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Allergy Testing…The Unreliable Ones!!!

One of the most frustrating things in my line of work, is coming across people who have self diagnosed themselves or have claimed to find a treatment thanks to all the false marketing that is out there! Big corporations take advantage of people’s ignorance and sadly, make a lot of money out of it.
I thought I would talk about a matter that I truly feel people need to be aware of & that is what FOOD ALLERGY truly is and all the unreliable – unorthodox tests available out there.
As a quick definition – a food allergy occurs when your body’s immune system reacts to a protein in a certain food. People tend to suffer symptoms after eating particular foods. They may therefore think that they are “allergic” to these foods. In most cases they do not have an allergy, but an intolerance. That is why it is important to know the difference between the two and seek professional help if you do suspect either.

I won’t go into detail about food intolerance since it is another topic for discussion but will focus more on allergies!

The most common food allergies include:
*Egg
*Cow’s milk
*Peanuts
*Tree nuts including cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts
*Sesame seeds
*Soy
*Wheat
*Fish and shellfish
Symptoms can include : Eczema , Hives, Facial swelling, Itching or swelling of the lips, tongue or mouth, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Itching or tightness in the throat, Breathing difficulty.
A more serious reaction that could occur is Anaphylaxis which can be life threatening unless treated immediately.
The Cure – Total avoidance of the problem food (aka allergen).
 

Allergy Testing
 
Now the way to “diagnose”a food allergy is by using skin prick tests or blood tests for allergen specific IgE (RAST) which will help your doctor confirm which allergens you are sensitive to. It is important to note that allergy test results cannot be used on their own and must be considered together with your medical history.

UNPROVEN TESTS!!!
The following section is taken from the official website of the The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) which is the peak professional body of Clinical Immunologists and Allergists in Australia and New Zealand.
“Some unorthodox practitioners claim that conventional allergy testing only detects some types of allergies. They state that conditions such as headaches, migraine, irritable bowel, muscle tension, pain, addiction, premenstrual syndrome, fatigue or depression are due to hidden allergies, yet there is no evidence for these claims.”
The most common unproven tests are quite lengthy to mention here so to see full list follow this link http://www.allergy.org.au/content/view/261/1/
In my opinion, the most common unorthodox tests are those that are based on IgG food antibody testing. IgG antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to exposure to external triggers, like pollens, foods or insect venom. IgG antibodies to food are commonly detectable in healthy adult patients and children, whether food-related symptoms are present or not. There is no credible evidence that measuring IgG antibodies is useful for diagnosing food allergy or intolerance, nor that IgG antibodies cause symptoms. (The only exception is that gliadin IgG antibodies can be used to monitor the success of avoiding gluten in people with proven coeliac disease.). Despite studies showing the uselessness of this technique, it continues to be promoted.
If you do choose to get tested for an allergy – don’t be afraid to ask the practitioner these questions:
*Is there scientific evidence that it works? Has such evidence been published?
*How much does it cost?
*Why doesn’t my own doctor suggest this type of treatment?
*What are the qualifications of the practitioner recommending the treatment?

The ASCIA website is an excellent resource for knowing more about allergies.

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