Treatment of food allergies
Treatment of food allergies has become highly demanded due to the popularity of allergies in general and food allergies in particular. The primary way to deal with a food allergy is to avoid eating foods that are causing problems. Double-check the ingredient labels of your food products and find out if what to avoid is known by other names.
The Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) requires US packaged food manufacturers to use plain, plain language to identify the presence of any of the eight most common food allergens – milk, eggs, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, and nuts, fish, and shellfish – in their products. The presence of the allergen must be ascertained, even if it is only a minor ingredient, e.g., an additive or a flavoring.
Certain goods may also carry precautionary statements such as “may contain, “made on shared equipment,” “co-produced,” or any other indication of potential allergen contamination. No laws or regulations require these advisory warnings or standards to define their meaning.
Note that FALCPA labeling requirements do not apply to products regulated by the US Department of Agriculture (meat, poultry, and certain egg products) and regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco Taxation and Trade (distilled alcohol, wine, and beer). The law also does not apply to cosmetics, shampoos, and other health and beauty products, some of which may contain tree nut extracts or wheat proteins.
Avoiding an allergen is easier said than done. However, this is the best treatment for food allergies.
Prevention, prevention, prevention.
While labeling has helped simplify the process, some foods are so common that avoiding them is daunting. A dietitian or nutritionist can help. These food experts will give you tips on avoiding allergy-causing foods and ensure you will still get all the necessary nutrients, even after excluding certain foods from your diet. Special cookbooks and support groups, available in person or online for patients with specific allergies, can also provide helpful information.
Be very careful when eating in restaurants. Waiters (and sometimes kitchen staff) may not always know the ingredients of each dish on the menu. Depending on your sensitivity, even walking into a kitchen or restaurant can cause an allergic reaction.
Consider using a “chef card” – available on many websites – that identifies your allergy and what you cannot eat. Always inform your waiters of your allergies and ask to speak to the chef if possible. Emphasize the need for preparation coats, saucepans, jars, kitchen tools, appliances, and utensils that have not been infested by your allergen, and refine with the eatery staff which dishes on the menu are not dangerous for you. Food allergy treatment is not simple and is not always successful.
A proper diagnosis of food allergy or food intolerance by an allergist/immunologist is the first step to proper food intolerance treatment.
If you are suffering from this medical condition, the food allergy treatment will be to avoid the food that may cause an allergic reaction. If you are diagnosed with an intolerance, you may be able to ingest small amounts without reacting.
There is currently no cure for food allergies; there are also no drugs to prevent the reactions. Still, there are steps you should take to manage your condition. The most important is avoiding contact with food proteins that can cause an allergic reaction.
Read food labels to make sure you don’t eat foods that contain foods you are allergic to. Every time, inquire about ingredients when munching at diners or when eating meals prepared by somebody other than you.
If you have severe food allergies, complete an anaphylaxis action plan and always carry self-injectable adrenaline. Use this drug in case of an anaphylactic reaction.
For milder reactions, antihistamines can help relieve symptoms. Be sure to talk about this approach with your allergist or immunologist.
Remember, avoiding food allergies is much easier than finding the proper treatment.
What is a food allergy?
Food allergy is a response of the immune system that appears soon after consuming certain foods. Even a small amount of allergenic food can cause symptoms such as digestive problems, hives, or swelling of the airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms; even a life-threatening reaction is known as food allergy anaphylaxis.
Food allergies in children affect approximately 6 to 8 percent of kids under the age of 3 and up to 3 percent of adults. Although there is no cure, some Food Allergies in children grow out as they age.
Some people get confused and believe that food allergy and much more common consequences of food consumption, known as food intolerance, are the same. Although troublesome, food intolerance is a less severe disease that does not involve the immune system.
What causes food allergies?
Understanding the causes of food allergies is essential to choosing the optimal food allergy treatment strategy. More than 50 million people in the US suffer from some allergy. You probably know one of these people, or you are one of them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies in children are estimated to affect 4% to 6% of babies and toddlers and 4% of adults.
Symptoms of food allergies are most widespread in babies and toddlers, but they can occur at any age. You can even develop food allergies to the products you’ve consumed for years without complications.
Generally, food allergy is caused by the immune system treating harmless proteins in certain foods as a threat. In those situations, the immune system releases various chemicals that trigger an allergic reaction.
Even though any ingredients can trigger a harmful reaction, the following eight products are responsible for about 90 percent of all allergic reactions and thus top the list of causes of food allergies:
- Tree nuts
- Milk and Dairy
Sesame is the 9th most common food allergen and is found in many popular foods, including hummus, known as ‘tahini.’ Based on FDA documents, “Under the FASTER Act, as of January 1, 2020, sesame seeds are recognized as the 9th key food allergen. While producers do not have to register it as an allergen, it must appear in the list of ingredients. ‘
Symptoms of food allergies
The immune system aims to fit and be healthy by combating contaminations, poisons, and other hazards to your health. A food allergy response arises when your immune system reacts excessively to certain foods or substances in food, categorizing it as a threat and activating a defensive response.
