Alternative Medicine: Detecting food allergies and sensitivities July 22, 2007Posted by Dreamhealer in Diet.
Dreamhealer blog post
Food allergy and sensitivity is on the rise. According the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and the National Institutes for Health, as many as 30 million people in the U.S. have food sensitivities with 6 million to 7 million having potentially life-threatening allergies.
Just eight foods account for 98 percent of food reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. Many people with food allergies know which foods they react to because the symptoms are immediate. Examples include an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts or a tingly, swollen tongue or a rash after eating shellfish.
However, those with food sensitivities may have a harder time knowing if their symptoms are related to food. Food sensitivities often can play a part in achy joints, skin rashes, fatigue, depression, headache and attention deficit disorders.
One of the best ways to test for food sensitivities is to complete an elimination diet. One or more suspected foods is eliminated for about two to three weeks to see if symptoms subside. Once symptoms are gone, the eliminated foods are eaten again to see if symptoms reappear. It is important, especially for children, to ensure that all nutrition needs are met and that unintentional weight loss is avoided.
Other methods for identifying food sensitivities include measurement of blood levels of antibodies and muscle testing, but can be more expensive and less accurate than an elimination diet. The best person to walk you through an elimination diet is a registered dietitian or a certified nutritionist.
— Kelly Morrow, MS, RD nutrition clinic coordinator Bastyr Center for Natural Health
Bastyr is a non-profit, private university offering graduate and undergraduate degrees, with a multidisciplinary curriculum in science-based natural medicine. The university’s Seattle teaching clinic, Bastyr Center for Natural Health, is the Northwest’s largest natural medicine clinic. Go to bastyr.edu or bastyrcenter.org.