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Monday, September 17, 2012

Most food allergies are fake

Science says either the parents are lying or the little brats are faking it:
Researchers from the University of Portsmouth (U.K.) have discovered the reason why food allergies have increased in recent years: hypochondria. It turns out that four out of five kids who believes he or she is allergic to a food, isn’t. The researchers surveyed over 1,500 children, along with their parents, about food allergies and intolerances. Then they tested those who reported problems, both with skin fold tests and by feeding them the offending food. The results were completely unexpected....

About 12% of children claimed to have adverse reactions to a food, with peanuts, dairy products, wheat, and fish the most common. Only 2.3% actually had a problem, some with merely an “intolerance,” and some with an actual allergy.
This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. I've noticed that most children whose parents say they have food allergies are obnoxious, spoiled little brats who whine about everything and are allergic to the notion that they are not the center of the universe

Labels:

91 Comments:

Anonymous Alan M September 17, 2012 4:39 PM  

Unfortunately, those types of parents make life more challenging for those who have real, allergist-verified, life-threatening food allergies. Crying wolf makes many insensitive to real issues. One test to determine the reality of the allergies is if they have a prescribed Epipen and they actually carry it with them. It's a lot of money and effort for the added attention :-)

Blogger Unknown September 17, 2012 4:44 PM  

The issue with wheat and dairy products is not an allergy in the strict medical sense, but the fact both contain proteins (gluten and casein respectively) that are decomposed into opioid peptides similar to morphine. These drugs have variable effects depending upon the person. For some people, there is little effect. For others, the effects are more pronounced with typical opioid side effects being the most common, fatigue, lethargy, constipation, etc. Addiction is the other obvious result. There is a reason no one overeats on strawberries, but does so with pizza, cookies, ice cream, etc. This is also the reason pizza parlors and the like vent their bakery ovens onto the street - the smell alone awakens your addiction.

A more complex problem is how these proteins are chemically modified as flavor enhancers, making the addiction more pronounced. This is a major cause of much of the obesity of modern times. In these dark days, the narcotic effects of junk food are powerfully desirable.

Anonymous Noah B. September 17, 2012 4:59 PM  

Most of the blame should go to hyper-protective, overly indulging parents. And I think this is also a big reason why autism rates have gone up so much.

Anonymous red-headed step-child September 17, 2012 5:02 PM  

I strongly dislike the crazed parents who will make an entire school avoid something that ONE child is allergic to. It's become almost a matter of protecting the world from the child, rather than protecting the child from the world. I think for some parents it's a badge of honor to have an allergy kid, or a kid with some sort of invisible illness (different from the obvious ones like down syndrome or other physically noticeable abnormalities).

Anonymous mjb September 17, 2012 5:02 PM  

Who the heck can't eat peanut butter? Along with bacon, I think that is manna from heaven.

Vox, your observation is correct. The parents feed this into their little monsters.

Anonymous No_Limit_Bubba™ September 17, 2012 5:06 PM  

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Anonymous vikingkirken September 17, 2012 5:06 PM  

@Unknown, great comments--I discovered a horrible dairy allergy while going through cluster headaches last fall. HOWEVER... in the case of dairy, the only time casein gives me a problem is in pasteurized/homogenized milk from cows carrying an A1 gene (which is most cows in factory dairies). If I buy raw milk from Jersey cows (which generally don't carry that gene), I have no reaction. The difference in my response is rather stunning. Thanks to our wonderful lawmakers in NJ, I have to drive an hour away to stock up on raw milk, but it's worth it for a clear head and no headaches.

Anonymous Josh September 17, 2012 5:08 PM  

"allergic" must be code for "it tastes icky"

Although I have to say, large amounts of gluten makes me feel terrible if I consume it after being relatively gluten free for several days.

I'm more and more convinced that grains are pure evil except in their distilled forms.

Anonymous No_Limit_Bubba™ September 17, 2012 5:09 PM  

Fixed.
Fixed, dammit!
Fixed everything except Autocorrect ( which let "presscribed" slide right by..)

Anonymous mjb September 17, 2012 5:10 PM  

Josh,

Primal way is the best way.

I love carb loaded foods, but they just leave me feeling weak and tired. There's a noticeable difference in my strength and energy levels when I'm off of them for a while.

OpenID thewomanandthedragon September 17, 2012 5:11 PM  

And not only that, but these children with fake allergies have mothers who are completely obsessed with rearranging everyone else's lives to accommodate their children's non-medical condition. My eldest child is in Middle School, and this year they actually said that kids (and these are teenagers, for Pete's sake!) can't bring peanut butter sandwiches to school because someone might have allergies. This absurd! What teenager doesn't know better than to eat someone else's lunch?

-sunshinemary

Anonymous WinstonWebb September 17, 2012 5:13 PM  

One test to determine the reality of the allergies is if they have a prescribed Epipen and they actually carry it with them.

That's a perfect metric, thank you.
Henceforth, anything short of that and I'll throw the brown flag on all the hysterics.

Anonymous mjb September 17, 2012 5:13 PM  

thewomanandthedragon,

Time to homeschool. My kids eat peanut butter like no tomorrow.

Anonymous Josh September 17, 2012 5:22 PM  

Primal way is the best way.I love carb loaded foods, but they just leave me feeling weak and tired. There's a noticeable difference in my strength and energy levels when I'm off of them for a while.

I'm right there with ya, buddy.

Although I think we should rebrand primal/paleo as "team bacon"

Anonymous mjb September 17, 2012 5:25 PM  

Although I think we should rebrand primal/paleo as "team bacon"

I eat bacon every day. I feel...lost when I miss my bacon intake.

Anonymous George September 17, 2012 5:32 PM  

" I've noticed that most children whose parents say they have food allergies are obnoxious, spoiled little brats who whine about everything and are allergic to the notion that they are not the center of the universe"

This of course is a comment of little value. However, one wonders what the term "intolerance" refers to. Are we talking gas here?

Blogger The Bechtloff September 17, 2012 5:34 PM  

I'm willing to bet that among the ones that have real allergies most are greatly exaggerated. Like if a kid as a mild penut allergy and if he eats one might feel a little sick, the Mom acts like if anyone brings a penut anywhere near him he'll die.

Anonymous debbs September 17, 2012 5:44 PM  

When my daughter was little, she broke out in hives from one brand of peanut butter, but not another brand. Given that I bought the two jars that we experimented with at the same time and she didn't have a reaction to that brand several years later, I'm guessing that it was either a preservative or something else that the peanuts were treated with in the fields.

Anonymous Stickwick September 17, 2012 5:48 PM  

Back when I was a kid, I don't remember any kids having food allergies. If they did, then they just quietly dealt with it. This seems to be the era of virtue in weakness.

George, bestower of comments of immeasurable value, asks: ... one wonders what the term "intolerance" refers to. Are we talking gas here?

