Children and Food Allergies: What Every Parent Must Know

Children and Food Allergies: What Every Parent Must Know
 

In a world where chicken McNuggets and smart phones often trump leafy greens and hopscotch, it can difficult to raise a healthy child. Mom’s and Dad’s today face a complex set of challenges that parents of the past never experienced. Americans are barraged by a constant stream of contradictory health advice and information. Scientists warn of an ominous rise in environmental toxins that severely affect human health. Two trillion dollars a year are spent on health care, yet our health as a nation is deteriorating. Parenting has never been an easy task, but these factors can make it feel extremely overwhelming. Fortunately, if we fully educate ourselves about health issues, there is hope for our families and ourselves.
 
Difficult. Manipulative. Emotionally impaired. “It's amazing my husband and I are still together,” says Laura. Laura's son, Brian, had a long history of violence at school and at home and was labeled by teachers and social workers with the above adjectives. The class bully by day, he would sob in his room at night, pleading his mother to help him. Laura knew there must be something contributing to Brian's behavior because he would say to her “I don't want to be like this.” The enormous stress of Brian's behavior spread from the classroom to their family life. A particularly violent episode forced Brian's family to move to a new city. Brian even attempted suicide. 
 
After exhausting all other avenues, Laura called Dr. Rapp, Pediatric Allergist and Mother of Environmental Medicine, to undergo some simple food allergy testing. Brian was diagnosed with severe and violent reactions to peanuts, ethyl alcohol, phenol, wheat, soy and milk. When the offending substances were removed from his diet, Brian’s behavior changed. He is no longer violent and is well-liked at school. His behavior is that of a normal boy.
 
This month’s newsletter will focus on the work of Dr. Rapp, Pediatric Allergist and the Mother of Environmental Medicine. Dr. Rapp's interview on the Phil Donahue show in 1989 catapulted food allergies and environmental toxins to the forefront of health debates in the United States. So many children are branded as lost causes.  What can we do to ensure our children do not fall through the cracks?
 
Step#1: Awareness

To protect our families from food allergies we have to pay close attention to these warning signs.
Symptoms of Food Allergies in Infants
1. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or constipation, bloody stools
2. Hives, eczema, asthma
3. Prolonged colic, crying, inability to sleep at night
4. Poor growth, failure to thrive, inability to properly absorb nutrients
5. Acid reflux
6. Congestion of nose or chest, excessive spitting
7. Head banging, crib rocking
 
Symptoms of Food Allergies in Children

1. Red earlobes, cheeks
2. Dark eye circles
3. Bags or wrinkles under the eyes
4. “Spaced out” look
5. Wiggly, restless legs
6. Dislike of being touched or cuddled
7. Bedwetting after the age of five
8. Asthma, hay fever
9. Diagnosed with ADHD, inability to focus
10. Headaches
11. Depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings
12. Violent behavior, temper tantrums, aggression
13. “Allergic Salute”- particular way of wiping nose as shown at 17:15 in Phil Donahue interview from 1989: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRDpcWZUEiU.
 
Step#2: Understanding

Once we recognize the signs of food allergies, we must comprehend how they affect us physiologically.
 
What is a food allergy?

An allergy is the immune systems response to a protein usually found in a food, such as peanuts, eggs, wheat or milk that it perceives as a foreign body. Most food allergies are acquired, not inherited. Some people develop sensitivities due to repeated exposure especially in large quantities, and others react to pesticides and herbicides combining with the natural chemicals in food. Whatever the cause, the result is the same- a compromised immune system and discomfort.
 
IgE and Non-IgE Allergies
•Allergies are not just immediate reactions to things like peanuts and bee stings.
•There are two main food allergy distinctions- IgE, and non IgE (IgA and IgG).
•Food allergies are generally acquired due to exposure, not genetics.
 
The table below is extremely helpful in understanding food allergy basics: 
Allergies aren't just to peanuts and bee stings-there are many different kinds. The two main differentiations are between IgE, and non-IgE (IgA and IgG). Most people do not have IgE allergies, though the majority of doctors test only for IgE. This is why understanding symptoms and the implications of all food allergies is extremely important for your family's health.
 
