The Role of Hidden Food Allergy/Intolerance in Chronic Disease

Alan R. Gaby, M.D
Food allergy is well recognized in clinical medicine as a cause of acute attacks of asthma, angioedema and urticaria, and as a contributing factor in some cases of eczema and rhinitis.

These types of allergic reactions are considered to be mediated by IgE antibodies, and usually can be diagnosed by medical history and skin-prick or IgE-radioallergosorbent (RAST) tests.

Another type of food reaction, often referred to as “hidden” or “masked” food allergy,has been the subject of controversy for many years. Some practitioners have observed that hidden food allergies are a common cause of (or triggering factor for) a wide range of physical and emotional disorders. According to one estimate, as many as 60 percent of the population suffers from undetected food allergies.

A wide range of symptoms and disorders are reported to have a significant allergy component. See Table 1. On the other hand, many conventional physicians doubt hidden food allergy is a common problem, and some even deny altogether its existence as a clinical entity.

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