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Igg Elisa Food Intolerance Testing...?
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Hello all,

I'm wondering what experiences people have had with IgG ELISA testing and subsequent eliminations. I tested high for a few foods (in addition to gluten and gluten containing items), and am debating the whole elimination diet thing again. Did it in the spring, didn't particularly notice any symptoms associated with either peanuts or cow's milk products, but here they are in red with starts. Yeast is also high, but that has been out of my diet by default as I haven't baked myself any bread or bought bread. Oh wait, maybe had some in pizza crusts... but generally not consuming it. Eggs and ginger are low, but noticeable.

However, I have hit a plateau of getting better. I'm still a little light (would like to gain 3-5 lbs or so), and have regular GI discomfort (primarily pain). On the other hand, I'm also getting the occasional accidental gluten exposure.

Does it make a difference to just go "light" instead of total elimination? How reliable/serious is this? My brief lit review and doc conversation basically yielded "not sure, maybe not but worth looking at in absence of other issues."

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I'm wondering what experiences people have had with IgG ELISA testing and subsequent eliminations. I tested high for a few foods (in addition to gluten and gluten containing items), and am debating the whole elimination diet thing again. Did it in the spring, didn't particularly notice any symptoms associated with either peanuts or cow's milk products, but here they are in red with starts. Yeast is also high, but that has been out of my diet by default as I haven't baked myself any bread or bought bread. Oh wait, maybe had some in pizza crusts... but generally not consuming it. Eggs and ginger are low, but noticeable.

However, I have hit a plateau of getting better. I'm still a little light (would like to gain 3-5 lbs or so), and have regular GI discomfort (primarily pain). On the other hand, I'm also getting the occasional accidental gluten exposure.

Does it make a difference to just go "light" instead of total elimination? How reliable/serious is this? My brief lit review and doc conversation basically yielded "not sure, maybe not but worth looking at in absence of other issues."

My husband and I were both diagnosed with IgG mediated food allergies by the ELISA blood test. He purposely tested his reactions to diagnosed foods and experienced symptoms. I had already been diagnosed with gluten, dairy and soy intolerances by Enterolab stool tests and knew those gave me painful gastro reactions. So I didn't want to 'test' my other ELISA diagnosed allergies. However, over the course of the next 3 years I accidentally consumed each of those allergens (cane sugar, vanilla and nutmeg) and experienced obvious, painful gut reactions to each. I was also diagnosed with egg white allergy, but I didn't test that one either, because I get horrible gastro symptoms every time I get a flu shot (which is prepared in eggs).

I do NOT agree with 'light' or occasional abstinence from diagnosed allergies. I don't believe our bodies 'forget' how to react to an allergen, after we begin to form antibodies. If we react once, we will always react. Our symptoms may change (from gastrointestinal) to other autoimmune reactions like joint pain, headache, fatigue, brain fog, etc., but we still react. So I prefer to heed my diagnosed allergens and avoid those.

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I suspect your problems have more to do with occasional gluten exposure.

Most of the allergy literature says that the IgG allergy tests should guide an elimination diet, not be diagnostic by themselves. IgE tests are more accurate. The biggest problem with IgG tests is that IgG tends to cross-react confusingly in tests.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20413700

Allergies can come and go, and there has never been any evidence of long-term issues from occasional exposure to allergens. Obviously, you avoid any for which your reactions are dangerous. Avoiding allergens totally tends to increase the severity of the reaction, as repeated exposure to small amounts of an allergen can desensitize the response. You see this in celiacs too, where we eat pasta for years feeling kinda sick, and then go gluten-free and have huge reactions to crumbs. It's probably easier as far as desensitization to go "light" rather than 100% elimination for mild allergies. I have an obnoxious wheat allergy now that returned from childhood after being gluten-free for five years and losing my natural desensitization.

One thing that is tricky about elimination diets is delayed reactions. Did you challenge plenty of your IgG foods for a full week? You might not react to one or two meals, but the delayed reaction kicks in after you consume a lot of the food.

Burdee, do you have references for you claim that food allergies can trigger autoimmunity? My understanding is that food-related autoimmunity is very specific to celiac disease. It happens because gliadin is digested unusually poorly and it is a transglutaminase substrate.

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Burdee, do you have references for you claim that food allergies can trigger autoimmunity? My understanding is that food-related autoimmunity is very specific to celiac disease. It happens because gliadin is digested unusually poorly and it is a transglutaminase substrate.

Did I say that?? My understanding is that gluten antibodies can attack any organ of the body and cause autoimmune reactions. See "Healthier Without Wheat" by Stephen Wangen, ND. I've heard theories about casein antibodies, but always believed what I read about gluten influencing autoimmune diseases.

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Most of the allergy literature says that the IgG allergy tests should guide an elimination diet, not be diagnostic by themselves. IgE tests are more accurate. The biggest problem with IgG tests is that IgG tends to cross-react confusingly in tests.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20413700

Allergies can come and go, and there has never been any evidence of long-term issues from occasional exposure to allergens. Obviously, you avoid any for which your reactions are dangerous. Avoiding allergens totally tends to increase the severity of the reaction, as repeated exposure to small amounts of an allergen can desensitize the response. You see this in celiacs too, where we eat pasta for years feeling kinda sick, and then go gluten-free and have huge reactions to crumbs. It's probably easier as far as desensitization to go "light" rather than 100% elimination for mild allergies. I have an obnoxious wheat allergy now that returned from childhood after being gluten-free for five years and losing my natural desensitization.