While food allergies and food intolerance tend to run in families, it is difficult to forecast whether a kid will inherit a food allergy from their parents or whether siblings will have an analogous condition. Some studies indicate that the younger siblings of a kid with an allergy to peanuts will also be hypersensitive to this product.
Symptoms of food allergies can vary from moderate to severe. Just because a primary outcome causes few complications doesn’t mean that all body responses will be comparable; a food that causes only mild symptoms in one circumstance may trigger more dangerous symptoms at another time.
The most severe allergic reaction is food allergy anaphylaxis – a life-threatening whole-body allergic reaction that can affect your breathing, cause your blood pressure to drop dramatically, and affect your heart rate. Food allergy anaphylaxis can occur a few minutes after exposure to the trigger food. Food allergy anaphylaxis can often be deadly and must be handled immediately with an infusion of epinephrine (adrenaline).
Symptoms of food allergies can impact the skin, stomach, intestine, colon, cardiovascular system, and lungs. They can be found in one or more of the following manifestations:
- Vomiting and/or stomach cramps
- Recurrent cough
- Cardiovascular shock or collapse
- Throat tight and hoarse; difficulty swallowing
- Enlargement of the tongue, lips, face, and throat that disturbs speech and breathe
- Weak pulse
- Pale or blue skin discoloration
- Dizziness or weakness
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Hives, itchiness, or eczema
- Wheezing, nasal congestion, or difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- Dizziness or fainting
Food allergy anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that can interfere with breathing and cause shock; reactions can affect different body parts simultaneously (for example, abdominal pain and a skin rash).
Symptoms of food allergy anaphylaxis
Food allergy can cause some individuals a dangerous allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Food allergy anaphylaxis can trigger life-threatening symptoms such as:
- Constriction and tightness of the airways
- A swollen throat or feeling a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
- Shock with a sharp drop in blood pressure
- Fast pulse
- Dizziness, dizziness, or loss of consciousness
Emergency treatment is critical for anaphylaxis. Left untreated, food allergy anaphylaxis can cause coma or even death.
Oral allergy syndrome
Pollen-food allergy syndrome, previously known as oral allergy syndrome, poses symptoms after consuming particular unprocessed foods that cross-react with an active pollen allergy (pollinosis).
Unlike a simple food allergy, OAS requires prior sensitization to an inhaled cross-reacting allergen rather than direct sensitization to a specific protein. In this analysis, we recap OAS’s clinical characteristics and mechanism and summarize well-known pollen-food associations.
Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) or pollen food allergy syndrome (PFS) is a hypersensitivity reaction to certain foods due to prior sensitization to inhaled plant allergens. The link between seasonal allergies and food hypersensitivity was first noted in the 1940s. The term oral allergy syndrome was invented by Amlot et al. in 1987 to define and explain oral mucosal symptoms that occasionally expand throughout the body in affected individuals with food hypersensitivity and a positive skin test for inhalants or nutrients.
Approximately 20% to 70% of patients sensitized to pollen allergens experience symptoms of oral allergy syndrome after eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, or certain raw spices.3–6 The incidence of sensitization to plant foods is highest in people with birch pollen allergies. With the increasing prevalence of pollen allergies, OAS allergy is projected to increase. The oral allergy syndrome should be suspected in patients with characteristic symptoms immediately after eating raw fruits, nuts, vegetables, and spices. Oral allergy syndrome, aka OAS, occurs in patients with a history of atopy and is an important phenomenon to be recognized in these predisposed individuals.
Dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians manage many patients with atopy and seasonal allergies who can also experience OAS. These patients can usually identify the fruits and vegetables causing their symptoms. The practicing physician must recognize these symptoms and educate those affected to avoid offensive foods and mitigate the rare but potential progression to more severe systemic allergic reactions.
Food allergy testing
To make a diagnosis, allergists ask detailed questions about your medical history and symptoms. Be prepared to answer questions about the following:
- What and how much did you eat
- How long does it take for symptoms to develop
- What symptoms did you experience, and how long did they last?
After getting your anamnesis, an allergist may prescribe skin tests and/or blood tests, which show if food-specific immunoglobulin E antibodies exist in your body:
- Skin tests give results in about 20 minutes. A solution that contains a microscopic quantity of the food allergen is positioned on the skin of your arm. Your skin is pricked with a small sterile probe, allowing fluid to seep under the skin. The test is not painful but uncomfortable and is considered positive if a papule (resembling a bump from a mosquito bite) develops where the suspected allergen has been placed. For a control purpose, you will also get a skin prick with a fluid that does not comprise the allergen; this should not trigger a response, allowing a comparison between the two test sites.
