title:ADHD and Food Allergies
author:Anthony Kane, MD source url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/health/article 609.shtml date saved:2007-07-25 12:30:10 category:health article: Introduction There are a number of controversial areas in medicine when it comes to ADHD. Food allergy is certainly one of them. The classic allergic reaction, which is classified as the type-1 hypersensitivity reaction, can be elicited by food, but this is fairly uncommon.
When we discuss food sensitivities in ADHD we are discussing a different, not well-defined, mechanism. One of the main progenitors of the food allergy/ADHD connection is Dr. Doris Rapp. Dr. Rapp was a pediatric allergist who noticed that many children in her practice had significant physical and behavioral changes when exposed to certain foods.
They may have red ear lobes, dark circles under their eyes, or glazed eyes after eating certain foods. These children could have tremendous swings in behavior. They can be calm one minute and wildly hyperactive a few minutes later. To make it more interesting, children with food allergies usually crave the food that affects them negatively. That means a child who is allergic to peanuts will demand peanut butter and jelly for lunch everyday, and for the rest of the afternoon you have to peel him off of the ceiling. What is Food Allergy? The classic allergic reaction operates through a very specific mechanism. The reaction is caused when a specific type of antibody, called IgE, reacts with a specific provoking substance called an allergen. The result of this interaction is an allergic response and the person is deemed allergic to that allergen. The specific type of antibody involved in classic allergy is called IgE. The proposed antibody mechanism for this type of food allergy does not involve IgE, but a different antibody called IgG.
This is significant because standard allergy testing tests only for IgE antibodies. If your child has IgG mediated sensitivity, his allergy test is going to miss it. That means that your child may have a severe allergy to a specific food, but your allergist will tell you he is not allergic to it. Why the Controversy? Reason 1: Diagnosis I said this was a very controversial area of medicine and here is one of the reasons why. Food allergies are very difficult to diagnose. One reason is that the symptoms wax and wane. When a child has a classic allergy, for example to bee stings, then every time a bee stings him, he will have a reaction. Food allergies don’t work that way. There seems to be a threshold that must be exceeded before there are any symptoms. In addition, this threshold seems to vary from day to day.
On some days a food will affect the child, and on other days it won’t. Dr. Rapp explains this phenomenon using the analogy of a barrel. We can view each allergic child as if he has a barrel. As long as the barrel is empty or only partially full, your child will have no problems. Your child won’t become hyperactive until his barrel is overflowing. Various things will fill your child’s barrel. Let’s say your child is sensitive to chocolate, cats, and peanut butter. Each of these things all can partially fill his barrel. As long as he only has peanut butter or only plays with the cat, his barrel is only partially full.
That means that there are no symptoms and that his behavior is fine. Then, one day he has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, has chocolate ice cream for dessert and plays with the cat all afternoon. These things in combination make his barrel overflow, and by evening he is out of control. Your child has food allergies, but sometimes they affect him and sometimes they don’t. The barrel can change sizes. If your child has a cold or is upset his barrel gets smaller. It takes less to make it overflow. If he is happy his barrel is bigger. It takes more to make it overflow.
Food Safety Articles
Food Safety Books