Allergies are now one of the fastest growing chronic conditions in Australia with over 20% of the population suffering with either food intolerances or allergies. Allergies occur when a person’s immune system reacts to a food substance that is harmless to others. An allergic reaction involves a complex interplay between immune cells including Immunoglobulin E (IgE), Immunoglobulin A (IgA), and Immunoglobulin G (IgG). It is a failure of the immune system to determine friend from foe resulting in a loss of immune tolerance with subsequent reactivity, the release of histamine and inflammation.
IgE responses may involve immediate severe reactions to foods resulting in anaphylaxis. These food triggers do require long-term avoidance and medical supervision.
IgA and IgG responses fall under the sensitivity/reactivity area. Their possible symptoms range from bloating and abdominal cramps to headaches, fatigue, rashes, hives, sinus congestion, mood changes and brain fog. As these symptoms may not occur until four hours to four days later, it becomes very difficult to identify the specific triggers.
The goal of treatment is not just to eliminate your food triggers; in fact, I do not recommend long-term avoidance of specific foods. The goal is to reduce your level of reactivity by improving your digestion. Healing intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut) is the key to long-term solutions for reactivity.
Testing Options to identify drivers of food intolerances:
- IgG food panel- 40, 60 or 120 foods are tested via a blood sample. A clear list of all reactive foods in descending order of severity is provided. The list is used to create a short-term custom elimination process.
- ALCAT test- similar blood test based on white blood cell responses.
- Diamine Oxidase (DOA) – as DOA is a measure of your capacity to break down histamine, this test gives an indication of your histamine intolerance.
- Lactose breath testing- done via your GP to determine if the lactose in dairy is a problem for you.
- Secretory immunoglobulin A- an indicator of the severity of gut damage. SigA is involved in maintaining gut integrity and prevention of inflammation.
- CDSA-detailed faecal screening for detrimental gut parasites/bacteria/fungal infections.