What are Food Sensitivities?
Food sensitivities may start during infancy. They are most common among children whose parents have food allergies, allergic rhinitis, or allergic asthma. Infants and young children with food sensitivities tend to be allergic to the most common allergy triggers (allergens), such as those in eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. Food allergies are sometimes blamed for such disorders as hyperactivity in children, chronic fatigue, arthritis, and depression, as well as poor athletic performance. However, these associations have not been substantiated.
The majority of human allergies are caused by a limited number of inhaled small-protein allergens that reproducibly elicit immune response in susceptible individuals. We inhale many different proteins that do not induce immune response which raises the question of what is unusual about the proteins that are common allergens.
Although we do not yet have a complete answer, some general principles have emerged. Many allergens are relatively small, highly soluble proteins that are carried on desiccated particles such as pollen grains or mite feces. On contact with the mucosa of the airways, for example, the soluble allergen elutes from the particle and diffuses into the mucosa. Typically, when the immune system is first exposed to an allergen, a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) is produced in response.
Besides IgE there are three other antibodies that are capable of tagging allergens that are absorbed into you bloodstream; they are immunoglobulin M (IgM), immunoglobulin G (IgG), and immunoglobulin A (IgA). There are certain antigens and routes of antigen presentation to the immune system that favor the production of IgE. CD4 TH2 cells can switch the antibody isotype from IgM to IgE, or they can cause switching to IgG2 and IgG4 (human) or IgG1 and IgG3 (mouse) (see Section 9-4). Antigens that selectively evoke TH2 cells that drive an IgE response are known as allergens.
Why Should I Test for Food Sensitivities?
Researchers estimate that at least 60% of the U.S. population suffers from unsuspected food reactions that can cause or complicate health problems. Symptoms can be extraordinarily diverse, ranging from arthritis to eczema to migraines. In extreme cases, food allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock and death if untreated. Fortunately, most people do not have severe reactions.
Clinical Signs and Symptoms:
|Fatigue||Congestion||Rheumatoid Arthritis||Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis|
What you eat every day sends a very important message to your body and even to your DNA. On average in the U.S., we spend approximately 2.5 hours eating or drinking1 each day, and we consume 1,966.3 pounds of food (nearly one ton) each year!2 When evaluating your health, it is important to analyze the foods you eat often to see how your immune system responds to them. In a study of 30 people who took the Food Sensitivity Profile, headaches and chronic GI symptoms involving pain, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating decreased when the allergenic foods were identified and removed.3
Because of the high frequency of food sensitivities and the tremendous quantity of food that we eat on a regular basis, many doctors use food sensitivity testing to help get to the root cause of chronic, unexplained illnesses.
What is Unique about the Dunwoody Labs Food Sensitivity Profile?
Technology and Methodology
The Dunwoody Labs AIMS profiles is the only test on the market that measures both IgG and immune complexes containing the complement fragment complement (C3d), for multiple food antigens and actually reports it. Random serum samples were measured for dietary allergen specific immunoglobulin using the Amplified Immunological Monitoring System (AIMS). AIMS are optimized for the for the semi-quantitative measurement of human immunoglobulins IgA, IgE, IgG, IgG4 and IgM in serum samples using an indirect ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay). The system also is capable of detecting immune complexes that contain the complement markers C3D or C1q. Removing allergenic foods based on these results dramatically decreased those food reactions in 30 subjects and was confirmed in follow-up tests.3
The AIMS Profile measures complement activation for multiple foods. Complement activation is well-defined in the research as not only a cause of inflammation, but one of the strongest causes. The complement pathway acts as the body’s SWAT team to aggressively attack and clear threats, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and allergens. It is part of our innate system, meaning that we are born with this immune defense mechanism.
Complement components patrol the blood harmlessly, but in an instant can go on the attack to kill and remove dangerous molecules from the body. When activated, the complement pathway sets off a domino effect of inflammatory cytokines, mast cell degranulation, and cell membrane destruction. It is a powerful protective force but can damage tissues if not kept under control. Complement is a quantifiable, reliable biomarker of tissue inflammation.
Complement serves as a link between the innate and adaptive immune response.4-6 This is because complement uses immunoglobulins to help identify dangerous molecules that should be destroyed. IgG1, IgG3, and IgM can activate complement.
IgG Subclasses 1–4
Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is the main immunoglobulin circulating in human blood and helps protect us from infection and outside antigens. There are four subclasses: IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4. IgG1 responds to new food antigens. IgG2 and IgG3 react to cell surface oligosaccharides of viruses, protozoa, and foods, which can be allergenic. IgG4 is commonly related to delayed food sensitivity symptoms. IgG can also activate the complement system to recruit an inflammatory response. The AIMS Food Sensitivity Profile measures total IgG (subclasses 1-4) antibodies for 88 foods.
Other Food Sensitivity Methods may use a technology known as live cell analysis. In this technique, patients’ white cells are put on a plate, exposed to a food, and any reaction is measured and recorded. However, white cell growth is not an accepted sign of true food sensitivity or allergic reaction. Growth can be caused by many things.
Other antibody assays may only measure IgG antibodies, which can miss food reactions that activate the inflammatory complement cascade. Finally, other food sensitivity tests may measure only certain subclasses of IgG antibodies, rather than measuring all four, as on Dunwoody Labs AIMS Food Sensitivity Profile.
What Foods Does the Test Measure?
List of 88 Foods and Additives Measured by the AIMS Food Allergy Profile:
Dunwoody Labs AIMS 588G detects adverse reactions to 88 foods. In addition to common allergens, our other profiles will also measure molds and other environmental allergens.
Does this Test Measure Immediate Food Sensitivity Reactions like Hives or Anaphylaxis?
No, the Dunwoody Labs AIMS Profiles does not measure classic sensitivity reactions that produce immediate symptoms, such as hives, eczema, and swelling of the throat and airways. An IgE test (AIMS 588E) is necessary to determine these allergies.
What Should I Do Before I Take This Test?
• Make sure your doctor knows about all medications and supplements you are currently taking.
• Tell your doctor at the time of the test if there are any foods that you DO NOT eat. This is important when interpreting the results.
• Immunosuppressive medications, such as prednisone, can reduce your immune reactions to foods. If you are on these medications, discuss this with your doctor before taking the test.
• Arrange blood collection for Monday–Thursday.
• See blood draw collection instructions inside test kit.
How Are Food Sensitivities Treated?
If your test results show you have food sensitivities, it means your immune system is attacking certain foods. Doctors generally remove severe, high, and moderately reactive foods and rotate healthy foods in an effort to heal the gastrointestinal lining. Later, foods may be reintroduced one at a time to see if they cause problems. Each report includes a rotation diet template, shopping list so that dietary changes are easy to make. Depending on your clinical history and symptoms, your doctor may use treatments such as enzymes, probiotics, and antimicrobial herbal formulas.
If you have signs of intestinal permeability, your doctor may use supplements designed to strengthen your gastrointestinal lining. Sometimes further testing is needed to find out why a person has so many food reactions, such as a Comprehensive Stool Analysis or Intestinal Barrier Assessment.
Further Resources and References