Most people are very aware of the effects of common food allergies. People may suffer from hives, difficulty breathing, sneezing, runny nose, or itching.
Very commonly overlooked, however, are food sensitivities (commonly referred to as “hidden food allergies”) which can contribute to many different health conditions as well.
If someone has a sensitivity to a specific food, an IgG (Immunoglobulin G) response occurs in the body. This is different from the IgE response which occurs in an “allergy”. The IgE response activates an immediate release of histamine. However, with the IgG immune response there is still a reaction happening which activates cytokines (immune response chemicals) in the body, though this is very commonly a delayed response and does not have the antigen-antibody response that the IgE reaction does.
This response can happen hours or even up to 7 days later. These cytokines can inflame the gut, the brain, or even respiratory tract and can affect how you or your child feels emotionally and physically.
Some common symptoms seen with the effects of food sensitivities in children are:
• Inconsistent performance: he or she will know the material one day but not the next.
• Poor memory
• Struggles with focusing and attention.
• Sensory processing problems: things such as noises, tags, foods, and transitions bother this child
• Frequent meltdowns
Additionally, the child may have frequent infections, constant allergies, or digestive issues.
The best way to determine if someone has a food sensitivity is by an elimination diet, which consists of eliminating the foods which are most commonly contributors. A typical elimination diet lasts approximately 3 weeks in which the foods are slowly added back in to see if a reaction occurs.
Specific blood work can also be looked at to determine an IgG response to foods.
The most common food contributors to causing a food sensitivity in the body are:
• Gluten – Protein in Wheat, Rye, Oats and Barley
• Sugar (Especially if your child has candida, a yeast overgrowth which can effect behavior, common in children with neurobehavioral disorders like ADHD and Autism.)
• Food Dyes, Preservatives, Pesticides, GMO’s (Genetically Modified Foods)
Contact me with any questions or for more information.
Lord, Richard, Bralley, J., Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicines, 2nd edition, Metametrix Institute, 2012, pgs. 433-436