I have a few food intolerances. Bonafide intolerances lead to: stomach upset, headaches, lethargy, congestion, and skin rashes.

Anonymous Jack Amok September 17, 2012 5:49 PM  

I think for some parents it's a badge of honor to have an allergy kid, or a kid with some sort of invisible illness...

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! Do a tour of duty as a Scoutmaster, you'll learn all about parental hypochondria. Here's the way you can tell a real problem from a fake one:

If the mother or father politely catches your attention and quietly says (while the son goes about interacting with the other kids) "My son has a peanut allergy. He knows what he should and shouldn't eat, but he's ten years old and sometimes he forgets. He carries an EpiPen and you have my permission to help him use it if he needs it" then says thank you, gives their kid a hug, and leaves, that kid has a peanut allergy.

If on the other hand, the mother barges up to you with her son in tow, interrupting whatever you were doing to loudly and somewhat beligerantly announce the laundry list of food allergies her son has and reiterates how important it is that everyone else make allowances for him, that kid doesn't have a food allergy, he has a mother who's knitted titanium apron strings and obtains whatever social status she has from being the indespensible mother of a special needs nancyboy.

I feel sorry for the kids, and do my damndest to get them some space to grow up. The odds are against me, most of the time it's hopeless and the kid ends up semi-ruined. Once in a while it works, but it's a double whammy because not only does the kid have an overbearning mother, he has a spineless father who provides no good role model. I feel massive contempt for the fathers of these kids. They won't do anything to save their own children from a life of misery. I get the feeling these mothers are actually following some sort of instint to get their sons exposure to better male role models by bringing them to us, but they undercut the whole effort with their battleaxe personality.

Anonymous Rantor September 17, 2012 6:10 PM  

I have a coworker who is allergic to peanuts, but only in large pure quantities, I guess, as a Snickers bar doesn't phase him. Whatever.

Strangely my first step dad (SD#1, yes they are numbered) would go into an asthmatic fit if he ingested anything remotely peanut. I was usually to blame for when making a PBNJ, I always smeared the PB on first and then used the same knife to retrieve and smear the Jelly. No visible PB was in the Jelly Jar, but it would make SD#1 grossly ill. Of course he had an asthma inhaler and always got better. Peanuts are not why there would be an SD#2 later.

Anonymous Jack Amok September 17, 2012 6:10 PM  

I'm willing to bet that among the ones that have real allergies most are greatly exaggerated. Like if a kid as a mild penut allergy and if he eats one might feel a little sick, the Mom acts like if anyone brings a penut anywhere near him he'll die.

One thing to keep in mind is that real anaphylaxis is caused by a histamine reaction triggered by the immune system responding to the antigen (whatever it is the person is allergic to). Frequently the immune system develops faster, more intense, responses with repeated exposure to the antigen, so anahylactic reactions to allergies often become more intense with each exposure. I developed an allergy to shellfish in my twenties that has gone this way - the first time I noticed anything, it was a slight rash and a scratchy throat - i.e. I felt a little sick. Ten years later I nearly died from anaphylactic shock and now carry an EpiPen. I have a college friend who's gone through the same progression with bee stings.

On the other hand, children's food allergies often go away as they grow up. I don't think anyone understands the exact mechanism that causes their bodies to treat, say, peanut compounds as antigens, but about 80% of children with dairy allergies and 20% with peanut allergies grow out of them by the time they are 16.

Anonymous Angel September 17, 2012 6:13 PM  

As with most types of allergies, there are thresholds for someone having a response and there are different levels of response. For instance, I have a dairy allergy. If I have pancakes or a cake with some dairy in it I can have nothing happen to the onset of some slight congestion. The last time I tried regular ice cream I landed in the hospital unable to breathe and it took six weeks to recover from it.

So their testing is ludicrous and they most likely know it.

There is a significant reason that many children are experiencing a rise in food allergies, but no one wants to discuss nursing your babies and feeding children non-processed food when they can simply sell you hypo-allergenic formula and allergy pills.

Blogger mmaier2112 September 17, 2012 6:20 PM  

Allergies are weird anyway. I used to be very allergic to dust, sneezing fits that would hurt.

I also used to be allergic to dog and cat dander and saliva. If a dog licked my hand, it would have hives or something on the skin in minutes.

Now I roll around with my brother's dogs with no problems other than the smell.

My older brother almost dropped dead last year from a wasp sting. He'd never had a reaction like that before and the ER docs swore he was having a freaking heart attack. Took hours before a cardiologist showed up and set them straight. (Which makes me OH SO confident in modern medicine...)

Anonymous Rufus September 17, 2012 6:23 PM  

Growing up on a dairy farm, consuming large amounts of dairy, I always dismissed those who claimed they were "allergic" or "intolerant" to dairy as crazy kooks. Until I had a son. He pukes whenever takes dairy. And not just a little bit, or once. Crazy, but it's true. So she's been mostly dairy free for the first year of his life, and now is slowly reintroducing it back into her diet. I'm feeding him teaspoonfuls of homemade yoghurt and put the odd bit of butter in his food from time to time and observing the results. He's getting better. Slowly does it. I believe raw milk helps.

Anonymous Redlegben September 17, 2012 6:24 PM  

Our daughter has Celiac Disease and was diagnosed at 18 months. She failed to gain weight once she started eating wheat. She looked like one of those Ethiopian kids starving for actresses. There is such a thing as food intolerances or allergies. We have the pictures of atrophied villi from her intestines to prove it. As to the case of this study, I can believe the numbers based on my anecdotal accounting. However, one molecule can make someone like my daughter ill. It's not an over reaction.

Anonymous Rufus September 17, 2012 6:25 PM  

sorry - should read "He puked whenever HIS MUM took dairy (while breastfed)."

Anonymous Roundtine September 17, 2012 6:27 PM  

You can don a Bane mask and walk around tossing peanuts at small children.

"I wondered what would break first! Your mind, or your body."

Blogger Baloo September 17, 2012 6:30 PM  

Well said. Linked here:
Not all gesundheits are deserved.

Anonymous Holla September 17, 2012 6:34 PM  

Perhaps consumption of more exotic bush meats would build up healthier immune systems.

Blogger Unknown September 17, 2012 6:49 PM  

Back when I was a kid, I don't remember any kids having food allergies. If they did, then they just quietly dealt with it. This seems to be the era of virtue in weakness.

National Geographic, a long time ago, printed a story on how children who grow up in farm homes have MUCH FEWER illnesses and allergies than those growing up in cities and the suburbs. They blamed the hyper-vigilant parental attitude of helicopter parents, but not for faking it.

They blamed them for overly-excess sanitizing, hiding their child from every sick individual while young, and treating every minor illness with anti-biotics instead of letting it run its course.

