Food Allergy

Click for Video DESCRIPTION

Hello this is Dr. Douglas Skarada, coming to you from the Modern Nose Clinic. I want to talk a little bit about food allergy. Somewhat mysterious, right? Everyone kind of wonders, do I have it? Maybe you do. Maybe you don't. Well we can find out here at the Modern Nose Clinic. And you may have undergone allergy testing already and you look at your results. You're trying to make sense of it all. What do you need to know about food allergy? Let's talk about that.

Food Allergy Testing

It maybe it's surprise to you that for years I try to talk people out of undergoing food allergy testing. Then I got really smart and I said, "You know what, I should do ... hmm ... I should give patients what they want." So, we started testing for food allergy. And you know what else, it's really popular and it has been informative. So I kind of feel bad that I was talking people out of it for year. But you might ask why. Why would you talk someone out of food allergy testing? And the answer is that when you get an allergy test back that says you're allergic to some food and it says yes you're allergic to the food, you may or may not be. You may just have a sensitivity. And if you asked me how often, when it says I'm allergic to say dairy or milk, am I really allergic to milk? And it is approximately 50 percent.

So what do you make of that and why is it that you're happy to test people now given what would be by many an unacceptable measurement?

I'll tell you.

You Might Not Have an Allergy

First of all there's more to that metric than simply it's negative and it's positive and only 50% right. If it says it's negative, you really don't have that allergy.

Do You Have a Gluten Allergy?

So there's a lot of people who think they've got a gluten allergy and they're avoiding lots of life. And turns out if we test you and says you're not allergic to gluten, you really probably are not allergic to gluten. It may be that avoiding gluten makes you feel better for other reasons but not because you have an allergy. So when it's negative it's very helpful. That's number one.

Number two, if it says you are allergic to something like soy, soy is in everything. So how would you figure that out on your own? Not easily. Most people we diagnose with a true soy allergy, weren't really aware of that before. So I feel good we test for food allergy now. It' something worth while, to catch that, whatever it is. One of four or five people who did not know and would not have know otherwise.

Keeping a Food Diary/Journal

Once you find out what your allergy profile is to foods. What I recommend is a food journal. Or as I'm told by my kids, it's a diary if you're a girl and a journal if you're a boy. So, that's what happens when you have young kids, right?

The Elimination Diet

How I recommend doing a food journal (cause I'm a boy) is that you take that food, and if you want to do multiple foods you can do them all at once, and we do something called an elimination diet. We call it that because you eliminate eating that food for a period of time. And, um, some people do it for two weeks. Some people do it for a month. And you want to keep different criteria on this journal so you make a list of things on the side. And it might say things like...

Well, like this.

At The Modern Nose Clinic we intend to make an allergy food symptom tracker available to you but until then, you can make your own. It's really easy. So here is a good starting point. I listed five different categories of symptoms that people can have from food allergies and I thought this is pretty good starting point. You could be really a detail oriented. That's how I am and write them all down and measure all of them. Or if there's only a few you're really worried about, you could focus on those and keep it simple. There's nothing wrong with that, so let me zoom in on each cluster and we'll go over that.

Five Different Categories of Symptoms That People Can Have from Food Allergies:

1. Gut Symptoms

  • Abdominal Discomfort
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Loose Stools/Diarrhea
  • Gas-Bloating

We'll call these the gut symptoms. So a lot of people get abdominal discomfort. They can have a little bit of nausea. Sometimes it's severe enough to have vomiting. That usually gets your attention. You might be concerned about the consistency of your stools and certainly that could be a GI problem and not an allergy problem. But if you have diarrhea or loose stools and that's something to consider.

And then finally a pretty common one is gas or bloating and so what I would do is each day as you go to sleep on a scale from one to ten, I'd indicate how severe these symptoms are.

2. Dizziness/Light Headedness/Fainting

The next category is sometimes not considered very often but you can get lightheadedness, a sense of fainting or dizziness because of a food allergy. That might be worthwhile keeping track of because this would be a mysterious problem that you normally would not associate with a food allergy.

3. Itching/Hives/Eczema

Itching, hives or eczema... there you go, probably why you came to see us.

4. Nasal Congestion/Wheezing/Trouble Breathing

Nasal congestion, that's a big one. We're the Modern Nose Clinic and 70 percent of allergies will impact your nose as the target organ. So we really focus on that and you could, I mean I'll go crazy on that, but you guys just might write down nasal congestion. And then also with breathing, if you're not breathing through your nose and the allergens are going straight into your throat, you're kind of wheezing from inhalants. But with food allergies, you can get wheezing too. Some people have trouble breathing.

5. Tingling/Itching in Mouth/Throat Clearing/PND

If you got symptoms right there in your mouth, we have tingling, itching in the mouth, throat clearing and post nasal drip, these are worth measuring too.

Strong work! You created your diary or your journal or whatever. Maybe you got our tracker once. I finally built it with all my spare time.

How Long Should I Eliminate a Food from My Diet?

Anyway, so for the next two weeks go off that food that you want to test, okay? Strictly. Just really like obsessively go off of it for two weeks. Or if you want, you go off for a month. Measure it each night. Then, at the end of that period of time, go back on that food big time.

So let's say it's milk and you really miss that Starbucks latte. Well make sure you have a latte on that day back. Have some ice cream. You go crazy, okay, and then see what your symptoms are. If they don't, you could do that for several days. If you like some people just go back to normal use of that product. It may not be as dramatic of a difference. You want to measure that for the next two weeks. Then you average the results and you see how much of an improvement there is. If you would like, bring your data in. I'd be happy to do that for you and we can show you what percentage improvement you get by avoiding that food.

So that my friend is how the Modern Nose Clinic suggests doing a food journal.

Signing off,

Dr. Douglas Skarada
We Know Your Nose

On our website, we have a video library section where you can explore and learn more. Feel free to share these videos with your friends and family. We want to have highly educated patients. Also feel free to check out the YouTube channel. Thanks again!

Doug Skarada