The Connection Between Food Allergies and Environmental Allergies (Hay Fever)

The Connection between Food Allergies & Environmental Allergies

Eating pizza today can cause consequences tomorrow!

In 2010, the Center for Disease Control reported 17.7 million adults and 7.2 million children were diagnosed with hay fever. Additionally, 8.2 million children were diagnosed with respiratory allergies, 8.9 million with skin allergies, and 8.2 million with food allergies. Clinically, food allergies have been linked to environmental allergies, such as hay fever. Food allergies can cause numerous respiratory symptoms including: asthma, cough, nasal congestion, excess mucus production, hoarseness, postnasal drip, tonsillitis, sore throat, sneezing and stuffy nose. Obviously, these symptoms are the same as, if not similar to, the kinds of symptoms one would have who is suffering from hay fever. This is why the origin of the problem can be so confusing!

There are 2 types of food allergies: immediate and delayed. The immediate allergy is the emergency room visit, which can cause anaphylactic shock, extreme hives, and/or an extreme swelling of the tissues. This kind of reaction is usually from some type of nut or shellfish. However, a delayed response can take up to 72 hours, which is way past the time the allergenic food has been consumed. This can make it difficult to identify which food(s) you are sensitive to. Eating foods that you are sensitive to will weaken the immune system and cause chronic inflammation in the body. Due to the body’s weakened immune state, it becomes hard for it to fight additional invaders, like pollen. By the time the pollen enters the body, it is already overworked and  overwhelmed, and can no longer keep up its defenses. You are left feeling miserable with watery eyes, runny nose, coughing and sneezing.

Patients who have “delayed” food sensitivities will experience a worsening of their environmental allergies due to the fact that their immune system has been compromised. Therefore, it is essential to find out exactly what foods you are sensitive to, so that you can avoid suffering during those high pollen months!

An easy way to find out if you have any food allergies is through a blood test. With my patients, I run an IgG blood panel that tests almost 100 different foods. However, if you want to do an experiment and you are very discipline, you can also do an elimination diet. This means that you pull out one potentially allergenic food at a time and chart your reactions in a daily food journal. This takes more effort on the part of the patient, as the results are ruined if even the smallest amount of the potentially offensive food is ingested. This means reading labels and knowing what each ingredient is, arduously documenting your symptoms after each meal, and doing this for no less than one month. Personally, I think the cost of the test is worth its weight in gold!

The top 5 food sensitivities are:
1. Gluten
2. Dairy
3. Eggs
4. Corn
5. Soy

Just because these are the top 5 does NOT mean that they are YOUR top 5. Some people are allergic to chocolate, mushrooms or walnuts. That is why I recommend the IgG blood panel, as that will give you the most comprehensive data, with the least amount of effort.

If you have been feeling sluggish, headachy, or having any one of the symptoms I’ve listed above and would like to find out what’s bugging you, then give me a call! Dr. Lisa Gold, DN
(773) 443-3132