My son had a reaction to peanut butter - a mild case of hives. He'd break out behind his ears and down his neck. He was also milk-intolerant, having excessive diahrea and yeast-infections. But you know, I'd let the symptoms subside and try again. He's a healthy, robust, 3 year old who plays outside with no shoes on, eats cheerios his sister dropped off the floor, and has a baby potty in his bedroom for night-time business.

Any "normal" mother these days would be appalled by these admissions - and yet, my kid has only had fevers associated with teething and a little bout of bronchiolitis. His sister has had nothing wrong with her yet. Their kids suffer from repeat ear-infections, colds, flus, and allergies. As my son would say, "I WIN!"

Blogger jammer4876 September 17, 2012 6:56 PM  

Who the heck can't eat peanut butter? Along with bacon, I think that is manna from heaven.

OT: A recipe I'll wager you haven't tried:

Put peanut butter on bread, as if making a sandwich.

Cut each slice of bread in half (I've made as many as 12 slices--24 half slices--at a time).

Roll bread (peanut butter inside) with slice of bacon around it.

Fasten with toothpick and put on aluminum foil covered baking pan.

Place in oven at 350 for about 35-45 minutes, or until done to preference (I like crisp bacon). You may have to turn once during cooking.

CAUTION: Although you might have an orgasm, it WILL make you obese. And probably need some cardiac bypass work.

Anonymous Scintan September 17, 2012 6:56 PM  

The important thing is that at least 1 of these people is telling the truth about having allergies. As long as they've got the one in a billion, they can still comfortably go about banning foods and further infringing upon the rights of the individuals.

After all, it's for the children.

Anonymous Anonymous September 17, 2012 7:05 PM  

A lot of them actually just outgrow their allergies. They're formerly allergic, but they just don't know it yet.

Anonymous rycamor September 17, 2012 7:14 PM  

I love those adults who wait for you to bring up some food they are allergic to and then ambush you with their offendedness. "What?? You're growing peanuts? Well, I could *never* visit your place, sorry. Do you know how many people have peanut allergies? You should think about that."

Anonymous Redlegben September 17, 2012 7:21 PM  

Celiac Disease affects an estimated 1 in 150 Americans (hardly 1 in a billion). It is often undiagnosed and misdiagnosed (IBS, dairy allergy, etc.). An EpiPen doesn't help if they ingest gluten. Truth in labeling of ingredients has greatly helped people with these issues. Being aware of food allergens and intolerances could greatly decrease the amount of money we spend on drugs for misdiagnoses. All you have to do if you are gluten intolerant is not eat it. If you are misdiagnosed with IBS, you will spend lots of taxpayer money for drugs to make you regular but not fix the base problem.

Anonymous rycamor September 17, 2012 7:25 PM  

vikingkirken September 17, 2012 5:06 PM

@Unknown, great comments--I discovered a horrible dairy allergy while going through cluster headaches last fall. HOWEVER... in the case of dairy, the only time casein gives me a problem is in pasteurized/homogenized milk from cows carrying an A1 gene (which is most cows in factory dairies). If I buy raw milk from Jersey cows (which generally don't carry that gene), I have no reaction. The difference in my response is rather stunning. Thanks to our wonderful lawmakers in NJ, I have to drive an hour away to stock up on raw milk, but it's worth it for a clear head and no headaches.


Yes, I think there are general intolerances from modern industrial food that don't go as far as allergies, but build up over time. I was getting increasingly bad headaches and phlegm buildup, and kept thinking it was due to milk, but found that these headaches stopped almost completely when I gave up store-bought bread and most grains. And my throat is clear as a bell ever since. I don't get sick even 1/5th as often as I used to.

Now, I can have a bit of bread or other grains now and then, but that's on the order of a slice of bread or two a week, where I used to have several a day.

The paleo/primal diet definitely filled in some gaps for me. I'm not pure primal, but I just generally gave up most industrial food, especially the ones that come from processed grains and sugars.

In general, I think people fall into a rut in their eating patterns and never think about why they are feeling lousy, gaining weight, getting sick, etc... It can a very useful revelation to yourself when you start varying your diet, trying different foods (and eating schedules) to see what works best for you.

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins Immunology September 17, 2012 7:27 PM  

First off from reading the comments, let's get something important straight: the difference between a food intolerance, food allergy, food pseudoallergy, and an autoimmune disease.

Food Intolerance: A food cannot be digested properly without adverse effects. Examples: Lactose Intolerance, where a person does not have the enzyme Lactase that breaks down the disaccharide Lactose into the two smaller monosaccharides Galactose and Glucose. Leads to bloating, and well you know the rest. There is also Fructose Intolerance, but this is MUCH rarer, as it is hereitary and from lacking the enzyme Aldolase B.

Food Allergy: Eating a food and it goes down the digestive track, then aggravates the immune system. Triggered by the actions of Immunoglobulin E (IgE), one immunoglobulin isotype of the immune system.

Food Pseudoallergy: Generally has the same physical effects of an allergy involving the immune system, but is not mediated by IgE responses. Examples are for instance people who cannot take aspirin (Salicylate sensitivity) and think they have an "allergy" to it. It is thought to be releated to histamine levels circulating in the body. Some pseudoallergies can also cause food intolerances. This is a bit of a gray area.

Autoimmune Disease: The own body's immune system is screwed in some way and attacking it's own body. Friendly fire. Example from above: Celiac Disease and eating gluten.

Shorthard:
1 - Digestion hates it.
2 - IgE tells you that you can't eat it.
3 - Histamine tells you not to eat it.
4 - Immune system is hurting you.

Anonymous Stickwick September 17, 2012 7:29 PM  

National Geographic, a long time ago, printed a story on how children who grow up in farm homes have MUCH FEWER illnesses and allergies than those growing up in cities and the suburbs. They blamed the hyper-vigilant parental attitude of helicopter parents, but not for faking it.

I didn't grow up on a farm, but I did grow up in a heavily wooded area where kids played all day outside in the dirt and squirrel poop, we sneezed and coughed on each other, and only washed our hands when it was time for dinner. We were all pretty hardy, and that probably had something to do with so few kids in my school having (apparent) allergies.

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins Immunology September 17, 2012 7:44 PM  

One test to determine the reality of the allergies is if they have a prescribed Epipen and they actually carry it with them.

That's a perfect metric, thank you.
Henceforth, anything short of that and I'll throw the brown flag on all the hysterics.


Monumentally stupid idea. EpiPens are little devices you carry around that inject you with a dose of epinephrine (also called adrenaline) which is a little compound that boosts your blood pressure in order to stave of the effects of anaphylactic shock. But what is anaphylaxis?

Whenever you get a hive on your skin, this is a small taste of the effects of histamine. The histamine is released in the area, dropping the pressure, causing fluid to rush in. Then, a hive forms.

