"Anyone who has been a patient of mine or has attended my public
knows I am an uncompromising advocate of the proper diagnosis and
treatment of delayed food allergies. But what are delayed food
and exactly how does one go about having them them tested?"
James Braly, M.D. -
A food allergy develops when your immune system, by means of an odd mixture of immune cells, antibodies and chemical mediators, reacts in an attempt to reject a food in your diet.
There are four different types of immune reactions in food allergy. These are called Types 1, 2, 3, and 4. More than one type of reaction can occur at the same time in the same allergic individual. Types 1 and 3 will be our focus of this section.
The best known and well-studied form of food allergies is called a Type 1 immune reaction. Type 1 food allergies occur in less than 5 percent of the population -- mostly in children, They are also called immediate-onset, IgE-mediated and/or atopic food allergies. Usually occurring in the genetically predisposed individual, the immune system begins creating a specific type of antibody called IgE (immunoglobulin IgE) to certain foods. One side of the IgE antibody will recognize and tenaciously bind to the allergic food. The other side of the antibody is attached to a specialized immune cell packed with histamine, called the Mast cell. Primed for action, the IgE antibody now only have to patiently wait for re-exposure to food allergens.
When you eat the allergic food the next time, IgE antibodies hungrily latch onto the food. Instantaneously histamine and other allergy-related chemicals -- called chemical mediators -- are released from the mast cell, rapidly bringing on the unwelcome appearance of stomach cramping, diarrhea, skin rashes, hives, swelling, wheezing or the most dreaded of Type 1 reactions, anaphylaxis.
Type 3 Delayed-Onset Food Allergy...
Type 3 immune reactions are much more commonly involved in food allergy than Type 1 reactions. A Type 3 food allergy also involves the immune system. They occur when your immune system creates an overabundance of IgG antibodies to a particular food. The IgG antibodies, instead of attaching to mast cells like IgE antibodies in Type 1 allergies, bind directly to the food as it enters the bloodstream, forming different sizes of so-called circulating immune complexes (food allergens bound to antibodies circulating in the bloodstream). The allergic symptoms in Type 3 immune reactions are delayed in onset, appearing anywhere from within two hours up to several days after consuming allergic foods (Example: migraine headaches characteristically first appear 48 hours after allergic foods are eaten). Delayed food reactions may emanate from any organ or tissue in the human body, provoking over 100 allergic symptoms and well over 150 different medical diseases. An estimated 60 to 80 million Americans suffer from clinically significant food allergies, most all of whom suffer delayed symptoms.
Immediate vs Delayed Food Allergy...
Here's a overview of the important differences between these two types of food allergies:
* Once thought to be the only "true" food allergy, immediate food allergy is common in children, but rare in adults. Once thought to be uncommon at best, delayed food allergy is now thought by many investigators to be quite common. In fact, it is the most common form of food allergy in children and adults.
* Allergic symptoms in immediate reactions occur within two hours of eating. Allergic symptoms in delayed reactions do not appear for at least 2 hours, not infrequently showing up 24 to 48 hours later (there are even reports of delayed symptoms appearing 3 to 7 days after eating).
* Immediate-onset food allergy involves one or two foods in the diet, as a rule. Delayed reactions characteristically involve 3 to 10 foods, sometimes as many of 20 foods in very allergic, "leaky" individuals.
* Because a small amount of a single food is involved and the allergic symptoms appear immediately, immediate food allergy is usually self-diagnosed. You eat the food. It causes symptoms quickly. You see the connection. You stop eating it. Due to a combination of delayed symptoms, multiple foods, and food cravings, Type 3 delayed-onset food allergies are rarely self-diagnosed. To detect the allergic foods here you will need the skills of a health professional who's smart about food allergies and the use of laboratory immunoassays needed to help you discover what foods you're allergic to.
* Immediate food allergy involves foods that are rarely eaten. Unfortunately, delayed food allergy involves commonly eaten foods, foods that you eat every day and may even crave.
* When people quit eating foods that cause immediate symptoms, they have no withdrawal or detoxification symptoms. They don't crave or miss these foods. Powerful addictive cravings and disabling withdrawal symptoms are reported in over 30 percent of delayed food allergy patients when they stop eating food.
* Immediate food allergens primarily affect the skin, airway and the digestive tract. Virtually any tissue, organ or system of the body can be affected by delayed food allergy. This includes the brain, joints, muscles, hormone-producing glands, lungs, kidneys, and nervous system. In fact, delayed-onset food allergy is linked to over 100 medical conditions involving every single part of the body and some 100 different allergic symptoms.
* Immediate-onset food allergies are frequently permanent and fixed allergies. Once you develop an allergy to peanuts or shellfish, for example, it's for life. Delayed-onset food allergies are commonly reversible. If you strictly eliminate the allergic foods for 3 to 6 months, you can bring most of them back into your diet and remain symptom-free. Because delayed-onset food allergies are so often undetected and untreated, they lie behind many of chronic medical conditions of unknown cause. These allergic people suffer for years, even decades, without ever suspecting that their health problems are rooted in what they eat.
* Immediate-onset food allergy is often a skin-test positive allergy. The doctor can diagnose it with a simple skin test. Delayed food allergies are skin-test negative. The traditional skin tests are poor tests for detecting delayed food allergies. Instead, delayed reactions food often require state-of-the-art blood tests. These tests detect serum levels of IgG antibodies to foods -- IgA antibody as well as IgG in gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.
* Because delayed food allergies do not make themselves apparent immediately and can be caused by multiple foods, they are very difficult to detect without sophisticated laboratory testing. There are many forms of allergy testing available such as cytotoxic, computerized cytotoxic, applied kinesiology, vega tests, and others, but each of these tests share the same critical disadvantage... they are frequently unreliable.