- Blood tests, which are a little less accurate than skin tests, measure the amount of IgE antibodies against specific foods tested. Results are usually available in about a week and are
Your allergist will use the results of these tests to make a diagnosis. A positive result does not necessarily indicate an allergy, although a negative result helps rule it out.
An allergist may suggest an oral food allergy test, which is believed to be the most précised approach to conclude a food allergy diagnosis. During an oral food challenge conducted under strict medical supervision, the patient is fed small amounts of the suspected offending food in increasing doses over a while, followed by a few hours of surveillance to see if a food allergy episode appears. This test is practical when the patient’s history is unclear or if skin or blood tests are inconclusive. This food allergy test can also be applied to verify if an allergy has been overcome.
Due to the possibility of a severe reaction, an oral food test should only be performed by experienced allergists in a doctor’s office or food testing center, with medications and emergency equipment on hand.
Food allergy elimination diet
Knowledge is half the battle, and figuring out the cause of your allergies can sometimes be an epic battle! An office visit to an allergist is a good first step to start. An allergist can run various tests to point you in the right direction to determine what is causing your condition. The main goal of the food allergy elimination diet is to eliminate many nutrients from the diet simultaneously and then gradually bring them back one at a time. This way, which food or foods are causing a reaction will be much more apparent. Think of it as a science experiment where you are both the scientist and the test subject.
Before starting any diet, be sure to check with your doctor. Of course, check with your allergist, but also consider meeting with a dietitian to ensure you get the proper nutrition. Generally, the better you want it to work, the more foods you should eliminate first. A food allergy elimination diet removes gluten, nuts, eggs, dairy, soy, chicken, corn, pork, beef, citrus fruits, beans/lentils, coffee, and nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. Before you get anxious, remember that this still leaves you with tons of delicious food: most fruits and vegetables, meats like turkey, lamb, fish, and rice.
After 2-3 weeks away from your selected food groups, slowly reintroduce them into your diet. (One at a time, remember?) Choose a food group, eat it for a day, then observe over the next few days to see if you have any reactions. If not, you can safely add that food group to your diet again while trying another food group. If you notice a reaction, note it. (Careful note-taking is the key to any scientist!) And (of course) stop eating foods from that group.
For instance, consume a few portions of pork in one day, then cease eating it again for the next couple of days and watch for food allergy symptoms. If you don’t have any apparent reactions, add the pork back to your diet forever and move on to the next food to try. When you reintroduce all the food groups, you should have a list of the foods you reacted to and what the reactions were. Take your data to your allergist to discuss the results and develop a comprehensive treatment plan. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself! All that hard work was worth it!
Traditional Chinese Medicine, in general and Acupuncture particularly has been used to treat a range of allergy symptoms, from sneezing and a runny nose to swollen eyes.
People with food allergies are not always aware that their symptoms are caused by their food. It can often be more challenging to find out that a person is allergic to a particular type of food than to find out that a person is allergic to a bee sting, for example. Some people with oral allergy syndrome continue their daily lives with symptoms such as headaches or fatigue and have no idea that their symptoms may be due to food allergies.
The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture supports acupuncture for food allergies. Acupuncture for food allergies can help restore normal immune functions. A Chinese medicine practitioner will select acupuncture points and herbal formulas that support organ functioning, dispelling unhealthy excess patterns and nutritional deficiencies. Chinese medicine is a safe and effective way of treatment for food allergies.
A study published in 2002 reported a 95 percent effectiveness rate when using Chinese medicine to treat 20 patients with food allergies. All patients selected for the study were between six and 67 and suffered from food allergy gastritis after consuming certain nutrients. They each received a daily formula of prepared Chinese herbs. As a result, 14 patients were considered cured, and five patients improved. The Chinese medicine approach for some study participants helped the body respond to certain foods typically instead of eliminating those foods from a person’s diet.
Recent studies confirm the effectiveness of TCM herbs in preventing severe reactions in people suffering from food allergies. The specific formula of the eight Chinese herbs, including milk, dairy, peanuts, nuts, and fruit, has been shown to help reduce the incidence of anaphylaxis in people with various types of food allergies, including milk, dairy, nuts, and fruit. Herbal creams and herbal bath preparations can also help prevent severe reactions if used consistently during treatment.
The acupuncture practitioner will also use his extensive nutrition knowledge to help patients with celiac disease, food sensitivity, and food intolerance manage their diets. When dealing with allergies and sensitivities, finding what needs to be eliminated can be difficult as it is not always immediately evident to a person which foods or other environmental factors are involved in creating the unpleasant symptoms. Sometimes, a chronic allergy is a sign of Candida infection.