One thing that is tricky about elimination diets is delayed reactions. Did you challenge plenty of your IgG foods for a full week? You might not react to one or two meals, but the delayed reaction kicks in after you consume a lot of the food.

I agree that there's a lot of confusion about 'allergies'. Some 'experts' believe only IgE mediated allergies are 'true' allergies and the IgG and IgA mediated reactions are only 'intolerances'. However, I wonder how they differentiate 'lactose intolerance', in which people lack lactase enzyme to digest lactose, from IgG mediated reactions. Lactose intolerance certainly differs from reactions involving the immune system.

Also many allergy 'experts' still believe that people can 'grow out of' their allergies or 'desensitize' themselves to their allergens with repeated exposures. Unfortunately that doesn't work with gluten intolerance. I've read books that say that doesn't happen with other food reactions either. See "IBS Solution" by Stephen Wangen, ND and "Dangerous Grains" by Ron Hoggan. I know what traditional allergy 'experts' say. However, traditional celiac experts told children diagnosed with celiac disease that they would outgrow their gluten reactions. We now know that isn't true. I believe the 'facts' about food allergens will also change in the future.

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Sorry, I totally misread your post. We are in agreement that the autoimmunity comes from gluten (and casein in some rare folks).

I do tend to make the distinction between classic allergy, intolerance, and celiac. IgE mediated allergy has a well-defined immunological mechanism (IgE stimulated mast cell release), while intolerances are not as well understood but don't seem to be working through the mast cell system. Celiac is yet a third mechanism. Pollen allergies are easy to desensitize, and mild food allergies like melon, egg, soy, and others do come and go and can desensitize. There is a lot of work on oral desensitization for kids with dangerous peanut allergies.

There is a case study of a woman who was actually desensitized from celiac disease. I'm not saying people should try this, but I look at it as pointing to how poorly we understand the immune system. It's a tiny ray of hope too. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16388719 There is a company working on a celiac vaccine based on this and other evidence for potential desensitization of celiac disease.

IgG is actually sort of confusing in the allergy literature. There are cases where development of IgG and particularly IgG4 has been associated with developing tolerance. There is NOT good evidence any more that allergens should be 100% avoided as small exposure can help with desensitization and tolerance.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17208602

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18951617

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17245630

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There is a case study of a woman who was actually desensitized from celiac disease. I'm not saying people should try this, but I look at it as pointing to how poorly we understand the immune system. It's a tiny ray of hope too. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16388719 There is a company working on a celiac vaccine based on this and other evidence for potential desensitization of celiac disease.

I've read that some people who are intolerant to gluten are genetically predisposed, while others develop the intolerance at some point after birth. If this is true, I am wondering if any scientific headway, (e.g., desensitization) would be more effective for those who are not genetically intolerant. Do you know if it's possible to "turn off" genes?

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There are mechanisms for stopping a gene from being expressed, but I don't know of any treatments that do that for autoimmune diseases. I'm sure they are in development.

Yeah, I did a pretty thorough challenge. Milk was an issue but no cheeses caused problems and milk doesn't give me any trouble any longer (which makes me wonder about the validity of that biopsy... or maybe I was really not producing enough digestive enzymes at the time). Peanuts, less of a thorough challenge, but I've been eating them regularly. I might finish off what I have and then cut stuff out while being paranoid about gluten exposures and then reintroduce them to see what happens.

Thanks for the feedback.

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I'm rather skeptical of IgG testing, but I have too many conflicting results from 2 different clinics: an alternative medicine clinic did these tests and said that I tested positive for wheat, gluten, eggs, dairy and 25 other foods. But they won't give me anymore info over the phone and seem reluctant in giving me my test results. I also went to the Univ of Chicago Celiac disease center recently and they think (at least the nurse does) that these IgG tests are bogus and can provide a lot of "false positives" and are not reliable. My IgA level is still high after 6 months of the gluten free diet so I've been desperate in terms of finding out if I have additional food intolerances. But the more I read about the IgG tests, the more I wonder. Many doctors have said that patients who get false positives then avoid foods that they aren't even allergic to to begin with. The lab fees for the IgG tests alone were a whopping $4411! Fortunately, my insurance paid for most of it, but my mouth dropped when I saw the bill.

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Yeah, I've only read one article about IgG testing that seemed at all like it was clinically valid. In that case, people diagnosed with "IBS" showed improvement when they avoided their "3" foods.

I, btw, am doing better off dairy and peanuts. Weight is stable and as long as I really do avoid them, stomachaches are GONE. Avoidance is not perfect as I absentmindedly put milk in tea, or eat some trail mix with peanuts. The trail mix utterly mystified me as I was examining it for gluten until it occurred to me that it was probably actually the peanuts. *sigh*

Now, the problem with diet studies is that it is extremely difficult to avoid the placebo effect.

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