Food AllergyThe problem is not that 25% of people recognize symptoms from food ingestion, but that many more people do not recognize that food is making them ill. We hope the reader will take the time to find out why we think food allergy is such an important mechanism of disease and how to resolve common food-related health problems by diet revision. Food allergy, as a topic in medicine, has been suppressed for many years and is not taught in medical schools. Too many vested interests have much to lose if more people discovered that popular foods were making them ill. Commonly quoted "expert" opinions tend to minimize the incidence and importance of food allergy. While the dogma is misleading, it represents vested interests and is remarkably persistent.
The conviction that food allergy is a ubiquitous cause of disease comes from knowing the benefits of careful diet revision in medical practice. In response to allergy lobby groups in the USA, the US Congress passed a bill that requires notice on the labels of foodstuffs that contain eight of the most common food allergens. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, will require plain English labeling beginning in 2006 of products containing wheat, milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, or eggs. The bill also requires the Food and Drug Administration to develop a definition of the term "gluten-free" to help those with celiac disease and who require a gluten free diet for other reasons.
The concept of immune responses to food antigens is useful in understanding many diseases. Many of the major unsolved disease of our civilization are either degenerative and/or inflammatory and many are recognized to be inflammatory, immune-mediated, hypersensitivity diseases. In this book, a general theory of hypersensitivity disease as a continuum of disease-causing mechanisms is presented. The term "hypersensitivity" refers to immune-mediated processes that lead to disease. As we consider the possible role of food antigens in causing or contributing to immune-mediated diseases, we look for opportunities to help patients with simple and safe therapeutic strategies such as diet revision. The basic phenomena that concern us are:
- Food antigens activate immune networks.
- Activated immune networks produce symptoms
- Long-term activation of immune networks causes chronic disease, with inflammation in target organs.
- The food supply is the most abundant and continuous source of antigenic material.
Different types of food allergy1. The immediate or type 1 food allergy pattern is easily recognized because it involves quick and dramatic symptoms. Hay fever is the most common type 1 allergy and can be diagnosed by allergy skin tests. Some food allergy is also type 1 and shows up on skin tests.
2. Delayed patterns of food allergy are not so obvious and generally go unrecognized. Allergy skin tests do not show this problem nor do IgE antibody tests. Symptom onset is delayed many hours after eating foods and chronic disease is often the result. Rheumatic diseases, autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, insulin-dependent diabetes, thyroiditis, psoriasis are examples of hypersensitivity diseases that involve humoral and cell-mediated immunity. The common specific problems that are related to food allergy include asthma, rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, urticaria, anaphylaxis, angioedema, allergic gastroenteropathy, and allergic arthritis.
Many patients will express several of these hypersensitivity phenomena over a lifetime and demonstrate an underlying tendency to be hypersensitive. An important concern is the possibility that the chemical soup created by our civilization drives increasing numbers of individuals into hypersensitivity illness. The advocates of a broad definition of food allergy run the risk of being evangelical.
At Alpha Nutrition, a major commitment is to educate people about delayed patterns of food allergy and to point to opportunities people have to resolve serious illness on their own. Our strategies of self-management are simple and straight forward, but require knowledge, perspective and self control. We are the first to acknowledge that some people lack these prerequisites and our information will not help them.
Dr. Gislason stated: "I began to learn about food allergy in 1981 when I first developed inflammatory arthritis. I discovered a simple truth that eating a few safe foods resolved my illness and returning to my previously normal diet recreated the illness that was so severe, I could not work or enjoy life. I thought that my medical colleagues would be as excited as I was to discover that such a serious illness could be cured with diet revision. I did encounter the occasional MD who shared my enthusiasm for further research but most MDs were hostile to the science of food allergy, even when the therapies they offered patients were ineffective and even harmful. I have learned a lot about the politics of medicine and the strategies used by corporations to control the market place. Corporate control has advanced remarkably since I began my quest to understand the mechanisms of food allergy and to teach self-management solutions. Drug companies own medical practice and compete for their market share with skill, determination and huge promotional budgets. They do not want people to solve health problems on their own. They want people to depend on MDs and buy dru
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