Food Allergies: All Too Common, All Too Under-Diagnosed

An article in Family Practice News was titled, “Food, Milk Allergies May Increase Growth-Impairment Risk.” (2.27.13) This article reported that after age two years, food-allergic children had lower mean percentiles for weight, height, and body mass index as compared to age-matched controls. Researchers reviewed medical records from 245 food-allergic patients to obtain the results.

The risk of growth impairment was greatest for children whose dietary restrictions required elimination of more than two foods and/or elimination of cow’s milk. Milk-allergic children younger than two years of age were at greatest risk for growth retardation. Over the years, I have found many children improve growth issues by eliminating food allergies.

I (along with my partners Drs. Nusbaum and Ng) have been testing every new patient for food allergies to dairy and gluten. We have observed that over 80% of patients have high antibody levels to the milk protein casein. Approximately 20% have high levels to the gluten antibody gliadin.

These numbers are astounding. Keep in mind, we see mostly adult patients, but I have no reason to believe the numbers would be any different in a pediatric population. Most doctors do not know how to check patients for food allergies. Food allergies are woefully under-diagnosed by conventional doctors.

I have witnessed the most astounding positive health changes when a patient eliminates food allergies. As stated above, the most common food allergy is to dairy. Dairy allergies are particularly common in patients who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis – including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In fact, I feel that anyone suffering with IBS or colitis should try a two-month trial of eating dairy free regardless of whether they have been tested or not. My mother suffered for years from IBS symptoms. For many of those years I advised her to eliminate dairy from her diet. Being my mother, of course, she refused. “A glass of milk calms my stomach,” she used to say. About two years ago, I checked her for antibodies to casein (anti casein IgG level from Quest labs). Her IgG levels were extremely high. I advised her (AGAIN) to avoid all dairy. This time she followed my advice. Now, two years later, my mother’s IBS symptoms are much better and only flare when she cheats on her diet and ingests something made with cow’s milk.

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