Hidden meals allergy symptoms vs. hidden meals allergens: What’s the distinction?


September 21, 2022

4 min learn

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Editor’s Be aware: In Healio Allergy/Bronchial asthma’s new column, “Meals Allergy: Truth vs. Fiction,” Douglas H. Jones, MD, breaks down what’s true and what’s delusion for a wide range of subjects associated to meals allergy symptoms. In case you have a query you desire to answered on this column, e mail Jones at [email protected] or Sasha Todak at [email protected] .

Have you learnt the distinction between the 2 phrases “hidden meals allergy symptoms” and “hidden meals allergens?” They clearly sound related, however they’re fairly completely different. What does every imply?

Hidden allergy symptoms

“Hidden allergy symptoms” is a time period I hear nearly each day from sufferers coming in for the primary time or in search of a second opinion. Let me describe the everyday state of affairs.

A affected person has inconsistent gastrointestinal signs similar to fuel, bloating, cramping, pains, diarrhea or constipation. They could additionally expertise mind fog, fatigue and/or joint pains they attribute to unknown meals.

Normally, one among two conditions have led to them getting “meals sensitivity or intolerance” testing.

First, they’ve completed their very own analysis on-line and located a house meals sensitivity check that provides a broad panel of immunoglobulin G (IgG) checks to seek out their “hidden allergy symptoms” or “low-level meals allergy symptoms” they have no idea about.

Second, some docs, chiropractors or naturopaths suggest these kind of checks to sufferers. In my expertise, many sufferers have been instructed these are checks that typical docs both don’t do or don’t find out about they usually have a extra thorough method.

The affected person receives a listing of a number of constructive check outcomes and instructed their physique is making a delayed immune response which may be contributing to meals sensitivities/intolerances. The affected person eliminates these meals for a time frame, after which reintroduces them weeks later.

As a facet be aware, this line of considering begs a query — if these meals had been actually inflicting an issue within the first place, why wouldn’t it be really useful they reintroduce an issue shortly after it was apparently fastened by eliminating it?

A overwhelming majority of the time, dairy and gluten are among the many constructive check outcomes. The affected person eliminates the meals and should really feel higher, initially, as a result of many individuals will by avoiding dairy and gluten — particularly in the USA the place there may be such a low high quality of meals.

The affected person has now spent lots of, if not 1000’s, of {dollars} to keep away from meals that might be really useful they keep away from with no testing concerned as an preliminary step. Additional, it’s possible that they’re unnecessarily avoiding meals, which may trigger extra stress.

Moreover, as I’ve repeatedly seen on this state of affairs with sufferers, I then wait for his or her subsequent assertion in regards to the record of dietary supplements they had been inevitably offered — those with the “proprietary blends” and a “secret method.” (Fast tip: Search for the complement business anytime you might be trying to find a good podcast or e-book.)

The laboratory firm (and the docs which might be related to them) have inventive web sites. They’ll go into the essential science of allergy and immune responses. It seems credible as what they describe on the whole phrases in regards to the numerous allergic reactions is confirmed and well-known. They’ll then quote fashionable docs to try to improve their credibility additional.

What they don’t publish, although, are the multitude of research exhibiting that these checks don’t essentially present that the immune response (food-specific IgG manufacturing) doesn’t correlate clinically with a affected person’s signs. Additional, they don’t remark that the checks haven’t been proven to show it’s an allergic response that’s inflicting meals sensitivity. Actually, if something, it possible signifies tolerance or publicity. As an illustration, after we do oral immunotherapy to deal with official probably life-threatening allergy symptoms, we are able to show that meals IgG will increase because the response threshold will increase and tolerance is achieved.

Meals allergy symptoms aren’t hidden. They’re apparent. Finally, it’s between the physician and affected person to make the perfect choices attainable on the best way to method meals allergy symptoms, sensitivities and intolerances.

On this case, I counsel trying past the headlines and train warning with meals sensitivity or intolerance checks as I’ve but to see any of them to be a validated measure it doesn’t matter what the entrepreneurs say. I’m not saying that folks don’t have meals intolerances or sensitivities — many individuals do. What I’m saying is these checks don’t give the outcomes to which they allude.

Hidden allergens

The time period hidden allergens, then again, is essential. Which means a meals or product could comprise sure frequent allergens (milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nuts, sesame, and so forth) that you could be not concentrate on or usually are not on a label. This may be very harmful to an individual with a official probably life-threatening meals allergy in the event that they have no idea or aren’t conscious of the elements and that they might be in danger.

A number of examples:

  • Pet food could comprise peanut merchandise and in case your canine licks you after consuming, you might react if you’re unaware.
  • Some macadamia nut cookies really comprise different nuts similar to cashews.
  • Totally different manufacturers of play dough and modeling compounds could comprise wheat.
  • Tree nuts and coconut are in lots of skincare merchandise.

If somebody will not be conscious or made conscious that the meals to which they’re allergic is in a product, then that may have dire penalties for that affected person if they’re uncovered. This underscores the significance of acceptable product labeling, and in addition having an emergency plan in case an unintentional publicity occurs inflicting a critical response.

That is another excuse sufferers ought to at all times carry an epinephrine injector with them within the occasion they arrive throughout a hidden allergen. I at all times inform sufferers, “Act just like the army and put together for worst-case situations, not almost definitely situations.” Be ready, not scared.

The important thing takeaways:

  • “Hidden allergy symptoms” is a made-up time period and, should you hear this phrase from a care supplier, contemplate a second opinion as you might be possible being offered one thing. Look past the headlines.
  • Hidden allergens are a official threat to these with life-threatening meals allergy symptoms. A meals or product could comprise an allergen and the particular person is probably not conscious it’s there.


For extra data:

Douglas H. Jones, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, is cofounder of International Meals Remedy, Meals Allergy Assist Crew and OITConnect, the director at Rocky Mountain Allergy at Tanner Clinic, and a Healio Allergy/Bronchial asthma Peer Perspective Board Member. He could be reached at [email protected].

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