Now if the histamine is liberated from the mast cells simutaneously all over the body, your blood pressure can drop very fast. Then you pass out. Then you die. Hence the EpiPen for emergencies.

I can have a perfectly legitimate allergy without needing adrenaline directly injected into my bloodstream.

Anonymous Feh September 17, 2012 7:59 PM  

Next you're gonna tell me that autism, asperger's, and ADHD are just a bunch of bullshit the drug companies invented so they can medicate our children!

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins Immunology September 17, 2012 8:01 PM  

I'm willing to bet that among the ones that have real allergies most are greatly exaggerated. Like if a kid as a mild penut allergy and if he eats one might feel a little sick, the Mom acts like if anyone brings a penut anywhere near him he'll die.

The reason peanuts seem to be so bad is that proteins are usually what triggers allergies with the immune system. Same reason tree nuts, shellfish, and eggs can be bad. All loaded with proteins.

When my daughter was little, she broke out in hives from one brand of peanut butter, but not another brand. Given that I bought the two jars that we experimented with at the same time and she didn't have a reaction to that brand several years later, I'm guessing that it was either a preservative or something else that the peanuts were treated with in the fields.

Or the immune system calmed down and she outgrew it. Or there was pollen on the peanuts. When you eat something, it is very important to pinpoint the exact THING in it that you are allergic to.


I have a coworker who is allergic to peanuts, but only in large pure quantities, I guess, as a Snickers bar doesn't phase him. Whatever.

It's possible the processing of the peanuts destroys whatever protein is triggering him.


Strangely my first step dad (SD#1, yes they are numbered) would go into an asthmatic fit if he ingested anything remotely peanut. I was usually to blame for when making a PBNJ, I always smeared the PB on first and then used the same knife to retrieve and smear the Jelly. No visible PB was in the Jelly Jar, but it would make SD#1 grossly ill. Of course he had an asthma inhaler and always got better. Peanuts are not why there would be an SD#2 later.

There are H1-Histamine receptors in the body. These trigger bronchoconstriction and those asthma symptoms. People with asthma tend to have atopy, or elevated levels of Immunoglobulin E in the body, causing more allergies. Atopy can also be hereditary.

On the other hand, children's food allergies often go away as they grow up. I don't think anyone understands the exact mechanism that causes their bodies to treat, say, peanut compounds as antigens, but about 80% of children with dairy allergies and 20% with peanut allergies grow out of them by the time they are 16.

Yes.

No one knows why peanut allergies tend to linger though, compared to the other food allergies that tend to dissipate. Perhaps more protein?

Also, certain allergies like shellfish tend to develop in ADULTS.

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins Immunology September 17, 2012 8:11 PM  

National Geographic, a long time ago, printed a story on how children who grow up in farm homes have MUCH FEWER illnesses and allergies than those growing up in cities and the suburbs. They blamed the hyper-vigilant parental attitude of helicopter parents, but not for faking it.

I didn't grow up on a farm, but I did grow up in a heavily wooded area where kids played all day outside in the dirt and squirrel poop, we sneezed and coughed on each other, and only washed our hands when it was time for dinner. We were all pretty hardy, and that probably had something to do with so few kids in my school having (apparent) allergies.


This is called the Hygiene Hypothesis of medicine.

Being too clean is weakening people's immune systems and causing more allergies. Just like weight lifting. Training your muscles by exposing them to progressive stress (eustress, or hormesis in biology, or "What does not kill me, makes me stronger" per Nietszche) makes them stronger. Avoiding all stress makes the muscles flimsy like when astronauts go into space.

Anonymous cheddarman September 17, 2012 8:38 PM  

I developed adult asthma at age 29, it was triggered by dust mites and tree mold...I also would get 2-3 separate bouts of bronchitis every winter

a decade later, i started taking mega doses of omega-3s (total intake about 3 grams EPA and 3 grams DHA per day, for a body weight of 215 lbs)


I have been symptom free after weaning myself off of the steroid inhaler.

IMO, a lot of real allergies are caused by an over active immune system, caused by eating too many omega-6 containing foods

a lot of foods high in omega-6 fats are also common allergens, like soy, corn, and peanuts

a number of these plant based proteins have natural constituents that inhibit the protein degrading enzymes in the stomach/small intestines

If your stomach/intestinal lining is damaged, these undigested proteins can cause an inflammatory response and develop over time into a food allergy

sincerely

Cheddarman

Anonymous TLM September 17, 2012 9:01 PM  

Dr Spectator,
Your comments are appreciated. I am curious about a true allergy vs a reaction. I've accidentaly eatin cod twice. One of those times was cod had been sitting on top of some fries in an Irish Pub (go figure), but the cod drippings on the fries caused the same reaction as actually taking a bite of it some years earlier. There are no shell fish allergies, or tuna. And i rarely eat fish. Each reaction was a swelling in the throat but not enough to affect breathing. Stomach irritation also followed. Both times i controlled my breathing, didnt panic, and got some benadryl. The symptoms then subsided. Your diagnosis is welcome. Thanks.

Anonymous debbs September 17, 2012 9:01 PM  

Dr Idle Spectator said "Or the immune system calmed down and she outgrew it. Or there was pollen on the peanuts. When you eat something, it is very important to pinpoint the exact THING in it that you are allergic to."

The only thing that we could determine is that it was NOT peanuts because she could eat other brands and peanut products. When we introduced the particular brand again about a month after her first reaction, she got hives again. If we had only experimented with the brand that she reacted to, we may have concluded that her reaction was due to the peanuts and avoided them completely. My point was that many of these parents may be coming to wrong conclusions based on limited information. Possibly they don't want to take the chance of re-introducing the foods that they suspect cause the problem. Nor would have I if my daughter hadn't been eating peanuts for several years with no apparent reaction. You see, I have a healthy respect for allergy issues given my father died of anaphylactic shock in a hospital emergency room after an injection of a radioactive dye.

It would have been comforting to pinpoint the specific ingredient, but it's difficult if not impossible to get allergy tests for everything that it could have been. Given that she hasn't had a reaction for many, many years, I suspect that it was something peculiar about that batch of peanut butter and/or she outgrew it. I still do avoid that brand though.

And...thank you sharing your knowledge on this thread. Many people I know seem to be experiencing more food related problems lately.

Blogger Subversive Saint September 17, 2012 9:17 PM  

All I can say is that you're raciss for questioning the veracity of the food allergy claim...

Oh wait, different subject.

Blogger Subversive Saint September 17, 2012 9:17 PM  

All I can say is that you're raciss for questioning the veracity of the food allergy claim...

Oh wait, different subject.

Anonymous Cryin Ryan September 17, 2012 9:35 PM  

My Sis had two boys. The older one was skinny, very picky with his food, and she claimed he had allergies to Peanuts and Dairy. Or was it chicken.

The younger one would eat anything that wasn't nailed down, and grew into an obese, obnoxious, liberal loudmouth journalist.

