Alternative-Doctor Allergy and Overload Pages
FOOD ALLERGY PLAN "The best book of its kind!" Dr.
Theron Randolph, founder of Clinical Ecology
Dr. Damien Downing, who first introduced this method into the UK, claims that it has an 80 per cent accuracy. There are many critics however, even among clinical ecologists, who do not take these claims seriously and who point to many well-conducted trials which show that the method is virtually useless. Cytotoxic testing appeared to suffer a mortal blow to its credibility when, for a stunt, journalists sent blood from the same person on the same day and received two widely different reports on the "patient’s" sensitivities.
The difficulty with the test, in common with many other methods, is that it rests in the final analysis on human interpretation rather than objective measurement. This isn’t so bad as long as each laboratory is at least consistent with its own standards. But it may, on occasion, lead to patchy quality in results, which can be very misleading for the patient.
Dr Downing comments on the reproducibility of the test: ‘If the same blood is examined in two separate preparations simultaneously, or in the same preparation by two technicians, or the same blood is examined at 24-hour intervals under controlled conditions, with any single increase in the degrees of freedom, one generally finds that between one in five and one in six of the test results cross the border form one to another of the four possible results. This is presumably a reflection of the technicians’ human limitations. Greater degrees of variability are rare, at around one per cent. That is to say that a technician can manage to, get the result accurate to within one degree of reaction 99 per cent of the time!’
This sounds almost too good to be true, until you remember that in this case each ‘one degree’ of reaction represents 20 per cent of the whole; that means results could be in error by 39% of effect and yet still appear as only "one degree" apart!
Modern test systems, such as the ALCAT or Nutron test claim to get round this element of observer error by using mechanized counting.
Probably the main drawback of the cytotoxic test method is that it needs intelligent and knowledgeable back-up by a competent doctor. Otherwise the patient is left avoiding certain foods indefinitely, with no clear place in mind, struggling to keep up an adequate diet n a selection of things to eat that may be pitifully limited.
Unfortunately, this after-care is not always readily obtainable and the laboratories themselves often duck the issue.
Eating a portion of food to see if it causes a reaction, or breathing it, is called a challenge test. It is tempting to suppose that these are surely the benchmark of all tests. Why bother with blood tests or skin reactions when you can just use the suck-it-and-see approach? The answer is that a food challenge test is not a very reliable method of testing at all. A person may eat a food one day and feel quite ill, yet on another occasion be able to eat a substantial portion, without any apparent ill effects. Which result would you take as "correct" if this happened on two different test days? Repeating the test many times might increase the accuracy. But this becomes unwieldy; mathematicians will tell us that the patient will need to repeat the test over a hundred times, for the result to become statistically significant! This is onerous indeed, especially bearing in mind the resulting symptoms can take days or even weeks to clear.
You need to read and understand the allergy mechanism called masking, if you have not already grasped this:
The hidden or masked allergy trap is what held back important discoveries in this field until the mid-twentieth century. It is vital to ‘unmask’ an allergy before attempting to do this test, otherwise the results are meaningless. As founding pioneers Randolph, Rinkel and Zeller stated in their book Food Allergy (Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, 1951): ‘Actually, the most discerning patient is rarely ever able to detect the presence of a masked food allergy. In fact, the most skilled allergist cannot do so either until he tests for it. Masking may be 100 per cent perfect, even with an individual food test, if steps have not been taken to avoid it’.
To unmask a food you are at present eating you must avoid it for at least four days and preferable five before testing – longer if you suffer from constipation.
Then proceed as follows
Note: If you experience unpleasant reactions while challenge testing foods you can clear them more rapidly by taking Epsom salts and sodium and potassium bicarbonate mix (see alkali salts therapy).
Be aware of the fact that it you stay off a food too long, even as little as a few weeks, the reaction could die down and you might miss it.
Finally, some patients report a ‘build-up’ effect with foods, that is, it may be safe to eat once or even for a whole day, but if eaten more often than this a reaction appears. Stay alert to this possibility. If you feel ill after introducing several new foods and can’t say for sure which was the culprit, this may be the reason. You may need to eliminate all these foods and repeat the tests, taking your challenge foods over several days, just to be sure.
Foods that cause a build-up effect may be retained in your diet but you must make a point of rotating them carefully so that you don’t eat any individual food more often than every four or five days (see rotation diets).
