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 reactions to food will be described here as delayed food allergies. The 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, or frequent throat clearing / cough. Any food protein ingested can be a culprit; dairy products are common. Food and drink addictions are commonly associated with delayed food allergies.
Unlike acute food allergy, which can result in severe sudden reactions including anaphylaxis requiring emergency treatment, the delayed food allergy results in chronic problems / medications. And unlike the immediate reaction, which is caused by an antibody called IgE, the delayed immune response is caused by cells of the immune system, particularly the T cell. Immediate, severe food allergies can be tested reliably with Immunoglobulin E ( IgE) blood test, but there is not a blood test for delayed food allergies. Studies of T cells are ongoing, and someday there may well be a blood test available that uncovers the food proteins responsible for delayed food allergies.
Delayed food allergies are often “hidden” in the diet, and seldom suspected, as symptoms often occur several hours later. The patient will often state “I can’t be allergic to that; I love it and have it all the time!” The delayed food allergy patient may be allergic to many foods with different and confusing reactions with different delays.
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, tree nut, fish or seafood. Allertol is not used for these life-threatening food allergies.
Like allergy shots, allergy drops use FDA approved antigen extracts to create an allergy drop solution for each patient. In the United States, an increasing number of patients have received benefit from allergy drops. In much of Europe, allergy drop therapy is used more often than shots. Like a series of allergy shots, allergy drops are used to gradually build allergen tolerance over several years.
They are drops of offending allergen, food or airborne, placed under the tongue, creating allergen tolerance.
Receptors under the tongue called Langerhans Giant Cells take up and partially digest protein molecules in the allergy drop solution and present them to immune system T cells. These T-regulatory cells induce ALLERgen TOLerance. They do this by training the immune system by a process called “down regulation”. Each time an allergy drop is placed under the tongue, the immune system becomes more tolerant. This results in significant symptom reduction and less need for medications and procedures..
Allergy drops are administered at home, saving time and travel expense. The out of pocket cost is low, especially considering less need for medications and doctor trips. Allergy drop therapy has been safely administered in the U.S. and in Europe. A literature review by Southwestern Medical School in Dallas revealed no severe life-threatening reactions in 15 consecutive years of allergy drop therapy worldwide. Self limiting adverse reactions have been reported in less than 3 in 1000 doses. Studies have shown that the development of asthma is many times less likely to develop in children that receive allergy drop therapy. Because allergy drops are painless, they are an ideal allergy solution for children and infants. Long-term compliance is as high as 95%.
There are, several factors that make allergy drops a viable alternative to shots, as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Cochrane Study Group out of London.
Sublingual testing is done by simply placing drops of suspected food proteins under the tongue several times a day, and observing symptom changes.
1) Benefits: symptom reduction, limiting need for repeated doctor trips, medications, and procedures. This increases quality of life.
2) Risks: adverse reactions, such as temporary mouth itching and irritation, nasal blockage, headache, gastrointestinal upset, skin itching and dermatitis, and wheezing.
3) Alternatives: continued medical management, nasal procedures, and allergen avoidance by elimination diets.
Procedures to improve nasal symptoms include surgery to remove bone and cartilage from the septum, as well as and destructive procedures such as partial turbinate removal and freezing a nerve behind the nose.
Although eliminating common foods and food favorites is seldom done with any long terms success, you may try to completely omit those foods to which you are addicted several days, and then 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. Elimination of the offending food protein does not induce allergen tolerance. Even years later when the food is reintroduced, symptoms return.
You may want to note dietary favorites: anything you seem to enjoy frequently. REVIEW EACH OF YOUR CHRONIC PROBLEMS, including those listed in the next paragraph.
LIST YOUR PROBLEMS, consider HOW LONG, HOW OFTEN each problem occurs, and OTHER RELATED SYMPTOMS.
For example: Nighttime nasal blockage. How long has this been a problem? How often do you awaken with a dry mouth / have a drink of water? How often does mouth breathing / snoring occur? Does the blockage rotate from side to side every few hours?
Milk, wheat and corn are some common culprits, but it can be any favorite, like coffee, aspartame chewing gum, etc. Common symptoms include: night time nasal blockage with dry mouth and snoring, runny and itchy nose, repeated sneezing, deep ear itching, headache including migraine, chronic throat clearing, wheezing with exercise, chronic cough, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems including irritable bowel syndrome and GERD, skin itching / eczema / rashes, episodes of ear ringing or buzzing, ear fullness, dizziness, recurrent joint pains, sinus and ear infections.
A list of suspected foods with a detailed history is reviewed. Sublingual evaluation and treatment of delayed food allergies is carried out, using the ALLERTOL method.
Upon initial symptom improvement using test dilutions, sublingual immunotherapy with a solution of food favorites is used long term. Return visits will determine when the drops can be tapered, and eventually stopped. By tapering the drops gradually, symptoms seldom return.
If there is worsening of symptoms during testing or treatment, evaluation with different solutions is carried out until a symptom-relieving dilution is discovered.
Drops are used 3 times a day, placed under the tongue first thing in the morning, late afternoon, and right at bedtime.
A past history of severe immediate allergic reaction or a severe medical illness such as unstable asthma, may preclude use of allergy drops.
You must notify the office if you have had emergency allergy treatment of any kind. Severe, anaphylactic allergy is not treated with allergy drops.
A history of glycerin sensitivity may be a contraindication to use of the drops, but can often be treated with sublingual immunotherapy.
Allertol is NOT used to prevent or treat immediate life-threatening allergy/anaphylaxis.