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Food Allergy Brief Introduction
Food allergy is a complex of immune responses that can cause chronic disease. We think that 100 Million Canadians and Americans have disease from Food Allergy. The advocates of a broad definition of food allergy run the risk of being evangelical.
The conviction that food allergy is a common cause of disease comes from several vantage points:
There are different types of food allergy.
1. The immediate or type 1 food allergy pattern is easily recognized because it involves quick and dramatic symptoms. Hay fever is the most common type 1 allergy and can be diagnosed by allergy skin tests. Some food allergy is also type 1 and shows up on skin tests.
2. Delayed patterns of food allergy are not so obvious and generally go unrecognized. Allergy skin tests do not show this problem nor do IgE antibody tests. Symptom onset is delayed many hours after eating foods and chronic disease is often the result.
Food Allergy as Common Disease
Knowledge of the nature and mechanism of allergic reactions to foods is limited. Uncertainty about mechanisms of food reactions continues into the community where many improvised and questionable tests and treatments for food allergy or "food sensitivity" have become popular. The relative neglect of food factors in medical practice creates interesting blind-spots in the handling of patients and the understanding of disease. A major shift of popular interest in food problems, however, has created a need for better informed physicians who are ready to grapple with the real-life issues of food, eating, and the multifaceted problem of adverse reactions to food. The subject of food allergy has never assumed the importance that it is due.
Many books in the popular literature talk about food allergy, sensitivity and intolerance. Many books and articles proclaim the benefits of diet revision and a ground-swell of interest and concern has engaged an ever-enlarging group of patients in the search for nutritional solutions to their health problems. A variety of practitioners have emerged with dubious schemes to test for and treat "food sensitivity". Some MDs, unfortunately, have retreated to the safe ground of ignorance & prejudice and believe that food allergy is something for quacks and charlatans and not real doctors.
Often, the patients who benefit from proper diet revision are distanced from a medical profession who is not interested or denies the problem of food allergy. Some of the issues that arise are semantic and political; some of the issues arise from vested interests attempting to control public opinion. Other issues involve the very complex biology of food-body interactions, which are not well understood. Yet other issues involve the changes in the food supply which have accelerated in the past few decades.
When you do not know about food allergy mysterious diseases surround you. When you know about food allergy, a lot of common illness patterns begin to make 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 finds many aspects of food intolerance difficult to swallow, but 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."
Here are our basic assumptions:
The Most Common Symptoms
The most common presentation of food allergy is a nonspecific illness with many symptoms in many parts of the body over a long period of time (months to years). Flushing, sweating, fevers with food allergy feel like an infection or the "flu". The illness may be mild and involve symptoms which either come and go over many years or the illness may progress and become disabling.
A whole-body disease
The Alpha Nutrition Program is a complete diet revision package, designed to solve the complex problems of food allergy and related disorders.
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