Testing for chemicals is not very different from the procedure recommended for foods. Proceed as follows :
Note : Take care, as this could be dangerous with some chemicals such as ammonia or carbon tetrachloride. For these and similar items it is sufficient to sit a few feet away from a dish or saucer holding about an ounce of the fluid or from a bottle of it with the top removed. As the substance evaporates and diffuses towards you, you will notice the smell first and then the symptom, if there is one.
Warning: always tell someone what you are doing and have him or her keep an eye on you. If you pass out during one of these tests you could be in real difficulties. Fortunately, this is rare; but it can happen.
Tell the other person if you are overcome to simply lay you horizontally, remove the offending substance and open all the doors and windows. If any amount of the substance has been spilled, you must be taken to a different room.
Discontinue all further tests if this happens. Seek help from a clinical ecologist.
This method of testing for allergies usually raises a few medical eyebrows. It has its origins partly in chiropractic and partly in acupuncture and was first described and developed by George Goodheart in the USA. As its name suggests it is primarily concerned with the dynamics of posture and movement . Although it has no proven scientific basis it does seen to be founded on a certain body wisdom. A simpler version for the layman, called Touch for Health, was developed by California practitioner John F. Thie.
Allergy testing is only a small aspect of this discipline. Applied kinesiology is based on the discovery that if the body is subjected to adverse influences, certain muscles go weak. This can be demonstrated with a high degree of consistency, even if performed double blind – that is with neither the practitioner nor the patient being aware of what is being tested. No-one pretends to know the physiological basis of this effect, simply that it can be shown to exist.
The explanation lies in the field of energy medicine and I have dealt with it at some length in an earlier book (Virtual Medicine). A partial explanation is also found later in this section, under electro-acupuncture according to Voll (EAV).
The kinesiology practitioner gauges the strength of a group of muscles (techniques exist to improve the tone of weak muscles and generally ‘balance’ the body’s dynamic status before starting). Then, by putting a sample of food under the tongue and retesting, he or she is able to tell whether body. If the muscles weaken significantly, the food is deemed to be an allergen. Actually, those who practice this method say it is only necessary for the patient to hold a bottle or a sample of the substance being tested – the muscles will still go weak, which means non-food substances can be tested also.
AK, as it is expediently known, probably isn’t as accurate as the more ‘scientific’ methods, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t successful most of the time. Remember it isn’t necessary to identify absolutely every allergy to make someone well. Even if it was only 60 to 70 per cent accurate (and it is probably much better than that when carried out by a skilled practitioner) it is still the most cost-effective testing method of all.
My main criticism, having dealt with innumerable patients who have been first to a kinesiologist and had a failed or only partial result, is that the majority of AK practitioners are naïve in being unaware that their own body reacts too. So many of these people diagnose "wheat allergy" or "Candida" on virtually everyone who enters their office and never question why. Like all "dowsing" techniques, it’s a case of find what you want to find, unless you take vigorous steps to try and prevent this auto-diagnosis.
Even stranger than applied kinesiology is the auriculo-cardiac-reflex method, developed by French neurosurgeon Paul Nogier and taught widely by Dr Julian Kenyon of the Centre for the Study of Complementary Medicine in Southampton, UK.
It is based on the fact that stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system causes the rate of maximum pulse amplitude to shift along the artery. Note: this has nothing to do with pulse rate, which does not necessarily alter.
The test is calibrated as follows: the practitioner rests his or her thumb over the radial artery at the wrist so that the impulse is just out of reach beyond the tip of his or her thumb. A bright light is then shone onto a sympathetically enervated portion of skin, either the earlobe or the back of the hand. This causes the point of maximum amplitude of the pulse to move till it comes directly under the practitioner’s thumb.
Done properly, it is like feeling nothing until the light shines, at which point the pulse suddenly starts to bump under the counting thumb. This response to light is called a positive reflex.
Testing foods and other allergens is then simply a matter of holding a filter containing each substance over the skin of the forearm. A positive auriculo-cardiac reflex lasting a dozen or more pulse-beats is a sign of an allergy. If it lasts 20 or more beats, that is a severe allergy.
With set of filters covering common foods and other allergens, it is possible to test quickly a wide range of substances. Once again, the patient must simply avoid the food but, since only the most pronounced allergens show up, it doesn’t usually lead to a long list of banned substances.
As with the applied kinesiology method, the ACR technique is a fast and cost-effective means of allergy testing, sacrificing high accuracy for expediency but a very useful method, nonetheless, particularly with children.
In Germany in 1952, researcher Reinhold Voll came up with the first device for measuring the electrical resistance of acupuncture points. His system involved over 700 readings on the body, a process that was demanding for both patient and doctor. A simplified procedure has now generally been adopted and is known eponymously as "electro-acupuncture according to Voll" or EAV for short.
