Delayed Food Allergies: Common Foods That Could Be Affecting Your Health

by Jessica Mishra on July 27, 2011

Do you suffer from headaches, sinus congestion, asthma, stomach or digestive discomfort, acne, fatigue, or are unable to lose excess weight? You could have a food allergy! What you are eating on a daily basis could be causing these issues.

What are delayed food allergies?

When most people think of food allergies, they think of an instant reaction, swelling of the throat or face, or trouble breathing. These are common signs that someone is suffering from an immediate food allergy. This type of reaction is associated with the IgE antibody and actually only accounts for about 10% of all allergic reactions. It is common to see this reaction with foods like shellfish or nuts. (Nichols and Faass, P.65-66)

Delayed food allergies, however, are a different type of allergic reaction that is often associated with the IgG antibody. Delayed food allergies are very common and often go undiagnosed. As delayed food allergies are associated with a different type of immune response, they can take hours or days to manifest symptoms. (Nichols and Faass, P.65-66) You can see now why these allergies can be difficult to identify!

It is common to see foods such as gluten (found in many grains such as wheat, barley, and rye), dairy, eggs, and soy to cause delayed food allergies. For example, someone might eat a sandwich with wheat bread (gluten), then a day later have digestive upset. To give another example, someone might eat some cheese (dairy) for dinner, and wake up in the morning with a stuffy nose or constant sneezing. These are both examples of delayed food allergies.

“Some physicians believe that food allergies are the leading cause of undiagnosed symptoms, and that at least sixty percent of Americans suffer from symptoms associated with food reactions.”

- Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., authors of Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised 2nd Edition

Food allergies are often identified as the cause of several illnesses including celiac disease, arthritis, and chronic infection. Further, food allergies are also linked to many central nervous system disorders such as depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. (Murray and Pizzorno, P.464-465)

Many health professionals incorporate the diagnosis of food allergies as one of the first steps in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

“These diseases affect over 24 million Americans and 5 percent of the population in Western countries, and include type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and many more.”

-Dr. Mark Hyman, MD (http://drhyman.com/topic/auto-immune- disorders/)

Why do we get food allergies?

There are several different theories as to why food allergies arise in the body. Food allergies can be hereditary.

“When both parents have allergies, there is a sixty-seven-percent chance that the children will also have allergies. Where only one parent is allergic, the chance of a child being prone to allergies is still high, but drops from sixty-seven percent to thirty-three percent.”

- J.W. Gerrard, C.G. Ko, and P. Vickers, “The Family Incidence of Allergic Disease”

Food allergies can also arise when a food is eaten too frequently in the diet. The body prefers variety. It is important to pay attention to what you are eating in excess and try to only eat those foods on a rotational basis. For example, I have often seen in my practice and with friends and family that egg allergies develop over time. I ask these people if they often ate eggs throughout their life. The answer is usually, “Yes, I ate eggs every morning for years”. There is no need to eliminate these foods (unless you have identified that you are allergic), just be sure that you don’t eat one food every single day in excess.

It used to be that we had a variety of foods in our diet, simply due to the fact that we could only eat what was in season or what was produced on the farm. Nowadays, foods are so readily available that we have the ability to eat the foods we like on a daily basis. This is one of many arguments for shopping at farmer’s markets. It encourages variety in the diet.

Finally, the state of your digestive health can also contribute to food allergies. There are several conditions such as Leaky Gut Syndrome and Hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) that can contribute to the development of food allergies. It is important to work with a health professional such as a health coach or naturopathic doctor to address any digestive issues if you are experiencing any discomfort.

What is the solution?

In my opinion, there are two viable solutions for diagnosing food allergies. One option is an elimination diet. This is the process of removing the common allergenic foods from the diet, and then reintroducing them one by one over a period of time. As they are introduced, it is important to pay attention to your body’s reactions to determine if these foods might be causing an issue for you.

It can often be tricky to eliminate some foods from the diet as they are often found as ingredients in packaged products. For example, gluten is not just found in bread or pasta. It can be found in salad dressings, soy sauce, soups, you name it. If you are interested in this approach, I offer a 21-Day program which will guide you through the process of identifying allergenic foods. Click here for more information.

The other option is to have lab testing done. US Biotek Laboratories performs a very comprehensive test that I myself have completed. It tests for IgG response to 96 different foods. They provide a report, which shows your sensitivity to each of the foods. From this report it is easy to identify which foods to avoid completely, and others that you might just need to eat in moderation (in the case of a slight reaction). In partnership with my Naturopathic doctor, I am able to order this lab work. So please contact me if you would like more information.

It is important to address food allergies as soon as possible. Symptoms of food allergies may start out as pesky sinus congestion or slight headaches, but these symptoms can be early signs of more severe chronic conditions and inflammation in the body. Just think, something you are eating every day could be causing a negative reaction in your body. Further, it is important for women who plan to be pregnant to address any food allergies prior to pregnancy as this can have an adverse effect on the baby.

You will be amazed at how full of energy you will feel and how quickly your symptoms will abate after eliminating allergenic foods!

References:

T. Nichols and N. Faass. Optimal Digestive Health (Rochester: Healing Art Press, 1999), p.65-66

M. Murray and J. Pizzorno. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised 2nd Edition (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998), p. 464-466

J.W. Gerrard, C.G. Ko, and P. Vickers, “The Family Incidence of Allergic Disease,” Ann All 36 (1976): 10.

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Kamala Chambers July 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm

>love it! Very informative!

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Jessica Mishra July 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm

>Thanks Kamala! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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Anonymous July 31, 2011 at 11:08 am

>Are not many new food allergies, reactions to the GMO versions which contain internal pesticides?

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Jessica Mishra August 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

>Hi! Yes, you are correct. There are several theories that GMO foods are contributing to increased levels of allergies. Some people believe that it is the new protein that is created by genetically modifying the food that will cause the allergy. This could be why we see increased allergies to foods like soy and corn which are often genetically modified. Thanks for your comment!

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