But I digress. The older one with the psuedo-allergies married a slut who grew up on welfare with a mother who was obese, ignorant, and a democrat.

Together they ran up their credit cards to the stratosphere, he was injured at work, they milked the taxpayers for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and left all their creditors holding the bag. His wife ran off and got hosed by several other guys while he recovered. Then he got her pregnant again.

Then he got a girl pregnant who already had 3 children. Now he works, pays child support, supports 3 kids and a fat girlfriend, and he is still a skinny, picky eating little prick.

My Sis thinks he is God's gift to the world, and doles out money to him whenever he's short.

Which is always.

Those damn peanuts.

Anonymous whatever September 17, 2012 10:13 PM  


National Geographic, a long time ago, printed a story on how children who grow up in farm homes have MUCH FEWER illnesses and allergies than those growing up in cities and the suburbs. They blamed the hyper-vigilant parental attitude of helicopter parents, but not for faking it.


Repeat after me, "There is no such thing as pollution. There is no such things as pollution."

Toxins are harmless if one is a right thinking individual. Therefore, I suggest, in order to prove her case, the above poster eat some arsenic. Her right-thinking nature will protect her from the poison.

That said, this post fails to mention what they mean by "no allergic reaction".

I have a simple metric. Does heart rate or blood pressure increase after eating a real amount of the food.

Anonymous Rantor September 17, 2012 10:34 PM  

And a big thank you to Dr. Idle Spectator. Really, that was interesting.

Anonymous Rantor September 17, 2012 10:38 PM  

My wife is German and raised our daughter playing outside a lot, with other children and making sure she played with the kid who had chicken pox, cause she was at the right age, etc. She would also be bundled in her bed and placed outside in winter, some german nap time thing... Despite having some of my genes (years of two antihistamnines a day, every day... doing much better now) Our daughter is quite healthy and rarely sick.

Anonymous bethyada not signed in September 17, 2012 10:40 PM  

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16210065

Anonymous ENthePeasant September 17, 2012 10:41 PM  

We knew how to fix things back in the day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWalLDJHVbA

Blogger IM2L844 September 18, 2012 12:07 AM  

I didn't grow up on a farm, but I did grow up in a heavily wooded area where kids played all day outside in the dirt and squirrel poop, we sneezed and coughed on each other, and only washed our hands when it was time for dinner. We were all pretty hardy, and that probably had something to do with so few kids in my school having (apparent) allergies.

When I was a kid, It was pretty much the same story and all the way through public school I only knew one kid that had asthma and one kid that had an allergy (bee stings), but that was back in the day when a good old fashion ass whippin' was a sure fire cure for ADHD and teachers were encouraged by the parents to administer them as often as needed. Whiners were frowned upon by everyone.

Blogger Bruce Lewis September 18, 2012 12:41 AM  

I am allergic to fresh peaches and nuts (e.g., raw pecans). Every time I eat either of them, my mouth and throat swell up and itch.

I eat them anyway. I'm not going to let my mast cells run my life.

Parents who have children with severe food allergies should keep their children at home or prepare themselves to accept the consequences. Life cannot be "sanitized for your protection".

Anonymous oregon mouse September 18, 2012 1:10 AM  

For anyone that may be interested, I found that my carb consumption, especially wheat, directly influences morning sickness. I didn't know this with the first two babies and got so sick that the doctor even did an ultrsound on my gall bladder with baby number 2. It was normal.
I've been on a lose paleo type diet for the past 18months. I've dropped 35lbs. Found out we were expecting baby #3 in July and immediately noticed that when I go off my diet I get nausea, even worse fatigue, and raging harpy mood swings. Once I exclude wheat for about two days, it clears out of my system and I feel almost normal. I just thought the ladies here might want the info if they didn't already know. It would have saved me a lot of real pain if I knew from the start that wheat was so destructive.
My husband has also beneiftted from dropping most of the wheat. He no longer has IBS like issues that he has had for years.

Anonymous III September 18, 2012 1:34 AM  

Food today is not the food that great grandma used to feed us.

Anonymous JCclimber September 18, 2012 2:22 AM  

we're more in the category of parents who quietly tell the teacher or cook that our son is allergic to peanuts, and that friggin' EpiPen goes - Everywhere- that he goes.

I hate it. My wife hates it. We both love peanut butter. I thank God that at least my son isn't as allergic as a couple of my co-workers who we've had to rush to the ER several times before their airways manage to swell all the way shut, from trace amounts of peanuts.

For us, it isn't a big deal, we actually eat peanuts in front of him on occasion (not at home), and we just quietly go on with our lives. Every other year we go back to the allergist for testing to see if the allergy is fading (in some cases it goes away). Life goes on.

I agree about the obnoxious parents who "win" by having the kids with the most allergies. We have several friends whose children are fighting for their lives with various forms of cancer. I know they'd trade their children's problems for the allergy parent's problems in a heartbeat.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza September 18, 2012 3:01 AM  

Agreed. I am not entirely convinced with the gluten/peanut obsession. I say the real killers are sugars and the vaccinations made with eggs.

Grocery sticker shock: generic peanut butter $5.88. One pound of swiss cheese $7.99. One pound of turkey $8.99. Whatever. I bought it all with a smile and side of xanax (somewhat kidding).

Anonymous NewAnubis September 18, 2012 3:06 AM  

@VikingKirken OT

I discovered a horrible dairy allergy while going through cluster headaches last fall.

If food allergies exacerbate the frequency/intensity of your CH you may the only CH sufferer on earth where this happens. Additionally, there is little need to endure that particular horror while grabbing your ankles at the neurologist's office. Psilocybin will give you your life back. 9 year chronic here, btw.

Blogger Wagnerian September 18, 2012 5:03 AM  

Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins Immunology

Are you really a physician? Epinephrine might be used to increase BP, but the major use of Epipen is for broncospasm, mediating the conversion of ATP to cyclic-AMP, relaxing the bronchioles.

I have no dog in the hunt, but I think you answered a question that wasn't asked.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza September 18, 2012 5:20 AM  

Speaking of weight loss, wheat. Austerity and high food prices have helped my dad's weight. Since food is vastly expensive state side and its just Dad and I we buy a few things here and there and leave the fridge mostly empty.

He has lost about 30 pounds and I lost 8 pounds due to the cancer-stress diet. We are too stressed to eat or look at food.

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins Immunology September 18, 2012 6:12 AM  

Dr Spectator,
Your comments are appreciated. I am curious about a true allergy vs a reaction. I've accidentaly eatin cod twice. One of those times was cod had been sitting on top of some fries in an Irish Pub (go figure), but the cod drippings on the fries caused the same reaction as actually taking a bite of it some years earlier. There are no shell fish allergies, or tuna. And i rarely eat fish. Each reaction was a swelling in the throat but not enough to affect breathing. Stomach irritation also followed. Both times i controlled my breathing, didnt panic, and got some benadryl. The symptoms then subsided. Your diagnosis is welcome. Thanks.