The following criteria are important to me, as well as they should be to the food allergy sufferer, when choosing a test for detecting and treating delayed food allergies:
1. Reproducibility and "split sampling"...
There are two methods to test if a laboratory can reproduce a test results on a "split sample":
a). If you were to have your blood drawn, divided into two test tubes ("splitting the sample") and send, at the same time, both specimen tubes to the same unsuspecting lab under two completely different names, the two lab results should be nearly identical. (Note: In terms of proper identification of reactive foods and the degree of reactivity, the two test results should agree with one another at least 90-95% of the time.)
This is very important because it validates the lab's ability to produce consistently reliable test results on a daily basis. I personally sent split samples York Nutritional Laboratory, Ltd. and they reproduced test results better than any other IgG ELISA food allergy testing lab whom I've ever sent split samples to!
b). If you were to have your blood drawn, divided into two test tubes ("splitting the sample") and then send one of the specimen tubes to the an unsuspecting lab under one name and then a month or two later send the second specimen tube (which has been frozen since its collection) to the same unsuspecting lab under a different name, the lab results of the first tube when compared to the lab results of the second tube should be nearly identical. (Note: In terms of proper identification of reactive foods and the degree of reactivity, the two test results should agree with one another at least 90-95% of the time.)
This is very important because it validates the lab's ability to produce consistently reliable testing plates and antigen mixes between different batches. I am not aware of any IgG ELISA food allergy testing lab that can do this other than York Nutritional Laboratory, Ltd.
2. Patient Satisfaction...
After 3 to 6 months free of allergic foods, if significant overall improvement in a patient's symptoms is not apparent, I question if the laboratory test is a good one. A validated patient satisfaction rate supports the clinical effectiveness of the delayed food allergy laboratory test I recommend.
3. Independent Validation Studies...
I always look for the scientific evidence and research behind a laboratory test. Before I ever recommend a test, I must be assured of the quality and reliability of the testing by the testing laboratory receiving independent validation of its accuracy and clinical effectiveness confirmed with rigorous scientific controls. Not only do I look at the studies provided by the testing laboratory itself, which are usually funded by the testing laboratory, I also look for true independent validation though audits and studies performed by those who are not associated in any way with the testing laboratory.
4. 100% Quality Guarantee...
In an ideal world, I like getting a guarantee from a testing laboratory. What does it say when a laboratory won't guarantee their testing?
5. Specimen Stability...
For accuracy and reproducibility, it is important that a delayed food allergy test is not influenced by the stability of a specimen. Specimens which deteriorate within 24 hours of the blood draw cannot be considered reliable and I am suspicious when a lab requires a specimen to be their testing facility in less than 2 weeks of the blood draw. In both these cases, not only are the results affected, but the patient is considerably inconvenienced due to the need for a re-draw.
6. Testing Of All IgG Sub-classes...
There are four sub-classes of IgG (IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, IgG4) and clinical research has identified that significant allergens are mediated by all four. By not screening for all sub-classes, treatment may only be partially effective.
7. Easy To Understand Test Results...
It is important that a patient (and his/her medical counsel) are able to easily understand the results provided by the testing laboratory. Not only is detailed information important, but simple to interpret results are equally important so to support a program which provide actual benefit to the patient.
8. Easy Specimen Collection...
It is very important not only for a laboratory to provide a high quality test, but also that both doctors and patients do not have to jump though hoops in order to meet the lab's specimen collection and preparation requirements. I know of many "good" lab tests that are very inconvenient for doctors to prescribe and/or for patients to request for themselves. These tests usually require things such as over-nighting specimens to the lab before they "go bad", the need for a phlebotomist to draw and prepare a blood specimen, etc. Additionally, all these "extra" requirements end up costing the patient more time and more money!
The more convenient and cost-effective it is for a patient to receive a high quality food allergy test, even better the test!
The IgG ELISA Food Intolerance Test...
Only through a substantial number of tests
control procedures can a laboratory provide a reliable food allergy
The food allergy testing offered through this web site is one of the
food allergy testing laboratories in the world.
The lab performs a number of unique steps in assuring some of the best food allergy testing available today. Proper procedures must be in place and followed to provide reliable testing. Additionally, they have years of records showing reproducibility of tests and substantial patient satisfaction. There is much more to this than you might imagine. In order to insure continuous quality and reliability, the lab exceeds the mandated requirements.
Very impressive is the lab's validation. This "gold seal" of quality guarantees the reproducibly, efficacy and reliability of the testing.
In additional to being the highest quality IgG ELISA food allergy test we are aware of, the lab developed a Comprehensive and convenient pin-prick collection method for obtaining specimen samples. There is no need for a full blood draw, thus no need (or extra expense) to make an appointment with phlebotomist. In the comfort of your own home or office, you can quietly relax, and at your leisure, collect the few drops of blood the lab requires in order to test you for IgG-mediated food allergy against 96 foods!
It is also very easy it is to read and interpret the printed results of the 96 foods tested. Also, you just don't get a piece of paper, but rather a complete treatment protocol. This includes easy to understand test results which show the food you are tested for, which one you are reactive too, which ones are "safe", a 50+ page Food Intolerance Guide Book, and 12 months of complimentary support.
Finally, there is the matter of getting one's money worth. Not only does is the test very cost-effective ($379.00 for their 96-food panel), which is hundreds of dollars less than what other labs charge for their IgG food allergy testing services.
For more information on the IgG ELISA Food Allergy Test, or to request delayed food allergy testing for yourself or a loved one, please visit our Health Store.