAN, there are four classifications for fixed food allergies: (1) Anaphylaxis, (2) Eosinophilic Esophagitis, (3) Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome, and (4) Oral Allergy Syndrome.)


What is food sensitivity?

A sensitivity is also called a Type-2 Allergy, Delayed or Hidden Allergy and includes Intolerance as well. Food sensitivity is an unwanted immune reaction to food, food chemicals, or food colors. Sensitivities activate your immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies and can cause a huge variety of symptoms. Physical symptoms are 'delayed' and can appear any time within three days after eating, but most often within hours. Symptoms may also be internal and not noticeable. For example, food sensitivity activates your immune system and the inflammation process. This inflammation could occur in one or many areas of your body. (Chronic Inflammation is asociated with many common ailments.)

 

The medical community continues to debate the terminology for food sensitivity, and even its existence. 


What is food intolerance?

Food intolerances are associated with the gut. Our gut membrane is is considered to be 80% of our immune system and is a natural barrier to all sorts of allergens and invaders.

Offending food may be tolerable until our gut membrane has exceeded a certain threshold through quantity or chronic comsumption OR our gut membrane barrier is compromised by infections, gut flora imbalances, antibiotics, cortisone, excessive stress, or hormones. Food intolerance induces the excessive generation of toxic-free radicals and inflammatory chemicals. Chronic exposure to intolerant foods leads to autoimmune diseases including heart disease and cancer.

Symptoms of food intolerance are diagnosed as "dose related," "chronic," and "delayed."



What is a food allergy test?

Food Allergy tests measure the immunoglobulin E antibody (IgE) reaction to suspected allergens. IgE antibodies are found in the lungs, skin, and mucous membranes. They cause the body to react against foreign substances. IgE antibody levels are often high in people with allergies. Traditional food allergy tests are skin tests and blood tests. Skin tests are called Scratch, Intradermal, Prick and Patch. Blood tests are called RAST, Radioallergosorbent, Allergy Screen, and Allergen-specific IgE antibody test.

Food allergy tests DO NOT measure delayed reactions, hidden reactions, or sensitivities to foods. 


What is a food sensitivity test?

Food sensitivity tests measure delayed or hidden food allergies by measuring the immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody reaction to suspected allergens. IgG antibodies are found in all body fluids. They are the smallest but most common antibody (75% to 80%) of all the antibodies in the body.

Food Sensitivity tests can measure your IgG reaction in 400 foods, super foods, herbs, food colorings, food chemicals, household chemicals and more. These tests are only available by a blood draw.


What is an antibody?

Antibodies are immunoglobulin proteins made by our immune system to fight foreign invaders. The top 5 types of antibodies are: immunoglobulin A (IgA), immunoglobulin G (IgG), immunoglobulin M (IgM), immunoglobulin E (IgE) and immunglobulin D (IgD).


What is the difference between the ALCAT and ELISSA tests?

The ELISSA test determines the exact amount of allergen specific IgG antibodies in your blood serum thus enabling them to identify the degree, class and extent of your food allergy.  

The ALCAT Test measures leukocyte cellular reactivity in whole blood, which is a final common pathway of all pathogenic mechanisms; whether immune, non-immune, or toxic. Alcat claims to be the only test shown to correlate with clinical symptoms by double blind oral challenges, the gold standard.


Will a TRUE food allergy show up on my food sensitivity test?

Technically, no. Food allergy tests measure the IgE antibody, but sensitivity tests test for IgG antibodies.

Otherwise, yes. On the Elissa test you can see clearly the numerical reaction for each food. The higher the number the higher the sensitivity. Since most reactions occur in areas .1 - .3, you can be confident that a reaction of .9 is a food allergy. My sesame reaction was .9. I never had anaphalactic shock but I did experience intense irritibility after eating sesame. My husband's MRT test showed a high sensitivity to paprika, but it was only when he ate paprika with dairy that his body experienced asthma - he has a rare combination food allergy. Or is it as rare as medical doctors say?


Should I be tested for molds and pollens too?

No. The pollen particles from trees, bushes, and grasses are outnumbered by the amount of food particles you eat each day. Your hay fever exists because your immune system is already overloaded. Stop eating the immune suppressing foods and you have more immune system to fight off the hay fever and pollens. Read my article about this http://foodpowers.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/what-is-the-allergy-capital-of-the-world/


Is "Eat Right for Your Blood Type" the same as getting tested?