With regards to seafood allergies, you can catagorize them into general groups:
1 - Shellfish: Crabs, lobster, shrimp, crayfish, prawns.
2 - Finned Fish: Cod, tuna, and others. Well, duh.
3 - Bivalves: Mussels, clams, oysters.
4 - Gastropods: Snails*, conches.
5 - Cephalopods: Squid, octopus.

*Technically not "seafood" per se, but is usually served beside conches as a gastropod.

If you are allergic to members in one of the five groups on that list, it is still possible to consume the other groups without any problems. Groups are generalized though. Like if I am allergic to clams, so am I to mussels and oysters since they share proteins in common. BUT, the immune system is VERY idiosyncratic. So sometimes even WITHIN the groups you can consume one without the other. Like you eating tuna but not able to eat cod even though both are finned fish. No one really knows why yet, but they are working on it.

That cod most likely sounds like an food allergy. I say, "most likely" because Benadryl (also called Diphenhydramine) is also used as a mild sedative. There's a small chance you were freaking yourself out and the Benadryl calmed you down. But the swelled throat looks like an allergy. I would say avoid cod, and be on the lookout for any other finned fish that might not agree with you.

You might test cod again, but I bet you react again...

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins Immunology September 18, 2012 6:25 AM  

Possibly they don't want to take the chance of re-introducing the foods that they suspect cause the problem. Nor would have I if my daughter hadn't been eating peanuts for several years with no apparent reaction. You see, I have a healthy respect for allergy issues given my father died of anaphylactic shock in a hospital emergency room after an injection of a radioactive dye.

Yes, this is very rare but happens. Usually reactions are small if any occur.

They use radiocontrast dyes: usually either Iodine or Barium. The Iodine dye has two types, ionic and non-ionic. The ionic type causes the most reactions, due to higher osmolality, which is probably what he got.

Technically in this case the reaction is anaphylactoid not anaphylactic. The contrast dye can cause the degranulation of the mast cells to release histamine directly without IgE, causing the anaphylactoid shock. So not a true allergy, but an excellent example of a pseudoallergy. The symptoms of both are almost identical though.

Anonymous prestashop template September 18, 2012 6:39 AM  

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Anonymous weight loss September 18, 2012 6:39 AM  

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Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins Immunology September 18, 2012 6:47 AM  

I have a simple metric. Does heart rate or blood pressure increase after eating a real amount of the food.

Unless the food has alcohol or caffeine in it, then this metric is useless.

I am allergic to fresh peaches and nuts (e.g., raw pecans). Every time I eat either of them, my mouth and throat swell up and itch.

I eat them anyway. I'm not going to let my mast cells run my life.


If you are having a reaction to the food when raw, but not when cooked, it is likely Oral Allergy Syndrome. This usually occurs in nuts and plant foods. Basically proteins on the surface of the food are close enough to pollen that the immune system thinks you are sticking pollen in your mouth. Or it might actually BE pollen on the food. Cooking denatures the proteins and stops the reaction.

Are you really a physician? Epinephrine might be used to increase BP, but the major use of Epipen is for broncospasm, mediating the conversion of ATP to cyclic-AMP, relaxing the bronchioles.

I am the everyone.
I am legion.
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

And yes, you can do that. I was trying to tie the EpiPen into how hives work. Usually saying cAMP (for 3'-5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate) is good enough. But you have to be VERY careful saying ATP -> cAMP, because if epinephrine acts on the alpha-1 receptors it uses IP3, Ca2+ and DAG instead as the secondary messengers. Super detailed here, I just googled it: 33 Slides just on Adrenaline


I have no dog in the hunt, but I think you answered a question that wasn't asked.

Remember, an answer without a question is merely a statement.

Blogger Amy Haines September 18, 2012 7:08 AM  

@vikingkirken, do you go to Birchwood? It's my diary of choice. Their butter, when they have it, is beyond excellent, as is their milk. I buy 8-10 gallons at a time and turn it into kefir, yogurt, or cheese as my needs dictate (and leave a gallon or two for my husband to drink, as he seems to tolerate straight milk far better than I do).

Finding the WAP and Primal diets have been lifesavers for me and my family. We don't eat low carb at all, but I've been going the JERF route for some time now and don't notice any ill effects from food the way I used to - unless I go over the cliff and eat bread, pasta, and sugar with abandon. Once I go back to Primal-ish/WAP eating, including fermented dairy and sprouted grain sourdough bread (all home made), I feel instantly better, within a matter of hours.

My nephew has a bona fide dairy allergy, confirmed by an allergist and by his own symptoms. Any dairy, even "2% or less of milk solids" as an ingredient in a food, and he goes into full-on Exorcist mode with the vomiting and diarrhea for about 24 hours. He is almost three, and my brother hopes he will outgrow it. He likely will, but my brother and I cannot drink straight milk or eat ice cream without a lot of discomfort, so the nephew may have to avoid it his whole life or eat only cultured dairy. So, yeah, allergies exist but I agree with the general thrust of the post: completely overblown and a badge of honor for some parents who are dying to have an exceptional child of any stripe.

Anonymous Mrs. Pilgrim September 18, 2012 7:56 AM  

I agree about the obnoxious parents who "win" by having the kids with the most allergies.

There's a name for it. (Yes, yes, I know, Wikipedia, but it's a good starting point.)

Anonymous Mrs. Pilgrim September 18, 2012 8:10 AM  

National Geographic, a long time ago, printed a story on how children who grow up in farm homes have MUCH FEWER illnesses and allergies than those growing up in cities and the suburbs. They blamed the hyper-vigilant parental attitude of helicopter parents, but not for faking it.

Or they could have reactions to common landscaping shrubs. There's a lot of stuff that's toxic to us but that we court aggressively. I believe the shrub that sets my sinuses on red alert is one that was bred from more natural cousins.

...I just hit on an idea as I was typing this. I wonder if many food reactions (since they're based on proteins) come as a result of GMO crops?

Anonymous DrTorch September 18, 2012 10:19 AM  

My guess is this is complete nonsense, meant to hide the abject failure of the medical discipline of "allergist".

Between refusing to use innovative diagostic techniques, employing semantics to distinguish between "allergies" and "sensitivities" and most importantly, offering virtually no treatment of the ailment (just the symptoms), allergists are worthless.

Furthermore, there is growing concern that some GMO foods increase allergic reactions, so I imagine that Agribusiness and Gov't are telling physicians to quash the observation that there are more allergies.