 

IgE IgA and IgG (Non-IgE)
Fast response (few minutes) Slower response (2 hours-72 hours), can take years to manifest
Strong response Weaker response
Similar physiological response in most people Varied physiological response in most people
“Fixed”- do not change during our lifetime Can evolve at any age
Analogous to immune system “blow-torch”: instant, acute, powerful Analogous to immune system “sand paper”: delayed, slowly damaging
Immune system response to a protein found in digestive system that is perceived as foreign object Immune system response to a protein found in digestive system that is perceived as foreign object
Least Common Most Common
Most doctors test only for IgE allergies Most people's IgA/IgG allergies remain undiagnosed since common blood tests cannot detect them
 
 
Step #3: Take Action

Now we must take action and help our family members heal.
 
A Pathway to Healing

Though the detriments of undetected food allergies sound severe, there is hope.Removing trigger foods and healing with appropriate vitamins and supplements will lead to amazing results.
 
ELISA: 
The Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay panel (ELISA) is a blood test that examines 96 of the most common food allergies such as dairy, meat and fowl, grains, gluten, nuts, vegetables, seafood and fruits. The ELISA test measures both IgE, IgA and IgG immune responses. This food allergy test is available at Digestive Health Ann Arbor.
RAST: Most physicians utilize an IgE blood test called RAST (short for radioallergosorbent test). Though this method accurately determines IgE allergies, it cannot detect IgG or IgA allergies at all. At Ann Arbor Holistic Health, this exam is completed in conjunction with the ELISA.
Skin Prick Tests: are a common testing method for IgE immune responses, but the exam is painful, inaccurate, and does not detect non-IgE food allergies.


Conclusion
It can be complicated to raise healthy children. To help them achieve true wellness it is critical that we first understand the importance of nutrition. “We are putting toxic dumpsites in our bodies and this is leading to problems in children, adults and even infants,” says Dr. Rapp, Pediatric Allergist and Mother of Environmental Medicine. Let's change the conversation when it comes to your child's well-being and remove the issue at the source. Your child can live a healthy, normal life and you can help.
 
Please call 734-222-8210 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation.
At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life. Please visit our website at www.digestivehealth-annarbor.com.
 
How can I Find Out More?
For more information, come to a workshop! Upcoming workshop dates in September:
 
Health Your Digestive System – Health Your Life
 

A healthy digestive system is essential to a health life. The saying “you are what you eat” is not true. You are what you absorb. Sixty percent of our body’s immune system lives in our digestive tract.  It is estimated that as many as 1 in 4 people has a food allergy or sensitivity.  The number of children and infants with food allergies is increasing. Sixty percent of people with food allergies do not have digestive problems. Problems like Autism, ADD, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, allergies, Gluten intolerance, psoriasis and eczema, sinus conditions, acid reflux, allergies and asthma are directly influenced by a comprised digestive system.
 
This workshop will explore the basic strategies of healing our digestive and immune systems. Topics of discussion will include the use of food allergy testing, testing for Gluten sensitivities, elimination diets, repairing a leaky gut, the use of digestive enzymes, healthy eating life styles, probiotics, essential fatty acids and vitamin D. Come and learn how.
 
Dates, Times & Locations:
 
September 21st- 7 to 9 pm at Brighton Community Education (810) 299-3818

850 Spencer Road, Brighton, MI 48116
September 29th  - 7 to 9 pm at Chelsea Community Education (734) 633-2208, ext. 6001
500 Washington Street, Chelsea, MI 48118.
September 28th- 7 to 9 pm at Ann Arbor Rec & Ed Department (734) 994-2300, ext. 53203
1515 S. Seventh, Ann Arbor, MI  48103
October 5th  - 7 to 9pm at Dexter Community Services and Athletics (734) 426-9515
7714 Ann Arbor St., Dexter, MI 48130