Monday, January 23, 2012

Q&A: Red Cheeks and Testing for Food Intolerances

This was a question from a parent left on my post: Allergic Red Cheeks.

Q: Our son has exactly these red cheeks!

We are currently avoiding all foods that came up as "moderate" or "avoid" on an ELISA blood test but after two weeks his cheeks still flare up about every other day. The duration of the flare ups may be shorter but every time they flare I question if we are missing something or if the test was wrong.

Once you identified and eliminated the foods your son was reacting to did he still have flare ups? Or once you removed the offending foods the flare ups stopped immediately?

A: The test we did was the ALCAT test. The ALCAT is a test that takes 10-150 foods and mixes each one with food then looks at the white blood cells for inflammation. You can see my post on ALCAT here or go to the Alcat site for clinical info here. Foods are then broken down by categories. So foods that end up in the red group you are severely intolerant of--in the test they cause the most inflammation. Foods in the orange category you are moderately intolerant of. Then there are yellow foods that you mildly intolerant of. The green foods are foods that show no inflammation.

It is my understanding that there are many types of allergies and intolerances. IgE is one type of antibody that is tested for--the fast acting type of allergy where you need an Epipen. This is the type of testing that is done at an allergists office. The ELISA test tests IgG levels--another immune reaction. But there are other types of antibodies (IgM, IgA, IgD) as well as ones we don't know about.

We had the best results from the ALCAT because it measures downstream reaction. So any antibody reaction that would produce inflammation might show up on the test. The test does not tell you which antibody is causing the reaction. Just how intense the reaction was. Because red cheeks are clearly an inflamed response, this test happened to help us accurately pinpoint the cause of our son's red cheeks.

But, we were also gluten free, dairy free and soy free on top of the results we got back from the test as we knew that those were things to avoid.

We saw good results consistently for 6 months by following the ALCAT test results. As soon as we removed the red (severely intolerant) foods and orange (moderately intolerant) foods and were careful of the yellow (mildly intolerant foods) the red cheeks vanished. But we were careful to follow a rotation diet so that he didn't eat the same foods every day. Using a rotation diet and the results from the test, for 6 months his cheeks would be clear. After about 6 months he would become allergic to new foods and the red cheeks would come back. At that point the test was not valid any longer and the results had changed.

After 2 years of using the ALCAT test, we found a nutritionist, Geri Brewster, and did the biofilm protocol, which healed his gut. After the biofilm protocol, my son stopped reacting to foods, his allergies disappeared and he no longer needed the ALCAT test. Although mainstream doctors dismiss "leaky gut" as a problem, it seems that when we healed his gut, he no longer had allergies.

But before we were able to do the biofilm protocol we did the ALCAT every six months when the allergies returned.

I am not sure if your son is becoming intolerant of new foods in two weeks or if there are things he is sensitive to that the ELISA test is missing. My email is on the right if you have more questions or if you would like further help. Good luck with your search for answers.