Anonymous TLM September 18, 2012 10:47 AM  

Thanks Doc

Anonymous mjb September 18, 2012 10:48 AM  

@vikingkirken, do you go to Birchwood? It's my diary of choice. Their butter, when they have it, is beyond excellent, as is their milk. I buy 8-10 gallons at a time and turn it into kefir, yogurt, or cheese as my needs dictate (and leave a gallon or two for my husband to drink, as he seems to tolerate straight milk far better than I do).

Finding the WAP and Primal diets have been lifesavers for me and my family. We don't eat low carb at all, but I've been going the JERF route for some time now and don't notice any ill effects from food the way I used to - unless I go over the cliff and eat bread, pasta, and sugar with abandon. Once I go back to Primal-ish/WAP eating, including fermented dairy and sprouted grain sourdough bread (all home made), I feel instantly better, within a matter of hours


Amy, we go to Freedom Hill Farm up in the Middletown, NY area. (Yes, VikingKirken is my wife). My wife is a huge advocate of the WAP diet, and I'm primal most of the time.

Anonymous JCclimber September 18, 2012 12:05 PM  

Regarding farm living vs city living, I have read a number of studies showing a strong correlation between asthma attacks and the amount of pollution on the street where you are living.

Live in a neighborhood with lots of fine particles (exhaust, tiny pieces of tire rubber, etc) in the air, and you have much higher numbers of asthma sufferers.

I wonder if having our young 'uns living in greater pollution is exacerbating the allergy situation.

Blogger Amy Haines September 18, 2012 12:26 PM  

@mjb,

I am in NJ and Birchwood in PA is the closest grass-fed dairy to me. There is another raw milk seller in PA but they feed corn silage and use antibiotics, a huge turnoff to me, so I drive the extra distance and pay the premium for grass fed milk - and beef, when our needs or desires demand it. Otherwise we rely primarily on the one pastured pig we buy from a farmer friend every year, the 4-6 or more deer per year my husband puts in the freezer, the veggies I grow in the garden or purchase from local farmers, and eggs from the girls around the block. Next year I will have my own laying flock, and my eldest daughter is interested in raising animals, so we are starting with rabbits.

Why all of this? Part of it was motivated by reading NT, Sisson, Wolf, et.al., and a lifelong desire to go back to the earth. Art Ayers site Cooling Inflammation com was also a big influence. His post about the importance of tuning your body's microbiota to the local microflora/biota was highly influential: http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/2010/08/why-discuss-mothers-milk-on.html

of course, as a breastfeeding mom, I'm biased in favor of his research, but if it walks like a duck, right?

Anonymous Luke September 18, 2012 12:40 PM  

I remember reading somewhere that easily 4/5 of Americans who claimed lactose intolerance were incorrect. Probably most were primarily deluded, while the rest were purely lying attention whores (all the former I've ever met seemed to have at least some of the latter about them).

Semi-OT: my wife and I have 10-week old twins. She tried like heck, but could not lactate. We get donor breast milk when we can, but that's under 10% of their consumption (almost half a gallon every 24 hours). We've been trying like heck to find a nutritionally-complete fully soy-free formula for them. Neocate (from the U.K.) is the closest we've found. Holle (German origin) makes some that are soyless, but the pre-6-month stuff has cow's milk in it, and seems deficient in more than a few trace nutrients. Anyone here know of a better product?

Anonymous Jimmy September 18, 2012 12:52 PM  

When I was a kid, I was tested for allergies. They found an allergy to grass. It is best for kids to be tested, otherwise it is a mistake to allow the kid to persist with a problem. I'm sure most allergies can be outgrown, yet other intolerances can occur at later life. I develop lactate intolerance 10 years ago. I cannot drink regular milk. I usually take lactate pills for ice cream, which cannot be given up.

Blogger Bruce Lewis September 18, 2012 1:15 PM  

@ Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins Immunology September 18, 2012 6:47 AM:

Thanks for the tip, Doc. You are indeed correct: the reaction occurs only with the fresh produce. Stewed peaches, no problem; roasted pecans, ditto.

I eat them anyway. I do not allow my body's limitations to circumscribe my behavior. Une pêche fraîche vaut bien un réaction histaminique.

Anonymous Wendy September 18, 2012 1:15 PM  

Semi-OT: my wife and I have 10-week old twins. She tried like heck, but could not lactate.

Probably a stupid question, but did you try a lactation consultant? And they aren't all the same. I'd get recommendations for one from a midwife rather than a hospital. Find a good one and it's money more than well spent. Our insurance didn't cover it, but it was the best $120 we ever spent. A friend of ours wanted to breastfeed, but the plumbing just wasn't right for it so she had to use formula...so it isn't always technique and will power problems. Twins would be a challenge under the best circumstances...

Sorry I can't help with regards to formula, but glad you're looking for soy free.

Blogger Amy Haines September 18, 2012 1:47 PM  

Read Nourishing Traditions for a recipe for homemade baby formula. Also, encourage your wife to drink Fenugreek tea 2-5 times per day and nurse on demand, not on a pre-determined schedule. the Fenugreek encourages lacation (trust me; I am tandem nursing a 3 week old and an almost-2 year old and I almost doubled my milk production once I started using Fenugreek tea daily). Also, nursing on the babies' demand means milk is made according to their needs, which are constantly in flux anyway. When my kids were going through growth spurts, it seemed like I had no milk for them, but after a day or so of constant nursing, the milk supply kept up with their demands.

If your wife is truly unable to lactate enough for both babies, then look into making your own formula or continue supplementing what you can with human breastmilk. I know a woman who, for reasons beyond her control (tumor removal), cannot lactate, and fed her babies forumula without any ill effects. I do think breast is best, but absent an ability to lactate effectively, you must choose the next best option for your offspring and continue to provide nutrition, shelter, love, and guidance (NNITO).

If your wife cannot lactate and you cannot supplement with human breastmilk, consider the impact and importance of feeding your children a diet based on locally grown, minimally processed and raw or lightly cooked vegetables in their diet once they are on solids, as well as cultured cow or coconut milk products to help their gut flora develop and thrive.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza September 18, 2012 1:54 PM  

My comment was eaten regarding wheat. While each body is different I cannot help but notice the decade long influx of gluten free product line$. (An old doctor of mine once said that we crave what we are allergic to...I didn't exactly agree with his rationale on about it but who knows.)

Anonymous Luke September 18, 2012 2:59 PM  

Thank you for the information, Amy.
My wife made extensive use of the services of a very good lactation specialist right from the start. Major regular use of a pump + hormones for over> 6 weeks before birth, too. Sigh.

Not a fan of herbs. I know too much about that industry to believe anything positive.

