Food allergies, poor results

In last week’s article, we discussed how poor digestion can contribute to poor performance at school. This is actually one of the most common reasons parents bring their kids in to see naturopathic doctors. They often feel that there is an underlying nutrition or digestion issue contributing to their children’s difficulties at school. In my practice, I would say that the majority of times the parents are on the right track. We are able to find nutritional and digestive problems causing or worsening the behaviour issues at school. In this week’s article we will investigate the role of Type II allergies.

It is very common for people to feel like they are allergic to a food or environmental substance. People often come into the office saying that they don’t feel well when they are exposed to the suspicious food or substance. The symptoms tend to be immediate upon exposure and tend to affect the skin or upper respiratory tract. These allergies are typically considered Type I allergies. Antihistamines usually work well for the symptoms but avoiding the food or substance is often the best treatment. Type I allergies are not the issue for most children NDs see with behaviour problems at school. This is because of how easy it is to identify behaviour changes upon exposure.

Type II allergies are known to have a delayed inflammatory response that starts to manifest at least two hours after exposure. Often, these symptoms are not visible for more than 24 hours after exposure. The symptoms of a Type II delayed allergy tend to be low-grade and inflammatory in nature. This makes them difficult to pinpoint to any one particular food or substance. We are most likely to have a Type II reaction to foods we eat on a regular basis. This is another factor that makes them so difficult to detect because regular consumption creates a near-constant inflammatory load in the body.

The inflammation from a Type II reaction comes from the production of an antibody called IgG. This antibody is not related to histamine and thus antihistamines have no effect. Inflammation from IgG can create a myriad of symptoms. The most common fit into the chronic inflammatory categories like eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, headaches, joint pain, malaise, fatigue, poor concentration, bloating, constipation, abdominal discomfort, and overall poor digestion.

Chronic inflammation from Type II reactions is relatively easy to test for. Most naturopathic doctors use blood testing to identify how much IgG is produced upon exposure to individual foods. The blood sample can be collected by a finger prick for young children or intravenously for older children and adults. There are dozens of labs across North America who process the Type II allergy tests. We usually get the results back from the lab in 2-3 weeks after collection.

Type II allergies are worthy of testing for if your child is having difficulties in school. There aretwo main reasons I say this. First of all, these delayed reactions can act like a cloud hanging over a child’s head. They tend to make a child less able to truly be themselves because there’s a near continuous inflammatory anchor on their back. The second reason is because of how easy these can be to identify and treat. The blood test is easy to do and it’s relatively easy to avoid a food once it’s identified. There’s often an initial backlash from the child when you remove a food from their diet. However, if that food was causing problems, everyone will notice the benefits, including the child. In many cases, the child doesn’t miss the food at all after 1-2 weeks of avoidance.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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