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Unexplained Illness? Maybe It's Food Allergy

If you're feeling sick to your stomach yet doctors can't find anything wrong with you, it may be something you eat. Here's a story by Ed Rockey for the Los Angeles Times, where his food allergy was even misdiagnosed by a doctor as being depressed:

"We've done every test I can think of, and there's nothing organically wrong with you," said the internist. "I think you are clinically depressed. I'm putting you on an antidepressant." I had an intuitive sense I'd been misdiagnosed. Had I ever felt depressed? Sure. But the symptoms I had reported to him didn't feel like depression. I asked him about the side effects of the drug he prescribed. I refused to take it. As I left, he warned me, "You'll be sorry."

A couple of months later, I was in the office of a dermatologist for a routine checkup, and I had one of those attacks of nausea and weakness. It was the first time I'd had those dreaded symptoms while with a physician. He checked my vitals. Blood pressure was way down, for one thing. He got a hunch. "I once had a patient with symptoms just like yours," he said. "Turned out he had food allergies. Why not get checked out for food allergies?"

An endocrinologist ran tests, which indicated I was allergic to several foods. Results came in a flow-chart format, displaying levels of severity associated with my allergies. The most severe: cow's milk. The next most severe: wheat.

Link


I thought this was a great article because I've experienced somewhat similar circumstances. Food dyes are indigestible and despite that, they are added to all sorts of foods. I had developed a skin condition that my doctor and dermatologist wanted to treat with topical medicines....they had no effect, so I did a bit of research on my own.

Now, almost a year after cutting all food dyes out of my diet, I've ceased having problems.

Is our medical community overzealous in suggesting medications to treat symptoms rather than addressing the causes? Most certainly. Do they suggest surgeries that are little more than (unnecessary) shortcuts? Absolutely.
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I'm gluten intolerant. I also have issues digesting certain foods. The worst, though, was finding out that I don't enough of the right factor to digest Vitamin B12. That issue led to years of migraines, piles of medications, and lots of pain, until it was accidentally discovered when a doctor put me on sublingual B12 to help my energy levels. Two weeks later, my migraines were gone. That's when I did some research on my own to find out why.

Assuming that everyone can eat everything does not take into account the different diets eaten by their ancestors.
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Coming from a family that has both real and imagined food allergies, my suggestion is to try living without whatever you think might be causing a problem. Real or psychosomatic, the relief is well worth the effort.
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I actually had a similar experience. Severe nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite. Every GI doctor i saw couldn't explain it and most chalked it up to stress.

I never did follow up with a food allergy test, but reading this is making me think i should.
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When I was dealing with severe depression I knew that some foods took a toll on my body, and significantly effected my mood at the time. One of which was this multi-grain bread with 15 different grains. It could have been any one of those grains, but never did find out which one it was. I probably should take a test to see, considering that I'm older now and my body takes a lot more effort to digest certain things.
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vonskippy, you don't exactly need fancy science to treat food allergies, or even detect them a lot of the time. If they're a more common allergy (nuts, milk, gluten) you don't even need science to "detect" them. If you cut one of those things out of your diet and feel better, it's pretty certain that that food is causing your issues...

That said, a lot of people with regular lactose intolerance (about half of all Caucasians [factoring in backgrounds that have a higher percentage like Italy and Greece] and over 75% of the other adults in the world) confuse it with a lactose allergy and shouldn't get all freaked out like they do. I have severe intolerance, and all I have to do is avoid unprocessed and lightly processed milk, and I can get along fine.
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I've been thinking i might be allergic to milk products after eating yoghurt with the "new" pro-biotics in it and getting whicked gas (normally I dont eat much dairy, so I never really thought about it.)
Either its the milk or ...hmm..could I be allergic to the "Bifidus Regularis" cultures in Activia?
Damn... nothing is safe anymore.
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Interesting. Another thing to be aware of is the fact that food allergies/intolerance can develop and worsen as you get older.

And parents! Remember this when your child has trouble drinking their milk at dinner time! As a child I was forced to finish my milk every night despite my complaints. It turns out I suffered from mild lactose intolerance. When I hit my 20s, though the severity increased exponentially though. Before I just had trouble drinking milk or eating too much ice cream. Now even eating milk chocolate or makes me ill. :( Thank god for Lactaid!
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On the flip side of that particular coin, it is possible to test positive to allergies of certain foods, but not feel any subjective differences whether you eat them or not.
I was tested for a whole plethora of allergies as I am very allergic to dust mites and animal fur, and I tested positive to being allergic to wheat, yeast, tomatoes, and a whole bunch of other foods. I trialed excluding them from my diet but there was no noticeable difference except that my diet became boring.
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Why would an endocrinologist run an allergy panel? Generally, Internal Medicine and Allergy/Immunologists run these tests. In addition there are false positives and the clinical picture should fit the test results. Also, there are several test panels including skin puncture, skin patch, RAST, food challenge, etc and they all have different sensitivities, specificities and clinical value. Some tests can also prove to be fatal if an anaphylactoid reaction is unmasked during skin prick testing or food challenge. No doctor in their right mind will test everybody who has some GI upset with certain foods for allergy testing, it's too expensive. Most MD's will suggest eliminating the most likely offending agent and if the symptoms improve then an intolerance will be noted to that agent.
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As a severe gluten intolerant, I can tell you that food allergies are no joke, and yeah, vonskippy, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if you have a food intolerance. Just because the man in the white coat doesn't test you doesn't mean it isn't so. I didn't get tested for gluten intolerance. I stopped eating gluten and got amazingly better. My symptoms ranged from digestion problems to heart palpitations and waking up with anxiety attacks in the middle of the night.

It seems that there has been a steady increase in food allergies and intolerance over the last few years, but it would make more sense to say that we have just gotten better at figuring them out, I guess.
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Moral of this story:
You are right to not trust doctors

Necessary conditions to develop food allergies:
- Overprotective parents
- Growing up in a society that over-relies on antibiotics and disinfectants
- Parents that mysteriously seem to be heavily opposed to the consumption of whatever food product their child is reportedly allergic to
- Parents who think they know better than doctors because they have an internet connection

I had none of the above. Amount of food allergies: Zero.
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believe it or not...this can actually be CAUSED by the genetically modified corn and soy we have floating around in the USA.

I try to stay away from everything genetically modified and in the process, found out I had a wheat allergy...when going off of wheat I dropped 16lbs and sleep better with less irritability. None of these were diagnosed by a doctor.

Best bet is to stick with 100% organic.
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@People-watching a kid go batshit crazy for 6 hours, and then spending the next 6 hours holding them while they scream in agony and have bloody diarrhea after being fed something with wheat or dairy in it would me be heavily opposed to whatever food product caused it, too.

Saying no one would have food allergies, like you, if they all followed the same upbringing as you is facetious and not the way to make your point.
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I am allergic to aloe (all forms of it), and for years I had stomach troubles.

Come to find out that aloe, is in the same plant family as onions and garlic, and it is the onions that have caused my stomach troubles primarily. Garlic doesn't affect me that much, but then again most people only consume it as an herb.

For the curious: if I consume aloe, or touch it I break ou in fever blisters. It's so bad that if I touch a door or shake hands with someone using aloe, my hands break out. Not fun, but it is better than wearing gloves everywhere.
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Food allergy can be mild and life threatening too. Most common symptoms (Within a few minutes of ingestion)include: skin irritations, swelling, and difficulty with breathing.

The Top Eight Allergies:
Dairy
Eggs
Fish
Shellfish
Wheat
Peanuts
Tree-nuts
Soy
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