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Mythbusting Monday: Dr. Oz’s “Hidden Food Allergies” May Not Be Allergies at All

TV is a great vehicle for information about medical conditions and new treatments. But it’s equally adept at spreading misinformation, as was the case with a recent Dr. Oz segment which initially caught our eye because it dealt with “hidden food allergies”. Great topic, but the show was a bit misleading.

Dr. Oz’s guest, Dr. Mark Hyman, laid out his theory that people can have mild “allergies” to common foods. He described how some of these foods can cause chronic fatigue, anxiousness, bloating, weight gain and “brain fog,” among other symptoms.  These are diffuse, complex and varied symptoms, and we find it very misleading to label these with the broad stroke of “allergy”. Dr. Hyman’s recommendation to administer a restrictive “elimination diet” to identify personal allergies and reduce symptoms may have mislead many viewers.

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The biggest area of concern with this particular segment is the loose characterization of what allergy is.  Allergy is a specific malfunctioning of a patient’s immune system that results in the over-production of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies when exposed to a specific food or environmental trigger.  Many of the symptoms discussed during the segment could just as

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December 30 / 2013
Author Wendy Harman
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National Eggnog Day

Are you planning on celebrating National Eggnog Day this December 24th? Makers of eggnog certainly hope so.  We wonder how many of you are forced to merely stare longingly at that punch bowl instead, unable to dip into that frothy mixture because of an egg or milk allergy.  Our guess is millions.

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Egg and dairy allergies are indeed common, but how much do you know about your allergy? There are now allergen component tests available to help identify which proteins of the egg or milk you may be sensitized to.  This is important because different proteins in the egg and milk can cause different types of allergic reactions. When heated, some proteins become denatured (fall apart), reducing the risk of systemic allergic reaction. Component tests help your doctor assess if you are a good candidate for an Oral Food Challenge.  It is always important to be cautious about your food allergies, but with component testing, you can feel more confident about how you manage them.

Tis the season for eggnog, but it’s merely one of many foods that remind us that we often abstain from treats or alter our lives without first

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December 24 / 2013
Author Wendy Harman
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Revisiting Your Peanut Allergy Risk during Peanut Butter Lover’s Month

In the U.S, November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, which commemorates Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s patent filing for the “Process of Preparing Nut Meal” from peanuts on November 4, 1895. Because many of our readers are peanut allergic, we decided to forgo celebratory peanut butter sandwiches and instead take a look at some of the science behind peanut allergy. Read on to learn more!

Most people who have a peanut allergy aren’t sensitized to the entire legume, but rather one of its proteins. The allergenic proteins in a peanut are named after the Latin name of the peanut, Arachis hypogea.  Five peanut proteins, related to a range of allergic symptoms, have been isolated and characterized and they were named in order of their discovery: Ara h 1, Ara h 2, Ara h 3, Ara h 8 and Ara h 9. While each one of these components can cause an allergic reaction, the types of reactions and symptoms may vary.  Sensitization to some protein components may cause localized reactions, such as itching and tingling of the lips, mouth and throat, while others may cause very dangerous systemic reactions including anaphylaxis. The diagram below identifies how each of the different

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November 21 / 2013
Author Wendy Harman
Category Food Allergies
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There’s More to Know About Peanut Testing

The ImmunoCAP® Peanut Component tests are a breakthrough in peanut allergy diagnostics. Below, the mother of a patient shares the story of her son who was diagnosed with multiple food allergies as an infant. After a peanut allergy diagnosis, the family’s world was turned upside down. But recently, when starting kindergarten, his doctor recommended testing and, like 75% of all peanut sensitized individuals, the test results indicated he may not be clinically allergic. Please watch below, and see how his world has changed.

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November 12 / 2013
Author Wendy Harman
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Good Flu Vaccine News for People with Egg Allergy

Flu vaccines have traditionally been withheld from some patients with suspected egg allergy.  But this has changed somewhat, thanks to recent advances in vaccine research and production.

Among the new flu vaccines available this season is the recombinant influenza vaccine. Sold as FluBlok, it is the first widely available flu vaccine that’s not grown in eggs – instead, it’s grown in insect cells. Like traditional flu vaccines, FluBlok is a “trivalent” vaccine, meaning it protects against three flu virus strains: virus A strains H1N1 and H3N2, and one virus B strain. FluBlok is currently available for adults ages 18 to 49.

FluBlok isn’t

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November 07 / 2013
Author Dr. Rob Reinhardt
Category Food Allergies
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Can Local Honey Help Reduce Your Allergy Symptoms?

During the fall allergy season, we saw a lot online about whether eating local honey can help reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. The theory goes like this: local bees pick up pollen from regional plants while they’re out collecting nectar, and that pollen gets stuck in the honey they produce. When that honey is ingested by someone who has a seasonal allergy, the small amounts of pollen contained in it help “immunize” the person against

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November 05 / 2013
Author Wendy Harman
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