Wpg Free Press: Think you’re allergic? Not so fast
Patients’ lack of understanding about allergies and perceived food sensitivities has led them to avoid foods they don’t have to and could result in nutritional deficiencies, a new scientific review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says.
Winnipeg allergist Dr. Elissa Abrams and New York allergist Dr. Scott H. Sicherer of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Jaffe Food Institute, wrote their CMAJ article after examining recent Canadian, American and international guidelines — as well as 100 different scientific studies.
The article, published on Sept. 6, discourages Immunoglobulin G (IgG) testing offered by alternative practitioners such as naturopaths.
“Many guidelines, including Canadian guidelines, have said that this testing has no room in the diagnosis of food allergy or intolerance,” says Abrams, an immunologist with the University of Manitoba who specializes in pediatric allergies.
“If you’re looking specifically for food allergy, I think that the best guidance — or the optimal guidance —would come from somebody trained in allergies.”
IgG tests can cost hundreds of dollars. They aim to detect antibody responses to a wide range of foods. Most naturopathic practitioners who administer IgG tests classify antibody reactions as abnormal food sensitivities whereas allergists do not. Abrams says such tests lead to unnecessary avoidance of foods patients may not be allergic to.
“There is also a smaller risk that somebody who is IgE allergic, truly allergic, will have negative IgG testing and will reintroduce a food that they’re truly allergic to into their diet.”