Many electro-acupuncture techniques have been developed since. One of these is the Vega machine, developed by Schimmel and now increasingly in use world-wide. Research into so-called bio-energetic regulatory systems (BER for short) continues apace and BER is rapidly developing into one of the most exciting advances in medical skills.
The basic Voll machine (known in the US as the Dermatron) is a wheatstone bridge, meaning it checks comparative resistances. The patient holds one electrode in his or her hand while the practitioner uses the other electrode as a probe to touch one of several convenient acupuncture points, usually on the foot. The electrical response results in a read (a swing of the needle, signal if desired). The circuit includes a metallic honeycomb into which phials of different solutions are placed for testing.
The machine is first calibrated by putting poison, such as a phial of paraquat, into the honeycomb. This produces a ‘disorder read’ (a drop in register); the pathogenic potential of any test substance that gives the same read as paraquat should then be obvious.
The Voll method is said to be useful in detecting many conditions including stressed organs, early cancer, imbalances and even too much electro-magnetic radiation from living close to high-tension electric cables. Cross-filtering of test phials may enable the ‘stressed’ organ to be identified and a nidus of infection early tumour, etc. – shown as the cause. The machine’s therapeutic potential lies in the fact that a medicine can be tested to see if it eliminates the disorder read before being administered to the patient, inferring it ought to be effective. This development is called remedy testing. The possibilities are fascinating and I described the whole development in great detail in my book Virtual Medicine, Thorsons, London, 1999 ISBN: 0-7225-3823-5).
From the point of view of this text, the important capability of the Voll method is that it can be used for allergy testing. Obviously, if milk, pork, egg and tomato give the same reading as paraquat, the patient should not eat them! To understand more about the science behind this kind of testing, read the section on Jacques Benveniste’s work, if you have not already done so.
Such testing can be swift and effective and consequently cheaper than more formal techniques. This means testing is made more accessible to those of limited financial means. Accuracy may not be as high as with some methods, but it is easy to re-check and missed allergens may turn up on subsequent testing. It is even possible to use a Voll machine to evolve ‘neutralizing drops’, as with Miller’s method above. The correct neutralizing dose will be the one that eliminates the disorder read.
The main drawback is that the machine can prove
difficult to use; some people have the ability, others haven’t.
Users of the machine emphasize that practice will eventually enable
the majority of would-be practitioners to master it. Here we enter
the world of mysterious ‘energies’ and even accomplished
practitioners find they cannot perform when tired or stressed.
The EAV technique led to an interesting new development: the subject of phenols in foods. This is a true allergic reaction; thus intradermal testing with chlorogenic acid, a phenol found in green coffee, castor bean and orange, gives a wheal and flare reaction in sensitized individuals that is characteristic Type I hypersensitivity.
There are many such compounds found in food, based on the phenol (carbolic acid) molecule. The table below lists several common foods and the phenols contained therein.
Caffeine is an example and is, of course, a poison. In fact most phenolic substances are toxic. How are we able to tolerate them? The answer is, evidently, some people don't!
Phenolic compounds are the source of color and flavor in foods. Their toxicity may protect the natural plants against micro-organisms. They also help in the dispersal and germination of seeds and attract flower pollinators because of their scent.
Some individual phenolic compounds have been correlated with specific disorders. Tyramine and nicotine, for example, are implicated in migraine and headaches. A little experience with phenol 'families' leads to new diagnostic skills in allergy. For example, a patient sensitive to cheese, beef, banana and potato might really be sensitive to nicotine.
Individual phenols can be tested and neutralized using Miller's method (sublingual only, we don’t inject phenols!). Obviously it makes more sense to neutralize the phenol than a whole series of foods, if that is the real problem. Avoidance is another option, where range of related foods is not extensive.
Note: Many substances
are now included in phenolic testing that are not really
phenol-based, but the term 'phenolic' persists as an overall generic
name for the test procedure.
History and background
In 1979, Dr. Robert Gardner, Ph. D., professor of Animal Science at Brigham Young University, began to speculate that his own allergies might be caused by a sensitivity to some aromatic compounds found naturally in all plant foods and pollens. He acquired some of these pure compounds, made serial dilutions and started sublingual tests monitoring changes in his own pulse rate.
He experienced reactions to various extracts and neutralizing doses were found for each compound. Gardner found that neutralizing doses of these compounds would kill his allergic reactions to specific foods. After several months he had succeeded in neutralizing many of his own dietary allergies and he was able to eat most foods without reactions. He experienced a major improvement in his health.
