Articles by Dr. Lotte Valentin
Many people experience allergies, food allergies, pollen allergies or environmental allergies. When you experience an allergy symptom, which often consists of runny or watery eyes and nose, sneezing, asthma or intestinal complaints, your body is experiencing a malfunctioning of your immune system where your body is attacking the allergen thinking it’s a foreign and dangerous invader. When your body reacts to an allergen it activates your mast cells, which then release histamine and causes you to have a reaction. This cycle creates an inflammatory response causing you to experience leaky blood vessels and swelling of mucus membranes. This is why you take anti-histamines when you experience a reaction.
IgE is an antibody, a protein that our body will make when it mistakenly has identified one of your allergens as a harmful invader. IgE causes an immediate reaction. You will make one IgE for each specific allergy, i.e. one IgE for a dog, one IgE for peanuts etc so your body knows to attack with these antibodies each time you are exposed to that allergen. The result of this process is that a person with allergies will have an increased amount of IgE to allergic substances. You can have a blood test done to help determine what you are allergic to. When we speak about food allergies it is however estimated that IgG another antibody are involved in as much as 80% of the time. The IgG reactions are usually delayed and found in most of the chronic conditions. IgE antiboides don’t last as long in your body and have what we call a half life (when half of its life has been used) of only 1-2 days with the mast cells lasting only around 14 days, whereas IgG antibodies have a half life of about 21 days and the mast cells can stay around for up to 2-3 months!
The most common food allergies include Dairy products, corn, soy, wheat, eggs and citrus fruits. Other common food allergens are food coloring and food preservatives such as nitrites and nitrates, which in many people can cause symptoms of nausea. Carrigean gum, which is often found in products such as almond milk has also been linked to nausea and vomiting in some people.
There are many symptoms that can be associated with food allergies which range from gastrointestinal symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, colitis and malabsorption to genitourinary symptoms of bedwetting or bladder infections. Food allergies can also be linked to mental and emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression as well as musculoskeletal symptoms of joint pain. Another common phenomena with food allergies is that they can often be associated with respiratory symptoms such as asthma or chronic bronchitis as well as multiple skin problems and many other medical conditions.
Some of the main symptoms people with food allergies may experience are gastrointestinal problems, headaches, fatigue, skin rashes, chronic UTI’s, arthritis, anxiety and depression.
Many times you can reduce your allergy symptoms by learning to identify what you are allergic to and then try to avoid your allergens. For example, are you only experiencing symptoms around your house? Maybe there is a specific tree or bush growing next to your house that is causing your allergies? Maybe you only experience symptoms when eating certain foods? Maybe you only experience symptoms after using cleaning products in your house? Keep a list of when and where you experience symptoms as this can many times help you identify your allergens.
The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please discuss all your medical issues with your doctor.