The famous book, "Eat Right for Your Blood Type," is a general guideline but not accurate for everyone. The book does not take into account our mixed genetic ancestry, toxicity, Candidae overgrowth, or viral load. The author later came out with a new book, "Eat Right for Your Genome Type." In which he accknowledged was more accurate than eating by blood type alone. BUT neither book is as accurate as a food sensitivity test.


Can my pet be tested?

Vets can do blood work to determine food allergies for your pet, but those tests do not detect food sensitivities. If your pet has a food allergy you probably already know that. But you may not be aware that your pet has food sensitivity.

So what can you do? The suggestions are in order of best to good:

1. Feed your cat homemade food and do the popular food elimination diet. Do not feed her any grains, just feed her meats and vegetables. Feed her one meat and one vegetable for a week. Then try a new meat for one week. Then try a a different meat the next week.

2. Feed your cat a high protein cat food. Most pets, like people, have trouble digesting grains. High protein means that 90% of the food is
protein. These are not sold at Petco or Petsmart (that I have seen). Try a local pet store instead, or a local kennel.

3. Feed your cat food made for sensitive stomachs. These foods contain allergens like the others but the allergens are broken down and thus are more easily digestible. This works well for food intolerances.

Please note that even cats can be sensitive to fish, shellfish, and even beef. And most prepackaged cat foods have fish in them even if they are "beef" flavored.

Read the ingredients. Always.



Aren't food allergies inherited from our family genes?

Some food sensitivities (hidden food allergies)  are caused by genetics. Most are created over time by eating a food too often for too long a period. Still others occur due to increased toxicity of the body, suppressed immune systems, gut imbalances including Candida.

A reader recently wrote me, "Dr. Bruce Lipton states genetics have nothing to do with health, rather it relates to one's environment. Are you not actually aware of this fact, or do you have other corroborating evidence to the contrary which you wish to share?"

ANSWER: I will agree with you as soon as you can grow 3 more inches, increase the number of your digits, or adjust the size of your ears, then I will agree with you that genetics has nothing to do with your allergies. But until then I will continue to state that genetics do play a role.


What causes food sensitivities & food allergies?

The main causes are:
- genetics
- over exposure
- suppressed immune system
- toxicity
- poor digestion (leaky gut syndrome, certain medications, gut flora imbalance)
- gut imbalance (candida, parasites, antibiotic overuse, certain medications)
- genetically modified foods
 



What ailments are routinely caused by food?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME)
Muscle and Joint Complaints (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia,  General Pains)
Gastrointestinal Conditions (Nausea, Heartburn, Gastritis, Bloating, Flatulence, Diarrhoea, Constipation,  Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis)

Skin Complaints ( Itching, Eczema, Acne in Adults, Hives)
Migraine and Other Headaches
Respiratory Conditions (Asthma, Chronic Rhinitis, Sinusitis, Hay Fever)
Cardiac Conditions (Palpitations, Skipped Heart Beats)
Urinary Complaints (Bed Wetting, Frequent Urination)
Psychological Disorders (Anxiety, Depression, Behavioral Disturbances, Hyperactivity / ADHD, Nervousness, Sleeplessness)

Neurological Conditions ( Dizziness, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Ménière's Disease, Tinnitus)
Hypoglycemia
Premenstrual Syndrome
Candida
(listed compiled by  Amsterdamkliniek)
 


Do food sensitivity symptoms happen immediately?

Symptoms appear within 1-72 hours. Most show up within a few hours. Other symptoms can can appear three days after eating.


Can food alter my mood?

Yes, absolutely. It can affect your mood, attitude, outlook, and your ability to think and focus. Depression, irritibility and brain fog are all very common ailments created by food. It's no secret that severe mental problems are often linked to food, food colorings and food chemicals.


I eat _____ all the time. Wouldn't I know if it was harmful to me?

No. Food addiction and cravings are associated with some of your food sensitivities. Symptoms of delayed food sensitivities are more often than not attributed to other causes which are beyond our control (pollution, pollen, molds, stress, genetics, getting older, and weather.)
Dr. Mark Hyman also has a great article here on food addition.


Why does a food sensitivity symptom take three days to show up?

Food sensitivity (delayed food allergy) can take up to three days to show up. The reason due to your digestion process. The transit time through your entire digestive tract varies upon each indiviual, but generally takes 52 or more hours. Many Americans have infrequent bowel movements which leads to food being in our colon (and wreaking havoc) much longer than a healthy colon.


