Chronic Delayed Food Allergies
“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”
Roman father of medicine, Hippocrates, 400 B.C.
“What is food to one man is bitter poison to others.”
Roman healer and philosopher, Lucretius, 50 B.C.
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”
Irish poet George Bernard Shaw, 1903.
“The food you love most in life, may not love you back.”
Texas physician John P. Shea, M.D., 2008.
Delayed immune responses to food will be described here as chronic food allergies or delayed food allergies. The allergic reaction usually occur hours after eating or drinking, but can begin to occur before the end of a meal. Watch repeated sneezing in a restaurant for example. Anything ingested can be a culprit, but dairy products seem most common. Food and drink addictions are most commonly associated with delayed food allergies.
Unlike the immediate food allergy reaction, which can result in severe sudden reactions including anaphylaxis and death, the delayed food allergy reaction results in less severe and more chronic reactions. And unlike the immediate reaction, which is caused by an antibody called IgE, the delayed reaction is felt to be the result of other immune system mediators. Immediate, severe food allergies can be tested reliably with Immunoglobulin E ( IgE) blood test, but there is not a consistent blood test for delayed food allergies, and skin testing may produce inconsistent results.
Delayed food allergies are often “hidden” in the diet, and seldom suspected. The patient will often state “I can’t be allergic to that; I love it and have it all the time!” And the delayed food allergy patient may be allergic to many foods with different and confusing reactions. The immediate food allergy patient becomes acutely aware of which food must be avoided, and experiences the same set of severe sudden symptoms. An example is severe asthma within minutes of eating peanut, a tree nut, fish or seafood. Allertol is not used for these life-threatening food allergies.
Like allergy shots, the allergy drops use FDA approved antigen extracts to create a custom made solution. In the United States, tens of thousands of patients have received benefit from allergy drops. In some areas of Europe, sublingual immunotherapy is used more often than shots. Much like a series of allergy shots, allergy drops are used to gradually change the immune system over a period of several years.
They are drops of offending allergen, food or airborne, placed under the tongue, creating allergen tolerance.
Receptors under the tongue called dendritic cells detect molecules in the allergy drop solution and present them to immune system T cells. These T-regulatory cells induce and maintain tolerance to antigens, and can prevent development of future sensitivities. They do this by training the immune system to tolerate foods by a process called "down regulation". The immune system is taught to become more tolerant of food molecules in the allergy drop solution. This results in significant symptom reduction and less need for medications.
Allergy drops are administered at home, saving time and travel expense. The out of pocket cost is low, especially considering less need for medications. Allergy drop therapy has been safely administered in the U.S. and in Europe, with no fatal reactions. A literature review by Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, revealed no severe life-threatening reactions in 15 consecutive years of allergy drop therapy worldwide.
Adverse reactions have been reported in less than 3 in 1000 doses. Allergy drops can prevent the development of asthma in children who are asthma-prone. Studies have shown that the development of asthma is many times less likely to develop in children that receive allergy drop therapy. This preventative effect lasts for years after completion of treatment with the drops. Because allergy drops are painless, they are ideal for use in children, and have received by children as young as 2 years of age. Long-term compliance is excellent.
As noted by the World Health Organization and the Cochrane Study Group out of London, sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), or allergy drops, have been shown to be a safe and effective alternative to allergy shots, subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT).
Sublingual testing is done by simply placing a solution of suspected food under the tongue. If you are experiencing chronic symptoms that are indoors as well as outdoors, and do not vary much with the seasons, you will be tested with foods that are common in your particular diet.
1) Benefits: symptom reduction, limiting need for expensive medications and sinus surgery, increasing quality of life.
2) Risks: adverse reactions, such as temporary mouth itching and irritation, nasal blockage, headache, gastrointestinal upset, hives, and wheezing.
3) Alternatives: continued medical management and allergen avoidance.
You may want to note anything you seem to have frequently and to excess. Try to omit those foods to which you are addicted 4 days, and reintroduce. Note any symptoms. For example, chronic delayed allergy to dairy is common, so if you crave milk or cheese, try giving up all dairy products for 4 days, then re-introduce.
Milk, wheat, corn, egg, and soy are some common culprits. Common symptoms include: night time nasal blockage with dry mouth and snoring, persistent runny and itchy nose, deep ear itching, repeated sneezing, chronic throat clearing, vascular headache including migraine, wheezing with exercise, chronic cough, episodes of physical and mental fatigue, gastrointestinal problems including irritable bowel syndrome, skin itching and hives, episodes of ear ringing or buzzing with ear fullness and sometimes dizziness, intermittent joint pains, dark circles under the eyes, sinus and ear infections.
A list of suspected foods is obtained with a detailed history. Sublingual evaluation and treatment of chronic delayed food allergies is carried out, using the patented ALLERTOL method.
Upon initial symptom improvement, sublingual immunotherapy with custom made allergy drop solution is continued, and return clinic visit every 6-12 months.
If there is worsening of symptoms during testing or treatment, evaluation with different solutions is carried out.
An alternative to the use of sublingual evaluation and treatment is the elimination diet and rotation diets:
Elimination diet and/or rotation diet had been tried, with limited success.
The standard elimination diet can be done by removing the suspected food from the diet 4 days, followed by reintroducing the food on the 5th day, watching for symptoms to reappear. Typically, symptoms worsen initially, improve by the 4th day, then worsen again within a day of reintroducing the food. Returning the food to the diet has been called a "food challenge", but the real challenge is trying to remove a favorite food from the diet "that's in everything I eat!".
The rotation diet is another time-honored method of finding the food that is causing chronic symptoms, and preventing development of new food sensitivities. Eat the suspected food only every three or four days, and watch for symptoms to occur within the next 24 hours, often in the middle of the night.
Allergy drops are used three times a day. A single drop is placed under the tongue first thing in the morning, at mid-afternoon, and at bedtime.
A past history of severe allergy reactions, unstable asthma or recurrent hives increases the chance of a reaction to allergy drops.
You must notify the office if you have had emergency allergy treatment of any kind, especially for asthma. Severe, anaphylactic allergy is not treated with allergy drops.
A history of glycerin sensitivity may be a contraindication to use of the drops, but usually can be treated with sublingual immunotherapy.
Allertol is NOT used to prevent or treat immediate life-threatening allergy/anaphylaxis.