Managing Food Allergy
This is an important book for a large number of people who suffer from chronic diseases that are poorly understood, treated incorrectly and often dismissed by MDs who should know better. This book by Stephen Gislason MD is available as a print edition for mail delivery or as an inexpensive eBook for download.
An Introduction to Food Allergy The concept of immune responses to food antigens is useful in understanding many diseases. Many of the major unsolved disease of our civilization are either degenerative and/or inflammatory and many are recognized to be inflammatory, immune-mediated, hypersensitivity diseases. In this review, a general theory of hypersensitivity disease as a continuum of disease-causing mechanisms is presented. The term "hypersensitivity" refers to immune-mediated processes that lead to disease. As we consider the possible role of food antigens in causing or contributing to immune-mediated diseases, we look for opportunities to help patients with simple and safe therapeutic strategies such as diet revision.
The basic phenomena that concern us are:
Food antigens activate immune networks
Activated immune networks produce symptoms
Long-term activation of immune networks causes chronic disease
The food supply is the most abundant source of antigenic material
Rheumatic diseases, autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, insulin-dependent diabetes, thyroiditis, psoriasis are examples of hypersensitivity diseases that involve humoral and cell-mediated immunity. The common specific problems that are related to allergy include asthma, rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, urticaria, anaphylaxis, angioedema, allergic gastroenteropathy, and allergic arthritis. Many patients will express several of these hypersensitivity phenomena over a lifetime and demonstrate an underlying tendency to be hypersensitive. An important concern is the possibility that the chemical soup created by our civilization drives increasing numbers of individuals into hypersensitivity illness. The advocates of a broad definition of food allergy run the risk of being evangelical. The conviction that food allergy is a ubiquitous cause of disease comes from knowing the benefits of careful diet revision in medical practice.
Books in the popular literature proclaim the benefits of diet revision and a ground swell of interest and concern has engaged an ever-enlarging group of patients. Often, the patient who benefits from proper diet revision is distanced from a medical profession who is either not interested or denies the problem of food allergy. Some of the issues that arise are semantic and political, but other issues involve the very complex biology of food-body interactions that are not well understood. Other issues involve the changes in the food supply that have accelerated in the past few decades. When you do not know about food allergy, you are surrounded by mysterious diseases. When you know about food allergy, several common illness patterns begin to make more sense. Linda Gamlin writing about food allergy in the New Scientist stated that:
"Evidence is growing that many debilitating and chronic symptoms of ill health come from an intolerance for certain foods. The medical establishment remains largely hostile to the notion, leaving the field open to the medical fringe. The main problem is the plethora of symptoms and the variations from one patient to another. Doctors working with food intolerance report more than 40 possible symptoms and conditions...the severity also varies. Some patients are said to have nothing more than the occasional migraine or bout of fatigue, while at the other end of the scale the sufferer is unable to work or lead any sort of normal life."
In response to allergy lobby groups in the USA, the US Congress passed a bill that requires notice on the labels of foodstuffs that contain eight of the most common food allergens. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, required plain English labeling by 2006 of products containing wheat, milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, or eggs. These account for an estimated 90% of all food allergies. The bill also requires the Food and Drug Administration to develop a definition of the term "gluten-free" to help those with celiac disease and who require a gluten free diet for other reasons.
Here is Dr Gislason's Preface
Food allergy, as a topic in medicine, has been actively suppressed for many years and is not properly taught in medical schools. Commonly quoted "expert" opinions tend to minimize the incidence and importance of food allergy. While the dogma is misleading, it represents wealthy vested interests and is remarkably persistent. I began to learn about food allergy in 1981 when I first developed inflammatory arthritis. I discovered a simple truth that eating a few safe foods resolved my illness and returning to my previously normal diet recreated the illness that was so severe, I could not work or enjoy life. Later, I developed dermatitis herpetiformis and realized that even a small amount of wheat in my diet was a problem
I thought that my medical colleagues would be as excited as I was to discover that serious illness could be cured with diet revision. I did encounter the occasional MD who shared my enthusiasm for further research but most MDs were hostile to the science of food allergy, even when the therapies they offered patients were ineffective and even harmful. I have learned a lot about the politics of medicine and the strategies used by corporations to control the market place. The problem is not that 25% of people recognize symptoms from food ingestion, but that many more people do not recognize that food is making them ill. I hope the reader will take the time to find out why I think food allergy is such an important mechanism of disease and how to resolve common food-related health problems by diet revision.
This book is directed to the general reader with interest and ability to self manage disease at home. At Alpha Nutrition we are committed to educating people about food-caused illnesses and to point to opportunities to resolve even serious illness on their own. Our strategies of self-management are simple and straight forward, but require knowledge, perspective and self control. We are the first to acknowledge that some people lack these prerequisites and our information will not help them.
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