If I feel symptoms immediately after eating does that mean I have a TRUE allergy?

No. Food sensitivity symptoms can also occur immediately after eating. A TRUE food allergy is severe, scary and often life threatening reaction involving the antibody IgE. A food sensitivity is usually not severe, scary or life threatening and involves the antibody IgG.



How do I heal my food sensitivities and food intolerances?

1. Avoid all foods flagged on your delayed food allergy test for three months. This will boost your immune system and allow your body to heal naturally. TIP* Read every the ingredient list on every prepackaged food before eating and preferably eat simple meals with few ingredients, or make your meals from scratch as often as possible.

2. Rotate your diet. Four days is the most often recommendation. For example, if you eat avocado on Monday then don't eat avocado again until Friday. Do this for three months.

3. Aid your digestion and gut health. Chew your food well before swallowing as this is the first step of your digestion process. Take digestion enzymes BEFORE every meal (You should notice a difference. If you don't, try increasing the number of capsules you take before a meal. You can also try switching brands as mix of enzymes and their volumes change with brands.) Probiotics are recommended to improve gut health by increasing the numbers of good bacterias.

4. Avoid chemicals in your general environment including your food environment. Eat only organic, and hormone-free products as much as possible. Use natural cleaning products at home and work environment. Some of us may need to detoxify our liver, or cellular health in general from previous chemical or heavy metal exposure.

5. Reduce your stress levels. Stress is a contributing cause of gut imbalance and cellular imbalance.


Can't I take a supplement to decrease my sensitivity to food?

Nutritional supplements that might help to decrease a patient's reaction to sensitive foods are:
digestive enzymes
probiotics
Lectin Lock™
gastric acid support
natural anti-inflammatories (omega-3 fats, tumeric, etc)


What is the relationship between my digestive tract and my delayed food allergies?

Your digestive tract is the largest part of your immune system. More foreign particles are introduced to your body through your mouth than your lungs, skin and other orifices combined. If you rdigestive tract does not properly breakdown your food then these larger food particles can enter your blood stream and create havoc throughout your body as your immune system tries to wrangle the particles to the nearest exit area.

From Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_gastrointestinal_tract):
"The gastrointestinal tract also is a prominent part of the immune system.[10] The surface area of the digestive tract is estimated to be the surface area of a football field. With such a large exposure, the immune system must work hard to prevent pathogens from entering into blood and lymph.[11]"

From GoodBelly.com ( http://www.goodbelly.com/learn/digestive-issues):
"In order to have a properly functioning immune system, one must have a healthy digestive system. Because nearly three quarters of your body’s immune system dwells in the digestive tract, it has the most profound effect on overall health out of all the internal organs."

"In addition to the digestion of food, one of its other primary functions is to defend against harmful bacteria and infections. In an average adult, the gastrointestinal tract is 28 feet long, and contains 70% of the body’s immune system."

"One of the immune system’s primary defenses are the good bacteria, known as intestinal microflora, which prevent the overgrowth of potentially harmful bacteria in the intestines and also form a barrier on the intestinal wall so that harmful bacteria and germs cannot enter into the blood and lymph systems." 


What is the relationship between my immune system and my sensitivities?

Poor digestion can lead to more partly digested food particles allowed to pass into your blood.These food particles are not recognized by your immune system because they are not broken down porperly. Your immune system is now reacting to foods that you have eaten for years with no problems. Chronic exposure to food sensitivities can suppress your immune system. A suppressed immune system can led to a reduced ability to digest your food.

From TheBody.com ( http://www.thebody.com/content/art31115.html):
"Our immune systems face a daily onslaught of stresses. In an otherwise healthy person, common signs of a weakened immune system include frequent colds, as well as chronic allergies."


Can gluten intolerance & celiac disease be healed?

The only persons who are incapable of healing are those born with defective linings due to genetics and those who have scarring on their intestinal walls.

For everyone else - absolutely you can heal. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are the results of long term abuse to the lining in the digestive tract. Abuse of the lining occured for years, even decades, before the damage was noticed physically. The healing will require a strict diet free of gluten for months, even years.

 



I'm sensitive to apples. Should I avoid every food in the Apple Family?

In my opinion, YES. Foods that are in the same "food family" are likely to affect you in the same way.


If my test says I'm sensitive to cow milk, am I also sensitive to goat milk?

No. Goat milk is easier to digest thus you may not be sensitive to it.


Do I have to avoid my food sensitivities for life?

