Dr. med. Elisabeth Scherwitz Josenhans, Traunstein
It is no longer possible to diagnose food allergies or food intolerances, particularly in children, simply with traditional allergy tests. More and more masked allergic disorders involving a variety of symptoms are occurring. This is particularly true of food allergies. Today food allergy is a disease with many clinical pictures. It includes a wide range of different types of complaints which affect the whole body from head to toe (see diagram 1 by Prof Wiithrich, Zurich).
Food intolerance is usually seen on the skin, in the form of a rash or local swelling, mostly however as neurodermatitis or else simply as general itching.
Obviously, as you might expect, food intolerance can also manifest itself through disorders of the digestive organs. This can range from a simple aversion to a particular food to chronic diarrhoea. Abdominal cramps, vomiting, flatulence and proctitis are also possible.
If a patient presented with arthralgia and myalgia, would any of you think of food allergy?
It should also be borne in mind that migraine, dizziness and emotional changes can point to a food intolerance.
If a child’s growth or development is retarded or if it is unable to sleep or is hyperactive, it is important to rule out food allergy.
The nose, throat and lungs are also frequently affected by food intolerance, e. g. colds, conjunctivitis, asthma and spasmodic bronchitis may be caused by food. The so called staple foodstuffs such as milk and wheat are responsible for a large number of these cases.
Food additives identified by E numbers are classified according to use.
Hypersensitivity reactions can also be triggered by additives used in modern food technology as
well as by the food itself. These include:
- emulsifiers and
- flavour enhancers
- sweeteners, etc.
It doesn’t take a doctor to diagnose an acute food allergy. A person who eats a strawberry and then breaks out into a rash knows by the second time that he’s allergic to strawberries. This acute form develops immediately, we call it an „early reaction type allergy”. However, these acute allergies only relate to a few foods and also occur relatively infrequently.
Chronic food allergies, on the other hand, are far more common, generally appearing as masked forms of allergy. Chronic food allergy develops when frequent, and usually also excessive, consumption of a particular food over a prolonged period results in an accumulation in the body.
Initially the body and its metabolism can cope with this. Soon, however, the body loses this ability, it becomes too much for it in the true sense of the word. Dr. Theron Randolph from Chicago, the founder of clinical ecology, describes this process as food addiction. Paradoxically the body constantly craves this food to maintain its well being. If it is suddenly deprived of it, then withdrawal symptoms occur almost like with a drug. The condition manifests itself in various kinds of physical and mental problems. The fact that an offending food first makes symptoms disappear then reappear again further complicates diagnosis and treatment.
It is difficult to identify a direct link between symptoms and food consumption in the case of chronic food allergies. The symptoms generally only occur later as so called withdrawal symptoms.
Unfortunately it is often the patient’s favourite foods which provoke this allergic response (Table 2).
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DIAGNOSING FOOD ALLERGY?
Prof Richard Mackarness has developed 5 key symptoms for this. Even if only 2 of these are present, then there is a definite probability of a chronic food allergy (Table 3).
Foods which cause masked allergies
Key symptoms for food allergyby Prof Richard Mackarness
The symptoms described apply to masked and chronic food allergies. These are difficult or even impossible to diagnose using traditional allergological test methods. Positive skin test reactions in prick tests, scratch tests or intracutaneous tests certainly often produce a result yet these are quite inadequate for diagnosing food allergy. Additional test methods are therefore now urgently needed.
In my practice combined techniques such as kinesiology and bioresonance testing have proved useful.
Computerised regulation thermography has recently been employed in my practice and this gives a clear indication of the presence of a food allergy or intolerance.
Once thermography is completed, kinesiological or bioresonance testing can then be used to determine which are the main food allergens.
It is important with these complementary test methods to find the so called primary or parent allergy. This is generally one of the 3 staple foods — milk, wheat and eggs.
There are a number of modern blood tests for detecting food allergies whose usefulness varies. Usually they find too many allergens (up to well over 40) and do not suggest a logical route for therapy, simply because of the number of allergens detected. Food allergy can also be identified through a so called rotation diet. In practice this method is not straightforward and is usually only carried out in special clinics.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT TREATING FOOD ALLERGIES?
As with all treatments, the first step is to stop eating the offending foods. Possible substitutes should be indicated. This is not always easy. Foods are often present as hidden ingredients, e. g. you must remember to avoid chocolate and ice-cream with a lactalbumin allergy.
Sometimes you almost need detective skills in order to avoid food allergens, for example, a sesameeed roll can create problems for a person with egg albumin allergy. The reason: The sesame seeds are often stuck to the roll with egg white. A veal sausage can be the undoing of someone with soya allergy if he doesn’t know the sausage contains soya.
Food allergies can obviously be treated with traditional medicine, antihistamines, for example, which are particularly effective against itching.
Side effects such as tiredness occur. Long term treatment is not beneficial.
Bioresonance therapy has proved effective in my practice especially for treating allergies associated with the staple foods, cow’s milk and wheat.
Bach flower remedies can also be used to support treatment.
Rigorous intestinal cleanup is essential when treating food allergies and also with hidden food allergies, of course. This doesn’t just involve socalled intestinal symbiosis control and regenerating the normal intestinal flora.
the vital immunological system around the intestinal mucosa and viii. It is not possible to treat food allergy rigorously without intestinal therapy.
Various medications are used in my practice for intestinal cleanup and symbiosis control as well as Sanum preparations after testing out tolerance.
A very old method of regenerating the intestinal flora and removing harmful microorganisms from the intestine is a diet rich in lactically fermented foods such as sauerkraut, lactically fermented vegetable juices, yoghurt with D-lactic acid, etc.
A new therapy from Holland for regenerating healthy intestinal flora is ozonised vegetable oils.
Food supplements (grapefruit pip extract) are definitely especially suitable for regenerating the intestines’ immunological system as well as the immunological system as a whole.
Scientific studies reveal deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and trace elements in our food which are worrying, to say the least. In the last 10 years alone the nutritional content of almost all kinds of fruit and vegetables has, on average, virtually halved. Despite our affluent society, large social groups are no longer receiving all the vitamins they need.
Homeopathic treatment with constitutional remedies can obviously also be used with food allergies.
The great nutritionist Dr. Bruker believes that food allergy can be cured by following a diet completely free of animal protein for up to six months.
Obviously patients should endeavour to eat an adequate diet.