How Common Are Food Allergies in the United States?

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How common are food allergies?

If you’re anything like most people, you probably assume that they’re common, but not THAT common. You occasionally hear about a child who is allergic to nuts or coconut, or sometimes milk.

A new study has found that nearly 6 million children in the United States suffer from food allergies.  The study analyzed 40,000 households in the US that had children less than 18 years old. This 6 million number accounts for about 8% of the child population in the United States.

Even more interesting is that of that 6 million, 30.4% had multiple food allergies, not just one. And 38.7% had a history of severe reactions to their trigger foods.  The most commonly reported allergies according to US Bio Tek, were:

Peanuts (25.2%)
Milk with (21.1%)
Shellfish with (17.2%)

Frighteningly, the number of children with food allergies has been on the rise. What can account for this? One contributing factor is that parents who have allergies are more likely to give birth to children with allergies. Of course, this is not the sole cause. The rise in allergies is a combination of genetics, environmental effects, and nutrition.

What causes allergic reactions?

Did you know it’s not necessarily the food that is making the body sick, so much as the body making itself sick?

By definition, an allergy is typically a response by the immune system to a food or substance that is not usually harmful to the body. The immune system protects the body against unknown or foreign substances – called antigens – by producing antibodies to fight them. Usually, the immune system pays no attention to substances that are not harmful, such as food, and only fights things that are harmful, like infections. When the body cannot tell the good from the bad is when an allergic reaction occurs. The body produces histamine to fight these ‘harmful substances’, but the histamine itself produces the symptoms of allergies, such as stuffy nose, racing heart, hives, etc.

Immunoglobulin E or IgE is an antibody found in the body, and is very common in Type I allergies, or hypersensitivity. It is very powerful in triggering the most powerful immune responses. When IgE levels are heightened, it is a good sign that the body is attacking something- be it a food or infection. Because of this, IgE levels are a good way to detect allergies that the body might have.

Several different exposure tests can be conducted via blood testing to target allergies and determine the effect that they have on the body.  The allergin-specific IgE test can also be used in immunotherapy or desensitization to see if a child has outgrown a specific allergy.

Understanding Allergies: How to Detect the Seemingly Undetectable Food Sensitivities

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Chances are that you or someone you know has an obvious allergy. In my practice, I have seen numerous ones coming in to see me following an allergic reaction to something simple as Sugar, Tomato, Corn and Peanut. They get hives, and their eyes swell to the size of golf balls. It isn’t very pretty, but it’s blatantly obvious that they have the allergies because their bodies have a physical reaction to it. This is known as a Type I or IgE reaction to food.

There is yet another type of reaction that is harder to detect. Type II or IgG reactions are not immediate and are moreso delayed reactions. Different foods break down and digest at different speeds so the toxicity of these foods to our body differs based on the type of food, the speed at which it breaks down, and our own body’s chemistry.

Though the explanation is suitable, it still leaves one wondering how to detect these allergies and sensitivities before they create more damage and potentially irreversible affects to the body. Without a very scientific and advanced test, IgG reactions and sensitivities are nearly impossible to detect.

Luckily, science is constantly advancing and there is a test that can be conducted to detect these slower moving toxic reactions. The IgG Food Allergy test. The testing from the outside seems simple enough. You or your child get your blood drawn, and then the lab sends you a list of your toxic foods. Many people find that they only have a few toxic foods that are in their workup, however these foods are a significant part of their regular diet. Imagine if you have an allergy to chicken and pasta. While these are only two foods, you might eat them several times a week. Imagine the damage you are doing to your body!

East Valley Naturopathic Doctor’s say:

“A Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) article revealed that more than 75% of the money spent on health care is spent on chronic conditions. Our research indicates that a great deal of these chronic conditions are the direct result of food toxicities; easily treatable by simply removing the foods from your diet.”

After changing their diet to avoid the foods that are proven toxic, people report that their concentration, energy, and general mood improve almost immediately.

Now, it is known that the Autistic body is often very sensitive and children with Autism have many allergies. A lot of these prove to be IgE allergies, to where an immediate reaction is seen. But with so many potential Type II, IgG reactions, what is your child really allergic to? Could the healthy foods that you are directed to give them be really causing havoc on their bodies? Sure, fruits are vegetables are reported to be good for the body, but what if YOUR body or YOUR CHILD’S body doesn’t process these foods in a way that is beneficial?