You must completely avoid all foods on your test results for three months. After three months, reintroduce them to your diet slowly. If physical symptoms reappear then those foods should be avoided for another three months. Some food sensitivities may never heal but your tolerance to them may increase so that you can eat them occasionally throughout your life.


I never eat _____. Why did my test say I reacted to it?

We can already be naturally rejecting some of our food sensitivities. Science does not yet fully understand why we crave some foods and hate others.


Can I stop eating SOME of the foods on my test results but keep eating others?

You should avoid ALL foods on your test results that produce negative ailments. The more you cave in to cravings during the three months the longer your healing process will be.


Should I get tested before or after a cleanse?

I recommend that everyone get tested BEFORE cleansing, so that they can decide on the best cleansing program for them. The reason is that cleanses such as the lemonade cleanse, and the vinegar cleanse, can both make you sicker if you're sensitive to (respectively) fruits or fermented foods. Other cleanses like green drinks, and yogurt can also make you sicker. I don't just mean feel sicker, I mean actually sicker.
In early 2010 I felt healthy enough to do a nutritionist supervised week long cleanse and fast where I drank vinegar and honey all day - both sensitivities of mine. My energy waned and it took a couple months to recover back to my vibrant pre-cleanse energy.
 



How can I differentiate between a sensitivity & allergy on the test results?

Elisa test scores for each food range between 0.100 and 0.999. Most of your scores will probably fall between 0.100 and  0.400. But if any of your scores are above 0.900, then it is high enough that it might also show up on a traditional allergy test (IgE).


What is the difference between the three categories of scores?

Elisa test scores for each food range between 0.100 and 0.999. Elisa ranks those scores into FOUR CLASSES: 0, 1, 2 and 3. Avoid all foods that fall in the classes 1, 2 and 3. 

0 Class = No sensitivity
1 Class = Low sensitivity
2 Class = Medium sensitivity
3 Class = High sensitivity


Can I eat a food from Class 1 occasionally?

You should avoid eating for three months all foods on your test classified as a 1, 2 and 3. Your healing will take longer the more frequently you "fall of the wagon" during the first three months.


Does a sensitivity classified as a 3 take longer to heal?

Yes. For example, my sesame score was .905 in 2007. But after three years of avoiding sesame my score dropped to .350.


My test says I'm NOT sensitive to sugar, but the diet guide says to avoid it?

If the diet included with your Elissa test says you should NOT eat sugar even though your test says you are NOT sensitive to sugar, then you are probably sensitive to both brewers yeast and bakers yeast. Both were tested for you.

If you're sensitive to both yeasts that means your body is sensitive to fungus and easily grows fungus. Yeast is a fungus. Sugar feeds fungus. Overgrowth of fungus / yeast leads to imbalance (mostly in your gut) and imbalance leads to illness.



What is the difference between lactose intolerance and milk sensitivity?

Lactose is milk sugar (the sugar found in all mammal milk). A person who is lactose intolerate has a hard time digesting the lactose. Lactose intolerance is usually due to deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to fully digest milk sugar. Goat milk's lactose is easier to digest than cow's milk lactose and thus can result in decreased symptoms of lactose intolerance.

A person who is sensitive to milk is most likely so due to one or both of the proteins found in milk - casein and whey. Cow milk and goat milk both contain casein but many people are only sensitive the protein found in cow's milk, the alpha S1 casein protein. It is also possible that a person who experiences symptoms from milk may be reacting to the by products found in cow's milk.


Which grains contain gluten?

ALL grains contain gluten - wheat, spelt, oat, barley, rye, amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, triticale, buckwheat, rice and corn.

The gluten found in rice and corn are okay for most celiac suffers.


Does AGED cheese produce intolerance or sensitivity symptoms?

Most cheeses have 98% LESS lactose than milk due the cheese making process. AGED CHEESE is lactose free due to the longer process of creating aged cheese has allowed any remaining lactose to be broken down and eliminated.
BUT aged cheese still contains the protein casein. Cow milk contains a unique casein which many more people are affected by than casein in general.

Fungus is found in aged cheese. Some people suffer reactions to amines found in cheese, particularly histamine and tyramine. Tyramine is a chemical found in fermented foods.


What is a food rotation diet?

During a rotation diet you only eat a food every fourth day. For example, If you eat an apple on Monday then you can't eat apples again until Friday. No apples allowed on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. This rotation diet helps your body to heal by reducing the chronic exposure of any one food allowing the body to fully process (via your digestive tract) the first apples before you eat any more.





 

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