Is Your Food The Cause Of Your Health Concern ?

The following is a reproduction of a Millennium Health Centre editorial article which appeared in the Seaway News newspaper in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. The content is shortened to accommodate a newspaper space allotment. As such, it is not academically cited with references. These are available, so please feel free to email your questions.


Dr. Stephen F. Jones B.Comm., N.D.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Recently I had the pleasure of treating a beautiful 14 month old girl. Her mother brought her to my clinic after consulting with other doctors to address a severe case of eczema (a skin condition). A blood allergy test was conducted at the request of her mother to determine if she had any food allergies, as her symptoms had started with the introduction of foods other than breast milk. Her mother also sought a second opinion from a pediatric allergist in Ottawa. Cutting a detailed story short, she was determined (through the tests at my clinic and the allergist in Ottawa) to be particularly allergic to dairy foods (milk, cheese and yogurt), which she was consuming a lot of on a daily basis. These foods were subsequently removed from her diet and to the delight of her mother (and the little girl) her eczema entirely disappeared without (unnecessary) medication.

Now, while many find discussions of food allergies hard to accept, they really should not as extensive medical research has pointed the finger at food allergies as being the cause of a great many health conditions for a long time. Consider the following examples if you will.

In one study of migraine suffers, a total recovery rate of 93 % was achieved by simply placing patients on a 'hypo-allergenic' (low allergy) diet (Lancet, 1983). When the offending foods were then re-introduced more than 85 % of the patients had their headaches return.

In a study of irritable bowel syndrome patients some 48 % were symptom free after only three weeks on the diet, with no other interventions (Gut, 1989). Another study of active Crohn's disease patients was able to show that 84 % of the patients went into remission (their symptoms disappeared) after only 14 days on a hypo-allergenic diet (Lancet, 1993).

Avoiding more tedious medical journal review, suffice it to say that similar 'proof' of the role of food allergies can be provided for asthma, arthritis, ear infections, sinus problems, attention deficit disorders, bladder infections, bedwetting and, well, the list goes on.

So, how do your know if you have food allergies ? Well, 'skin prick' testing (the standard 'allergy' testing) only tests for one type of allergy response (called "Type 1" reactions). These are not commonly involved in food allergies (which are more often "Type 3" reactions) and, as a result, the 'skin prick' test often misses underlying food allergies. The answer, therefore, is to either have blood tests (for "Type 3" allergies to foods) or have a doctor provide a properly structured 'elimination (hypoallergenic) diet' to determine what foods may be aggravating your condition. 'Alternative' testing such as "Vega" or "electro-dermal" testing (where you hold a magnet in one hand and small vials in the other hand) do not test for true food allergies. These tests were reviewed in the January, 2001 British Medical Journal and shown to not only miss known allergies (previously diagnosed with standard allergy testing), but to consistently provide different results from test to test.

So, as your mother told you as a child, 'you are what you eat'. Consider this point if you suffer from an on-going health concern. Best of luck and health to you.

If you have any questions about this article, or topics you wish to see future articles address, please call or write the Seaway News or email Dr. Jones at