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The AFR (Allergy Research Foundation) claims there is abundant evidence that conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and asthma are linked to food allergies. Although this connection is known for decades, even know this connection is not fully recognized by many GPs, with the result that patients suffer years of misery before they are properly diagnosed.

Joseph Egger, professor of neurology at the Children’s Hospital in Munich, show that changes by brain mapping take place in brain in children, suffering from ADD (attention deficit disorder) after they have eaten certain foods, such as milk, chocolate and cereals. KEAC has shown that one in four people suffers from some form of allergic disease, whether it be a food or environmental sensitivity.

Childhood disease

Food intolerance is believed to cause or exacerbate such conditions as asthma, migraine, nasal congestion, eczema, hyperactivity, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. One in 10 children has eczema and an estimated one in seven has asthma. In hour research 50% improved on an IgG4-test within 20 days. Between 6-10% of children under the age of three will have symptoms associated with food, especially of them milk. But most of those allergies will disappear as they become older. For the 22% of those with irritable bowel syndrome, the ARF believes a change in diet can help alleviate the problems in half of those cases. And evidence shows that 50% of those suffering from Crohn’s disease feel better when a particular food is eliminated from the diet.

Doctors are skeptical

However, many doctors are still resistant to the idea that medical conditions can be effectively managed by controlling diet, rather than by more traditional pharmaceutical methods.

Dr. Michael Tettenborn, a consultant pediatrician at the Frimley Children’s Centre in Surrey, has used diet management to tackle a range of problems in children, including attention deficit disorder, irritable bowel syndrome and migraine. Dr Tettenborn says: “We are trying to get the message over to the medical profession that diet management is a useful tool to explore. Dr Tettenborn says many doctors had been turned against dietary management because some people had made excessive claims about its potential impact. He says skepticism had been fueled further by non-medical practitioners inventing tests of “very dubious validity” to prove the worth of the technique. Another problem was that medical students were not taught about the subject during their training.

There is a strong evidence that in a number of diseases IgG allergy/intolerance is (co)responsible for it. These reactions are in Britain referred to as ‘ Food Intolerance ‘. For IBS (irritable bowel) and migraine there are studies that demonstrate this. In October 2004 the first publication showed the link between IBS and IgG food reactions. Prof. N. Read, President of IBS Network, explained:

‘ This is the first time that a change in diet based on a commercially available blood test, which tested on food intolerance, is subject to scientific research and turns out to be effective. It seems that the IgG blood tests is a meaningful advice, to make changes to the diet and make effect, in the context of self-help within IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). ‘

How big the problem is in conventional medicine, is well defined by allergist Prof. J. Brostoff in a broadcast by the BBC. On the question what a patient with food intolerance should do Brostoff replied:

Go to the family doctor would be the answer, but most doctors are not interested in food intolerance and certainly not trained in diagnosing it. As long as medical students are not taught about food intolerance, our doctors here are not familiar with it. That is the reason that patients themselves have to try, in one way or another, to seek help.’

‘Re-education needed’

Professor Jonathan Brostoff, professor of allergy and environmental health, University College, London, said re-education of doctors was vital.

“The education system does not even mention nutrition, let alone food intolerance. We do not have a body of doctors who have learned about the role of food and diet in health,” he says.

“The way we diagnose food intolerance is a bit ‘suck it and see’, and unfortunately the medical profession, which is very much clinical science-orientated, has made this sort of approach unacceptable.” Professor Brostoff says the development of blood tests for food intolerance should be a priority.

The articles in which a link was demonstrated between IgG-allergy and IBS/migraine, were cause for some practitioners and scientists to assume that it should prove IgG4-hypersensitivity does not exist.

That these statements rather emerge from a tough competition fight than science is clear. There is a big price difference between the various IgG or IgG4-allergy tests. Publications that came out of a collaboration of OGEM Department of the St. Georges Hospital Medical School in London, the Department of Gastroenterology at St. Helier Hospital in Carshalton and the Department of General Surgery of the St. George’s Hospital in London show that there was also a link between IgG4 antibodies against certain foods and IBS as well.

Literature

Zar, S. e.a. Food-Specific serum IgG4 and IgE titels to common food antigens in irritable bowel syndrome. Am. J. Gastroenterol. 100(2005), 1550-1557.

Isolauri, E., Rautava, S. en Kalliomäki, M. Food allergy in irritable bowel syndrome: new facts and old fallacies. Gut 53(2004):1391-1393

Atkinson, W. e.a. Food elimination based on IgG antibodies in irritable bowel syndrome: a randomised controlled trial. Gut 53(2004), 1459-1461.

About Dr . J. Kamsteeg

Dr. John Kamsteeg is directeur van KEAC Parkstad en tevens de auteur van vele boeken. Hij geeft bijscholingen en verricht wetenschappelijk onderzoek. Hij publiceert regelmatig nieuws.