Foods may contain many different phenols, for instance cow's milk contains 13, tomato 14, cheese and soya 9. Some phenolics are very common: rutin and quercetin are found in almost 100 everyday foods. If you're allergic to cinnamic acid, a common cause of eczema and itching skin, there will 40 common foods that you will react to. You can see that if you were allergic to 2 or 3 phenolics, you could be allergic to dozens of foods!
Practitioners claim that neutralizing treatment has been particularly successful with infants and children, giving excellent results in cases of autism, mental retardation, hyperactivity (hyperkinetic syndrome), dyslexia, insomnia, enuresis, respiratory allergies, headaches, abdominal pains and asthma.
In adults, remissions have been achieved in many chronic problems including migraine, fatigue, depression, asthma, arthritis, colitis, hypertension, menstrual disorders, dermatological problems, chronic constipation and cardiac arrhythmias.
Those who use the phenolic approach rely diagnostically on an EAV set-up. It is quick, non-invasive and consequently cheap for the individual. It is possible to test over 20 items in a matter of minutes.
The standard 1:5 dilutions of test reagent are used, exactly as for Miller's method. Neutralizing dilutions tend to run high, up to and exceeding the fortieth dilution (which is virtually unheard of in intradermal testing). In fact it is now advocated that 1:5 series is used only up to about the tenth dilution and a 1:10 from there on, to speed up matters. Children are mostly found to neutralize on lower dilutions, usually between one and twenty.
Patients return on a monthly basis and receive a 10 cc dropper bottle containing their neutralizing doses and are instructed to take two drops sublingually, three times a day after meals, Upon return the patient is retested and a new neutralizing dilution is administered, which is a almost always lower than the previous one. The aim is to get down to a 'No. 1' dilution (highest concentration), meaning the patient has become tolerant to that particular phenolic.
The patient is then instructed to take one dose three times a week in order to prevent a recurrence of the original symptoms.
RAST test note
Interestingly, perhaps remarkably, the benchmark conventional RAST test supports the phenolic hypothesis. Cross-reactions on this test sometimes seem to occur between allergens, not of the same botanical family, but of a common phenol group.
Finally, there is the possibility that phenolics may protect us in some way. Many foods contain lectins, which should have a severely damaging effect on our gut and indeed the body as a whole – we ought to suffer more than, in practice, we do. Perhaps phenolics are shielding us from lectins? At least one phenolic - rutin (quercitin) - inhibits manufacture and release of histamine and other allergic inflammatory mediators by mast cells and basophils, which is how a true allergic reaction is powered. The drug sodium cromoglycate is used specifically to block mast cell rupture and release of histamine; it is quite similar to quercetin in chemical structure. Maybe these phenols work like drugs, too!
See also plant toxins section.
Lactose Intolerance Testing
Three methods may be used, singly or in conjunction:
These tests can be performed on an outpatient basis at a hospital, clinic, or doctor's office.
The lactose tolerance test is easy to comprehend. The patients fasts overnight and next day reports to the clinic. He or she if given a drink with a loading dose of lactose. Subsequent blood samples are taken, to see how much glucose appears in the blood. The function of lactase, the enzyme, is to digest lactose and this creates glucose (and galactose, which is then turned into more glucose). If little or no glucose appears in the blood, lactose is not being broken down. Lactose intolerance is thus a lactase deficiency.
The hydrogen breath test measures the amount of hydrogen in the breath. Normally, very little hydrogen is detectable in exhaled air. However, undigested lactose in the colon is fermented by bacteria, and various gases, including hydrogen, are produced, which travels to the lungs and is exhaled. Raised hydrogen in the breath after administration of a lactose loading dose is thus confirmatory of both lactose intolerance and intestinal bacterial activity. The latter may indicate excessive bacterial overgrowth and dysbiosis, which is a separate issue.
The stool acidity test relies on the fact that undigested lactose fermented by bacteria in the colon creates lactic acid and other short-chain fatty acids that can be detected in a stool sample. It offers little additional information to the breath test.
Testing Detox Capability
How your body deals with chemical overload is really a function of the cytochrome p-450 pathway and its enzymes. It would be good to know just how well this system performs in keeping you free of unwanted chemicals and their metabolites.
