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Sick All Over Syndrome

Delayed Patterns of Food Allergy

Despite medical advances, more than 150 million people in the USA and Canada are not well and receive little or no help from modern medicine. The least understood illness patterns are ill-defined and chronic. Our theory is that immune responses to food proteins cause some of this suffering and can be corrected with diet revision. We believe that these delayed patterns of food allergy may afflict more than 100 million people in the USA and Canada alone. This may seem to be an outrageous assertion, but if you examine the lengthening list of ill-defined and immune-mediated diseases, you have to be interested in this theory.

For many years I saw patients who complained of being sick-all-over. They often apologized for having so many symptoms and were grateful when I did not label them "hypochondriacs" or "depressed". The majority of these patients who complied with my instructions improved with diet revision and remained in better health as long as they stayed with a "safe core diet. I developed a standard method of diet revision, now called the Alpha Nutrition Program. Anyone who is sick-all-over can follow this program and, with a little luck and lot of determination, can restore more normal feeling and function.

Most patients I saw had chronic illness with features of a recurrent flu-like syndrome. They often had digestive complaints and most over the years accumulated health problems with diagnoses such as migraine, fibromyalgia, depression, chronic rhinitis or sinusitis, asthma, chronic fatigue, and arthralgias (joint pains). Their illnesses evolved over time. Often there was a "background noise" of milder but chronic symptoms, punctuated episodically by more acute and dramatic events. Most complained of fatigue, irritability, digestive disturbances, reduced exertional tolerance, sleep disturbances, flushing, sweating, swelling and cognitive dysfunction. Some recalled a lifetime of symptoms that began with colic, rhinitis, recurrent otitis media and/or eczema in infancy and progressed through different symptom patterns as the years went by.

Delayed patterns of food allergy are not obvious and generally go unrecognized. Symptom onset is delayed many hours after eating foods and chronic disease is often the result. Many unsolved diseases are either degenerative and/or inflammatory and are recognized to be immune-mediated or hypersensitivity diseases. The delayed patterns of food allergy can be the cause of chronic and disabling hypersensitivity disease. The stakes are high both for individual patients and for society as a whole. None of the common hypersensitivity diseases have been solved and most appear to rage on, afflicting increasing numbers of patients with chronic and disabling diseases. Asthma, allergy, rheumatic diseases, autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, thyroiditis, and psoriasis are examples of hypersensitivity diseases. We use celiac disease - wheat allergy- as a prototype which demonstrates the prolific ability of food allergy to produce a wide range of diseases.

Makes More Sense After You Get Better

This symptom complex didn't make much sense without a standard method of diet revision to reveal the food origin of the disease. The basic idea is demonstrate clearing of symptoms using a food holiday or a very simple safe set of foods. A food holiday is the most important initial experiment since the sick patient stops eating the foods that are making him or her ill, the illness subsides and symptoms clear. About 30 years ago I began to recommend an elemental nutrient formula (ENF), free of protein and peptide antigens to replace food on a food holiday and the results were often dramatic. 10 days became the standard food holiday because most symptoms improved within 10 days, although for the sickest patients, up to 20 days was sometimes required before the symptoms cleared. Some times, the improvement was obvious in a few days, but we recognized that most patients felt worse for a few days before they started to improve.

Many of the ever-enlarging pool of patients who are not well but who do not have the markers of specific disease can be included in the sick-all-over syndrome. Patients with in-between disease have some of the symptoms and signs that suggest the diagnosis of specific disease but not everything fits together. Most chronic diseases take many years to evolve so that many in-between patients are on their way to the final disease product. The concept of delayed patterns of immune response ("food allergy") to food materials provides both a theoretic and practical basis for interpreting symptoms of patients who were sick all over.

Protein and Disease

In the popular imagination, proteins are the safe and desirable components of food. Many food products are promoted by “high protein content” and protein is connected with increased energy. In body- building fantasies increased protein turns into bulk muscles. Standard nutritional recommendations in Canada and the USA promoted meat, milk, wheat and egg consumption and recommended intake levels for protein intakes tend to be excessive. The idea that proteins are agents of disease is foreign to popular nutrition and most physicians are unaware of protein disease. Protein diseases can be divided into six categories:

1 Immune mediated disease, proteins act as antigens

2. Protein excess disease from impaired ammonia processing.

3. Peptide-related dysfunction and disease

4. Metabolic errors in amino acid metabolism

5. Non-nutrient amino acid disease

6. Prion diseases, proteins acting as infectious agents.

Proteins are the identification tags that are displayed on cell surfaces. Proteins that trigger immune responses are called antigens. Immune cells make antibodies to bind to antigens. Antibodies are proteins, so that immune activity can be visualized as a complex interaction of protein molecules with immune cells acting as intermediaries.

A.J. Rowe, T.G. Randolph, and Fredrick Speer were among the first American allergists to associate chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and recurrent flu-like patterns of illness with food and inhalant allergies. Rowe described "allergic toxemia" in 1930 with the symptoms of drowsiness, mental confusion, lack of initiative and ambition, irritability, fatigue, aching, and a feeling of being poisoned. Rowe developed a system of elimination and rotation diets to treat "allergic toxemia" and reported that a wide spectrum of mental-emotional and physical symptoms could be relieved by diet revision. Randolph and Speer also associated a similar symptom complex with food and inhalant allergies. Speer referred to the "allergic-tension-fatigue" syndrome and described "motor fatigue". A number of popular books have followed and advanced the idea of diet revision to solve these non-specific illness problems.

The idea in all this literature was that the immune mechanisms responsible for broad clinical spectrum went beyond the mechanism revealed by skin tests and that diagnosis and treatment of food allergy involved empirical diet revision. Several diet revision ideas were advocated; most began with an attempt to show that the patient would improve by eliminating higher risk foods for several days to weeks. Opinions varied about which foods were the best tolerated although milk, wheat, eggs, are always included in the higher risk food category; rice and cooked vegetables in the lower risk category.

Listen to Sick All Over - an Expression of Delayed Pattern Food Allergy

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