Shocking Symptoms: What Every Parent Should Know

This month’s blogs will center around an eye-opening and informative interview of pediatric allergist Dr. Doris Rapp on the Phil Donahue show. The 45-minute long show can be viewed at this link:

Dr. Doris Rapp is considered the Mother of Environmental Medicine. She has received numerous awards for her work on the affects of environmental toxins and food allergies on the human body. More about her work can be found at her website.

A Word from Dr. Doris Rapp, Pediatric Allergist:

“We have managed to pollute our air, our water, our foods, our clothing, our homes, our schools and our work areas and the youngsters you are seeing today. Many of them can't go to school anymore because of all the chemicals. They can't go shopping. They can't go to a movie. There are many things they can't do. Everyone knows about allergies affecting the nose, and the eyes, and the lungs, but allergies and environmental factors can affect the way we think.”


Dr. Rapp, Pediatric Allergist and the Mother of Environmental Medicine hasmany tips if you suspect your infant has food allergies. Here is a comprehensive list:
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:


Migraine Headaches: the Hammer in Your Head May Start in Your Digestive Tract

You could be anywhere when it starts: the supermarket, your desk at work, your daughter's school play. Sometimes it creeps slowly behind your eyes, other times it arrives with the fury of a hurricane. The symptoms of a migraine - jagged vision, blinding light, uncontrollable nausea, numbness or tingling, and the pulsing or pounding behind your eyes - make it impossible to continue with life's daily routine.

Abortive vs. Preventative Medications

Medical doctors generally offer two courses of action for chronic migraine sufferers: abortive and preventative medication.

1) Abortive medications are used to stop migraines once they start. Here are some examples of abortive medications:

• Almotriptan (Axert)

• Eletriptan (Relpax)

• Frovatriptan (Frova)

• Naratriptan (Amerge, Naramig)

• Rizatriptan (Maxalt)

• Sumatriptan (Imitrex, Treximet)

• Zolmitriptan (Zomig)

• Acetaminophen- isometheptene-dichloralphenazone (Midrin)

• Dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45 Injection, Migranal Nasal Spray)

• Ergotamine Tartrate (Cafergot)

• Metoclopramide (Reglan)

• Prochlorperazine (Compazine)

• Promethazine (Phenergan)

2) Preventative medications are used when migraines occur more than once a week, or when migraines are extremely severe. Such medications include:

• Medications used to treat high blood pressure: beta-blockers (propranolol [Inderal], timolol), calcium channel blockers (verapamil [Covera])

• Antidepressants: amitriptyline (Elavil), nortriptyline (Pamelor)

• Antiseizure medications: gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), valproic acid (Depakote)

Pharmaceuticals: Miracle Pill or Dangerous Drug?

While these medications may be effective in the short term, the long term effect of pharmaceuticals is often destructive. Some potential side effects include fainting, seizures, difficulty breathing, and blue toes. It seems all pharmaceuticals have potential side effects. Is there any way we can simply remove the cause of our migraines from the start?

Food Allergies Cause Migraines

Many medical doctors and health practitioners are uncovering food allergies in chronic migraine sufferers. An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system isolates and attacks an offending substance, called an allergen. This immune response may lead to seemingly unrelated symptoms throughout the body. Since over 70% of our bodies’ immune defense mechanism is located in the digestive tract, it is unsurprising that the food we eat has such a powerful effect on our overall health.

How to Resolve Migraines

With so many foods out there, how do we know what foods trigger immune system reactions? The best course of action is a comprehensive ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay) panel, which examines 96 of the most common foods. The food categories tested include: animal products, dairy, meat and fowl, grains, nuts, vegetable, seafood and fruits. Once we remove the offending substance from our diets, improvement is swift and drastic – for the better.

Asthma and Allergies: Not Just Peanuts and Bee Stings

To kick off June's blog entries, let's start with some food allergy basics:

• Allergies aren't just immediate reactions to things like peanuts and bee stings.

• There are two main food allergy distinctions- IgE, and non IgE (IgA and IgG).

• The most common food allergies are IgA and IgG.

• Food allergies are generally acquired due to exposure, not genetics.

The table below is extremely helpful in understanding food allergy basics: 


Non-IgE (IgA and IgG)

Fast response (few minutes)

Slower response (2 hours-72 hours), sometimes take years for symptoms 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

Asthma attacks can be terrifying: hives, rash, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea followed by coughing and wheezing. If not caught quickly, the throat may swell and cut off the airway (anaphylaxis). We often associate these acute reactions with instant triggers such as peanuts or bee stings. However, there are two different kinds of asthma: 1) immediate asthma and 2) delayed, or chronic, asthma. Immediate asthma is often associated with IgE allergic reactions, and chronic asthma is associated with non-IgE allergies. It can be relatively simple to deduce a trigger for an immediate and acute asthmatic reaction. But what should we do about chronic asthma?

3 Ways to Deal with Chronic Asthma:

  1. Remove the cause: The best choice for eradicating chronic asthma completely. The comprehensive ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay) panel is a blood test which examines our bodies’ reaction to 96 of the most common food allergens. Once we remove the offending substance from our diets, improvement is swift and drastic.
  2. Treat the symptoms: Anti-inflammatory medications, bronchodilators, inhalers and nebulizers are all helpful in combating asthma symptoms. While these pharmaceuticals ameliorate discomfort, they do not treat the cause. They can also cause many detrimental side effects such as facial swelling, blistered or peeling skin, severe headaches, insomnia, and vomiting.
  3. Alter the host: Many medical doctors recommend allergy shots (immunotherapy). Repeated exposure of small doses of the allergen trains the immune system to not react. Many people report success with this method. However, there are potential side effects when we drastically alter our own immune system.

Dialing a New Number: Changing the Dialogue about Health

This blog is about challenging conventional medical wisdom. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor, our goal is to transform the conversation when it comes to your health. We would like to change the way people speak about their symptoms, conditions and diagnosis while exploring where these issues truly originate. There are over 1400 peer reviewed articles in PubMed implicating food allergies and digestive disorders in many illnesses, including Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Asthma and Psoriasis just to name a few. Despite this astounding number of articles, the medical community has remained surprisingly silent. These conditions are all about inflammation, yet no one asks about the origin of the inflammation itself. Medications reduce the level of inflammation and help manage pain, but they will not resolve the underlying cause.

In future blog entries, we will explore the effect of gluten intolerances, food allergies, inflammation, and other digestive issues on our general health and wellness, and provide resources for healing. Welcome to our first blog entry.