The only way to find out exactly what foods are good for the body is by having an IgG Food Allergy test done. This is the most efficient and complete way to discover what foods are toxic to your child’s body. Before you can put your child on any Gluten Free, Casein Free, or Limited Fruit diet, it’s important that you discover which foods are really beneficial to them.

The Importance of Mucosal Immunity: More Than Just Protection From Infection

Mucosal Immune System

When it comes to Autism, there are a lot of big words floating around. From Mercury to Mucosal Immunity and Hemoglobin levels to Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments (HBOT), things can get pretty overwhelming. We’ve covered the dangers of Mercury, and the vast improvements and advancements that the HBOT treatment has received. We haven’t yet discussed Mucosal Immunity and its importance, and in it’s own right, it serves a huge role in the prevention of infection.

Mucosal Immune System: The Need To Know Basics:

The Mucosal Immune System, much like it sounds (notice the closeness to “Mucous”), is one of the parts of the overall human immune system. The responsibility of the Mucosal Immune System, is to prevent  various infectious microbes from entering the mucous membranes. It basically protects the mucous membrane from infection. Additionally, it protects the body or balances it when microorganisms and other foreign materials enter the body.

Since a healthy mucosal immune system aids in the prevention of infection, it’s relatively obvious the reasons for its necessity, especially in the Autistic body that is typically more susceptible to infection.

How The Mucosal Immune System Works: In Easy-To-Understand Terms:

The beginning of the healthy, infection-free body starts in the immune system. The immune system itself is protected by its own barrier. In the mucosal immune system, this barrier is appropriately called the Mucosal Barrier. The Mucosal barrier is made up of mucous. A thick layer of mucous can prevent external infections from entering the body and infecting it.

Typically, when a suspected infection attempts to enter the Mucosal system, specific antibody production occurs. They’re on their mark, and ready for attack mode. As the infection fights back and if it penetrates the barrier, another backup immune system becomes involved, the humoral system.

As the infection continues to affect the mucosal barrier, antigens make their way into the body’s general circulation and inflammation and allergy can occur. Additionally if any of three particular antibodies are increased (IgA, IgM, or IgC), when a BHD test is ran, this can indicate an overload of yeast, dietary proteins, and aerobic bacteria. In most cases, this is a sure sign of a leaky gut syndrome.

If there is no intervention at this point and the bodies’ levels of antibodies aren’t adjusted, the mucosal immune system can actually begin to weaken, and eventually shut down. The mucosal immune system’s backup is the humoral immune system.

Imagine, if you will, a scenario where there is a boss and a secretary. The boss’ (the mucosal immune system) is built to handle tough situations (infections) and ward off trouble. Sometimes, there will be situations in which the secretary (humoral immune system) needs to hop in and help a bit. This is fine. In moderation. If the boss completely stops working, all of the work ends up on the secretary’s lap. This is a sure fire way to cause overload and burnout. Just as a secretary can burnout from too much work that isn’t being taken care of by the front end, so can the humoral immune system from a non-functioning mucosal immune system.

Mucosal Immune System and Vaccines

The mucosal immune system is also being researched due to its significant role in the human immune system. Because of its major function and “front-line status”, researchers are taking a close look at it’s role in vaccines, particularly AIDS and allergies.

The reason for this intense research, according to Nature.com, is that “using a mucosal route of vaccination is that most infections affect or start from a mucosal surface, and that in these infections, topical application of a vaccine is often required to induce a protective immune response.”

In simpler terms: many infections such as AIDS, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal infections begin in the mecosal region of the immune system, so a direct immunization to that specific area seems completely necessary to prevent the replication of these viruses.

Okay, so it’s a good idea, and seems like it should work, why aren’t there a variety of mucosal immunizations available?

As essential as these vaccines seem, and quite frankly are, it has proven difficult to stimulate positive responses from the mucosal immune system. According to Nature.com, as of 2005, only half dozen of the approved vaccines for humans are administered mucosally.