Unfortunately, there is no simple way of directly measuring enzyme function. But specialists in the environmental medicine field have been working on the problem and it is now possible to have your detox function estimated by how well it eliminates three challenge chemicals: caffeine, acetaminophen, and salicylate. Before and after saliva specimens are used to check clearance of the challenge substances and an overnight urine sample is tested for the major metabolites of the detoxification process involved and for evidence of lipid peroxidation. These functional assessments provide a comprehensive profile of the body's detoxification capacity and potential susceptibility to oxidative damage.
A second method is to see what is the total toxic chemical burden your body is carrying. Researchers have been testing this for years. The CDC and EPA have carried out a number of surveys of randomly-chosen individuals. Matters hotted up when in February 2003 two studies were published more or less simultaneously showing we all sequester many chemicals in our tissues. A $200,000 two-year ''Body Burden'' study by the Environmental Working Group and New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital tested 9 individuals for a total of 210 chemicals in their bodies. This was a very small sample but in just nine people 167 different industrial and agricultural chemicals were found, including heavy metals, phosphate and chlorine compounds from insecticides, dioxins and PCBs. What was significant was that individuals dedicated to a holistic and organic chemical-free lifestyle were nevertheless found to have over a hundred xenobiotic substances in their bodies, some of them dangerous. As one of the subjects remarked "We all live in the same chemical neighbourhood".
A study by the Center for Disease Control, published the same week, looked at a larger and more representative sample of 5,000 random Americans, testing for 116 chemicals. The same gloomy picture emerged. It certainly proves what I have been saying, which is that Nature cannot detoxify some of these alien substances. Our livers and endoplasmic reticulum simply don’t know how to.
The good news is that this sort of body load estimation is now available commercially; you can find out for yourself what your profile is (see list of addresses in the appendix).
Remember also your gut can be a major source of toxic chemical overload. All blood collected from the intestinal bed goes via the portal vein to the liver. Toxins may include food residues, but also food contaminants, such as pesticides and additives, and reactive oxygen species (damaging free radicals) freed in the process of digestion. All of which puts great strain on the liver’s detox pathways. A leaking gut, which permits a surge of excess toxic matter to reach the liver, seriously increases overload.
If you do not know the leaky gut model, go here.
Claude Andre, the leading French researcher into leaky gut syndrome, has established a simple and sensitive screening test, using measurement of the body’s response to two innocuous sugar molecules: mannitol and lactulose.
Patients with food allergy and suspected leaky gut are fasted and then ingest 5 grams each of mannitol and lactulose. Mannitol, a monosaccharide (small), is passively transported through the intestinal wall and is expected to be present in the blood; around 15% of the dose appears in the urine (range 5-25%). Lactulose on the other hand, a disaccharide (bigger) is not normally absorbed; less than 1% of the administered dose appears in the urine.
An abnormal result occurs when lactulose appears in significant amounts (over 3% is definitely positive), which means that the gut is allowing through bigger molecules than normal. In fact it is the ratio of lactulose/mannitol which is reported. Normally it should be <0.03. But also if the mannitol decreases this test also infers that malabsorption is taking place. This is a common accompaniment of food allergy and further compromises the nutritional status of a patient who may already be borderline.
If food allergy is suspected as the cause of either leaky gut or malabsorption, the test is repeated after a defining meal.
You may encounter dowsing for allergies. You can tell easily: usually you are asked to supply a lock of hair or some other sample for "testing", through the post. This should not be confused with hair analysis for minerals, carried out by reputable laboratories using a mass spectrograph. which is valid scientifically, though there are probably exaggerated claims. For one thing, these laboratory tests cannot give any information about allergies or even vitamin status from a hair sample. Dowsers claim they can do this.
There is no scientific footing whatever for dowsing, though that is very far from saying it doesn't work. I myself was taught to dowse by one of the all-time greatest dowsers. Austrian lady, Käthe Bachler, no less! The usual method is to use a pendulum.
There is no objection to this sort of thing, provided the practitioner makes it clear that he or she uses dowsing as a diagnostic tool (which isn’t usually the case). The cost is generally moderate (about £20). Dowsing centers may attract undue criticism if they call themselves clinics or if the dowsers themselves claim to be medical specialists.
My caution is that this service is being offered by someone with no medical training, who has no access to proper testing methods and should not therefore be setting themselves up to give advice. Most dowsers, whatever they claim to the contrary, are giving opinions under the guise of dowsing. Many are "detecting" their own allergic problem, without realizing it or perhaps without admitting it. So beware!
On the plus side, I have carried out Miller's method and other tests by someone dowsed by Käthe Bachler and other good dowsers and found a remarkable concordance.
Dowsing for geopathic stress is covered under that section.
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