There are two kinds of allergic reactions, immediate and delayed. We don’t usually test for immediate reactions, because you know what they are by your immediate reaction. Testing for this can be done with skin testing and with a blood test called RAST (radioallergosorbent test). The RAST is the test done by most traditional Allergists. It looks for IgE(immunoglobulin E) antibodies and immediate, permanent allergic reactions.

It is the delayed sensitivities that can react up to four days after eating a food that cause the greatest difficulty. These reactions can be tested by a method called ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) which looks for IgG(immunoglobulin G) antibodies. The symptoms associated with delayed sensitivities are usually very subtle. They include increased nasal and bronchial mucus, fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, brain fog, skin reactions, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea (Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS), inflamed bladder (interstitial cystitis, IC), and much more. It is important to know that IgG sensitivities will gradually disappear with avoidance of the offending food.

When the allergy “bucket” is full, you will have symptoms. It is filled with both environmental and food allergens. It is easier to control what you eat than what you breathe, so taking offending foods out of the diet will definitely reduce the effects of the environmental allergens. I have a patient, allergic to cats and dairy products, who can sleep with the cat if his diet is free of dairy. However, one piece of pizza causes the cat reaction to be more intense. Delayed food allergens will definitely make the effects of environmental allergens worse.

There is a way to test yourself for delayed food sensitivity. We call it “Eliminate, Challenge, and Observe.” To do this, you simply eliminate a food group for two full weeks. Then challenge your system by eating foods in that group for one day. Then observe for four days without eating additional food in that group. Watch for a difference in symptoms, comparing the day before the challenge to the days during the observation period. These symptoms may be subtle or dramatic. They may be immediate or delayed up to four days.

A method to test yourself for subtle immediate food sensitivities is called the “Pulse Test”. Begin by eliminating the food group that you wish to test for 48 hours. Then sit at rest for 10 minutes while reading or watching a movie. Then check your pulse and write it down. Then eat the test food and check your pulse again at five minutes and 10 minutes after eating the test food. If there is an increase in pulse of more than 10 points, then there is a reaction. This would be considered a subtle immediate reaction. You should then go on to the elimination testing to see what other symptoms emerge.

The five most common food allergens causing delayed reactions are: dairy products, wheat and gluten grains, corn, eggs, and yeast, mold, fungus containing foods (any foods that are raised, aged, fermented, and mushrooms). Self-testing does take a while, but is inexpensive and effective. Be patient and keep a food journal during this process.

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Put Your Health in Your Own Hands

Author's Bio: 

Bob Huttinga is a certified Physician Assistant and a Certified Natural Health Practitioner who still makes house calls. He practices traditional medicine with drugs and surgery as well as alternative medicine with nutrition, herbs, essential oils, and clinical homeopathy. He and his partner, Barbara, own The Healing Center in Lakeview, near Grand Rapids, Michigan.

He writes a newspaper column and has authored two books, Put Your Health in Your Own Hands and the upcoming book, Better, Better, and Better – 3 Ancient Secrets to Create an Amazing Life.

In addition he has produced a series of Mind Coaching audio CDs to help people learn to relax and use their minds to heal themselves.

His passion is to teach people to: Put Their Health in Their Own Hands.