Homeopathic medicine is one of the most popular holistic systems in the world. The choice of homeopathic remedies for food allergies is based on the concept of individualization and the likeness of symptoms utilizing a holistic approach. This is the only way to fully return to health by eliminating all the signs and symptoms the patient suffers from. The goal of homeopathy for food allergies is not only to relieve food intolerance symptoms but also to eliminate its root cause and individual susceptibility. Concerning therapeutic drugs, several homeopathic remedies are available for treating food allergies, which can be selected depending on the cause, sensation, and nature of the complaint. The patient should consult a qualified homeopathic physician for individual selection and treatment of medicines.
The homeopathic treatment of food allergies may surprise some people: Food allergies will disappear entirely with proper treatment. This appears to be contrary to the usual medical approach of eliminating offensive food or using digestive aids and treating the patient as cured.
A true food allergy differs from food intolerance. When a patient develops hives or anaphylactic shock after exposure to a specific substance, it is a true allergy. It involves the immune system and can be life-threatening. An example of this could be peanut allergy, which is now seen quite often in children.
Some children have a true allergy to milk or eggs and react with an itchy rash (hives), edema, local or generalized, or changes in breathing, pulse, and consciousness (anaphylactic shock). In this condition, traditional medicine, such as antihistamines and adrenaline injections, can save a person’s life and should be the core of acute treatment for food allergies. Avoiding harsh foods for life makes sense if the risk is high.
In the meantime, homeopathic treatment of food allergies can help to strengthen the immune system. After homeopathic treatment for oral allergy syndrome, if there is an accidental exposure, the chances of a severe reaction are reduced. In addition, homeopathic remedies such as Apis Mellifica for urticaria can be added to conventional treatment.
Homeopathy sees food sensitivity as a disturbance in the patient’s energy system. This system keeps all tissues and organs, as well as emotions and the intellectual apparatus, functioning at an optimal level. Under stress, the energy system causes the appearance of specific symptoms, such as food intolerances or allergies. These symptoms are not a disease to cure per se but a reflection of an underlying and more profound malfunction.
The fundamental principle of homeopathy is akin to healing; in other words, a substance that can cause symptoms in a healthy person can cure those same symptoms in a sick person. There are over 2,500 remedies in the homeopathic pharmacopeia, so finding this remedy is not always easy. The strength of the remedy and the frequency of administration are also important factors for a successful outcome.
The most common homeopathic remedies for the treatment of food allergies
- Banana – Coffee, Ignatia, Kali Phosphoricum, Nux Vomica, Rumex
- Chicken – Bacillinum, Bryonia;
- Dal – Calcarea Carb, Lycopodium, Pulsatilla;
- Egg – Calcarea Carb, Cinchona, Colchicum, Ferrum Metallicum, Ledum, Lyssinum, Pulsatilla, Sulfur;
- Fish – Fluoric Acid, Kali Sulphuricum
- Gluten – aluminum acid;
- Honey – Natrum Carb, Phosphorus;
- Milk – Aethusa, Arsenicum Album, Lac. Defloratum, Magnesium Sulphuricum, Natrum Carbonicum, Psorinum, Tuberculinum;
- Mutton – a tincture of mother-lecithin, Lyssinum;
- Onions – Carcinosin, Lycopodium, Sulfur, Thuja;
- Peanuts – Molybdenum;
- Raisins – Ipecacuanha;
- Rice – Ignatia, Pulsatilla, Sulfur, Tellurium
- Tomatoes – Oleander mother tincture, Oxalic Acid
Holistic Treatment for Food Allergies in Philadelphia
Since holistic evaluation appointments at the clinic last for 1.5 hours or longer if necessary, getting ready for the appointment is recommended. Here are some tips to help you get ready for your visit. Also, what to expect from your visit and discussion with Dr. Tsan?
- Write down any symptoms you’ve had, including any symptoms unrelated to why you made your appointment.
- Write down important personal information, including critical stress or recent life changes.
- Prepare and print out, if possible, a list of all the pharmaceutical drugs, vitamins, and dietary supplements you are currently taking.
- Bring a family member or friend if possible. It can be challenging to remember all the info acquired during an appointment. Someone to accompany you may remember something you have missed or forgotten.
- Write down questions to ask Doctor Tsan.
Philadelphia Holistic Clinic houses all known holistic approaches and techniques under one roof, including homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki, etc. That means that all methods commonly used for treating food allergies that Dr. Tsan may recommend you undertake are available in one place, and you don’t have to travel from one doctor’s office to another. Contact our clinic at (267) 403-3085 today and start your journey to a healthy life.