Some gastroenterologists and other physicians rightfully question whether food allergies cause IBS symptoms. Clarification is needed. The Gastroenterology literature clearly states that food allergies do not play a role in IBS, but this literature is referring to food allergies where antibodies play a role (“type 1, 2, and 3″ allergies) because this is the only type of testing that had ever before been used to look for food allergies in IBS. Common examples are peanut and shellfish allergies–which are detected by RAST blood tests and skin prick and scratch testing.
The Gastroenterology literature is not referring to “type 4″ allergies (poison ivy is a common example; involves white bloods cells called lymphocytes; antibodies are not involved) that we are talking about because type 4 allergies had not been investigated for IBS before our discovery. It is important to emphasize that the type of food allergies that we have found to cause IBS symptoms are these type 4 allergies that are detected by skin patch testing, which is completely different than the skin prick and scratch testing and other testing looking for type 1, 2, and 3 allergies. It is likely that the same type of inflammation on the skin that arises under the patch tests also occurs in the lining of the intestine when foods pass through. Recent evidence suggests inflammation in the lining of the intestine is involved in causing IBS symptoms. So there finally appears to be a reason 50% of people with IBS report that foods aggravate their symptoms.
In our original study, testing to 40 type 4 food allergens, we helped 27% of the 51 people we tested (3 slight improvement, 8 moderate improvement, 3 great improvement). Now, by performing patch tests to 120 type 4 food allergens, we are helping approximately 50% of people we test–relieving symptoms to some degree in 30% and relieving them completely in 20%. Again (!), type 4 allergies are completely different than type 1, 2 and 3 allergies. You can’t identify a type 4 allergy using a type 1, 2 or 3 allergy test. We continue to collect data and will be formally reporting our results within the year.
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