Re using cow's milk early on: is that okay? I'd had the (minimally researched) impression that that was not wise for months yet. The two Holle infant formulas I've looked at are here (top two items):
http://bioliving.com.au/brands/holle/infant_formula

Here's the U.K. Neocate stuff I mentioned earlier:

https://www.neocate.com/shop/c-7-neocate-infant-dha-ara.aspx

Blogger Amy Haines September 18, 2012 3:37 PM  

@Luke, don't discount herbs. Yeah, massive doses of multiple herbs at once is not good for you. I've been using Traditional Medicinal's Mother's Milk tea for years now and have not experienced any ill effects, only benefits. My eldest is almost four years old and I used the tea for her, my middle child, and my infant to great benefit for all of us. I wake and pump over 8 oz of milk every morning so my middle child can have milk for her sippy cups and I can store a reserve for my infant.

As far as using cow's milk early on, it's completely safe unless your children have a diagnosed allergy to it. It's not optimal, but it is an acceptable substitute for human milk IF YOU TAKE THE TIME TO ADD THE NECESSARY NUTRIENTS TO IT - via calf/beef/sheep liver.

Luke, I lost almost 3 pints of blood and a lot of clotted tissue when I delivered our son a few weeks ago. He is not even a month old yet, and I have had a helluva time getting myself back to health. I left the hospital anemic and dehydrated. I drank (and am still drinking) bone broth, and eat liver pates, fatty meats, leafy greens, and sprouted wheat breads in order to build up my iron stores and fatty acid profiles. I tell you this because, even if your wife can only give a few ounces a day to the babies, then they should be the most obscenely nutritious bits they get all day. Eat a nutrient dense diet and watch your children thrive. Supplement when and where you must, and can.

If you have a source of milk that is raw, grass-fed, and drug/hormone free, you are in the clear. Even raw milk, if not pastured/grass fed/hormone free, is better than the pasteurized milk from the grocery store. I am a believer of the make-do class - use the best of whatever presents itself to you to effect the best of health and life for those you love.

Anonymous Sheila September 18, 2012 6:45 PM  

My experiences have borne out that shellfish allergies generally develop in adults. The last two times I had soft-shelled crabs, my mouth started to get tingly and numb, so I've had to give them up. I have to wash my hands thoroughly after peeling shrimp, or I get a very itchy rash - so I've decided the problem is only with the shell. I refuse to give up lobster (although since I will only eat it fresh, and we live in Dallas, I haven't had it in a few years).

Amy Haines - thanks for your informative comments. My older son nursed with no problems, but the younger had constant stomach issues. Try as I might, I couldn't figure out what I was eating that was affecting him. Silly me, I didn't know breast-fed babies could get colic. Six months later, I gave up and he did fine on formula. Perhaps if I had modified my diet early on, I wouldn't have had to turn into a zombie during his first year of life.

Anonymous Anonymous September 19, 2012 4:36 AM  

My daughter has a tree nut allergy. She's so allergic that if she eats them, she dies. Plain and simple. I've seen her face swell up after half of a pistachio, her breathing become labored. Doctors have confirmed her allergy and let me tell you what a pain in the ass all the medication paperwork is with the schools while making sure everyone has the proper medication in case something slips through-- not to mention the constant worry.

Are some parents wrong about the allergies? Maybe. But I have no idea why in hell they would want to fake it. It sucks.

Anonymous Surrogacy Agency September 20, 2012 8:36 AM  

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Blogger Anthony September 20, 2012 7:46 PM  

Luke - lactose intolerance is the *normal* state of adult humans. It's only these weird northern Europeans and East Africans who don't have it. In me, it's mild. If I have milk or ice cream, I'll have diarrhea. (Just a little, and I'll have soft stool.) I deal - milk isn't worth it, but ice cream is, so I limit my intake, and cope with the unpleasantness. (I've deliberately had ice cream when I've been constipated. Yes, it works.)

I may have a sensitivity to scallops, too. The last two times I had scallops, I vomited out the entire contents of my stomach a few hours later. Two different restaurants, several months apart. Maybe it was food poisoning, and I got a bad coincidence, but I don't need to take the chance if contaminated scallops are that common.

Those of you commenting about urban kids having more asthma - I saw some studies that pointed to cockroaches as a possible cause/trigger. I don't know if that's panned out, or not, but since it seems that asthma is more common in urban poor kids, it's worth exploring.

Anonymous Luke September 20, 2012 11:35 PM  

Hi, Anthony. Re who in the world doesn't have lactose intolerance: I thought that Indians (dot not feather) generally ate milk out the wazoo as well, supplies permitting. That's most of another billion people right there.

Anonymous Justin December 06, 2012 1:05 AM  

I've never seen anything about the variability of sensitivities with an allergy. I wonder if this plays a role here. There's also the fact that allergy testing isn't definitive a lot of the time.

I'm allergic to milk protein (whey, I think). Cheese is the biggest problem for me, since it's basically concentrated milk protein. It's not a life threatening allergy. Worst I get is a swollen throat (not the part I breath through, luckily) and severe stomach pains if I have a lot. So, I used to eat moderate amounts of dairy when I probably shouldn't have. Sometimes I would have less of a reaction than other times. Occasionally, I used to be been able to eat a slice of cheese with no noticeable reaction. Although, that isn't to say that the eosinophil levels in my stomach didn't increase. Other times, a bite of a protein bar or something similar would cause a big reaction. I still try to stay clear of even small amounts these days, as it may have contributed to my duodenal stricture -- docs can't say for sure.

So, I have to wonder if many of the people who didn't have a reaction to the test in that study still had an allergy. Confirming an allergy can be very hard. Aside from skin prick tests (far from conclusive) and blood tests (ditto), my doctor (a gatro specialist, not just my GP) says there isn't much else they can do, practically speaking, to confirm my allergy. They'd have to do the skin prick test on my stomach. Not only would that be impractical, but it would still be inconclusive -- putting someone on powerful sedatives and then shoving an endoscope down their throat are variables that are hard to eliminate from the test with mainstream medicine's current understanding of the immune system.

That article is bad science, because it premise is based on the assumption that allergy resting is reliable. It's not, and the science suggests it may be even more unreliable than first thought.

If someone says they have an allergy, you should assume they do, because you don't really know their full history and you probably don't know more about the immune system than scientists who specialise in this area.

Anonymous Anonymous January 27, 2013 11:13 AM  

The funny thing about all of this is that people assume that when they go into a restaurant, the chef or cook is not educated enough to know what true allergies exist. There is no one in the world that cooks for a living that wants to kill anyone. If you say that you are allergic to shellfish, they aren't going to have shellfish anywhere near your food. If you go into a restaurant and say that you are allergic to potatoes, that is a different story. Don't go into a restaurant and order the stew without potatoes and expect a good response. It is cooked with potatoes and they aren't going to make a "fresh" batch just for you. Order something that never had a potato in the recipe and you won't have potatoes in it. Chefs spend dozens of hours writing, creating and testing their menus, to ask them to change their creation is an insult. There is a reason for every ingredient. It creates balance in the meal. If you want a salt free meal, go eat at a hospital.

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