Is My Child Reacting to Foods?
Food allergy testing can be a complicated and confusing topic. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that there are different types of food reactions. Most people are familiar with IgE food allergies. IgE food allergies cause immediate reactions that can result in airway distress or hives. Most of us are aware of children who are so reactive to a food like peanuts that they need to carry an epi pen with them at all times. These IgE reactions can be diagnosed with “skin-prick” testing in an allergist’s office. Another type of food reaction are IgG food allergies. In reality, these reactions are not truly allergies but are food sensitivities or intolerances. These food reactions are known as delayed or hidden food allergies and can cause symptoms up to 72 hours after eating the offending food. They can have a profound effect on your child’s health. These food reactions are often identified through specialized blood tests.
Childhood Illness and Food Allergies
Common childhood complaints can have many different underlying causes. NaturoMedica physicians take a comprehensive approach, investigating and evaluating all possible causes for pediatric illness. Hidden food allergies or food sensitivities can be the underlying cause or factor in many chronic pediatric health concerns and childhood illnesses. NaturoMedica recommends IgG food sensitivity testing for children with chronic medical problems such as:
- chronic constipation, diarrhea and other digestive issues
- failure to thrive
- childhood obesity
- recurrent ear or sinus infections
- depression and anxiety
- skin conditions such as eczema or acne
- AD(H)D or Autism Spectrum Disorder
Testing can also be helpful for children with behavioral issues or learning challenges. Many parents will complain their child is simply “not getting it” or having difficulty focusing at school. Parents may notice that their child is becoming less emotionally responsive or easily provoked to anger.
Food Allergies and Inflammation
When looking at the long list of conditions that may be related to delayed food sensitivities or allergies it may appear too good to be true. Why do food reactions affect so many body systems? Food reactions stimulate the immune system in varying ways. The immune system reacts in much the same way as it does to a cold or flu virus. However, instead of fighting a flu bug, the immune system is fighting a food it may be exposed to for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This excessive immune stimulation can lead to chronic inflammation and a variety of complaints. Inflammation in the intestines can lead to chronic stomach upset while inflammation in the lungs can lead to asthma. Recent research has identified that inflammation in the brain may lead to attention and mood disorders in children. Chronic inflammation has even been linked to the childhood obesity epidemic. NaturoMedica physicians can help guide parents/caregivers in appropriate testing and dietary guidance to decrease these inflammatory reactions and improve the health of their child.