Saturday, January 31, 2009

When Corn Free isn't enough

When you discover a corn allergy, it feels like a whole new world opens up. It also feels like one is closing.

Hopefully, once you get all sources of corn eradicated from your diet (and your laundry...and your bathroom...) you'll feel "normal" again. But some people have lingering issues, and they can't pin them to corn itself (although, they have verified without a doubt that corn is a significant issue and well worth the hassle of avoiding).

When this happens, they may feel hopeless or overwhelmed. Cutting corn from the diet is a huge undertaking, and to try and track down a new allergen on top of it is just overwhelming. Doctors don't always give a lot of guidance other than "Don't worry, it's not going to kill you." *Big grin. Pause for effect. Disappointment at lack of applause.*

So where else can you turn when your symptoms linger? Here are a few ideas:
  • First, talk to your doctor. Although they are often brushed off, sometimes abdominal discomfort, rashes, etc can be indications of a condition other than allergy/intolerance. Your doctor can help you determine whether you need some other treatment. If you get a clean bill of health, talk to an allergist. They can run a traditional RAST blood test and/or a Skin Prick Test.
  • If you've given up on Western medecine entirely, look for a good Chiropracter, naturopath or Holistic practitioner. Although not often covered by insurance, they look at the whole body, and recognize that even if they aren't life threatening; symptoms can be debillitating to your quality of life.
  • Ask about Gluten and Celiac Disease. Don't give it up entirely on a "trial run" without a full Celiac Panel (More to come) But it's something to look into.
  • Get IgG testing. If your doctor doesn't know where to order it, try Alletess, Optimum Health labs, or LEAP. There is a high "false positive" rate and IgG antibodies are not associated with anaphylaxis, so most doctors don't bother with them. But if you are symptomatic, it's worth using the results to guide an elimination diet.
  • Consider Enterolab testing. They run stool tests for antibodies to a small variety of common irritants (gluten, dairy, egg, yeast) although they do not diagnose Celiac disease. Opponents say their "positive" rate is too high, but their clintele consists solely of patients who already are high risk for celiac/gluten it isn't going to be a standard curve.
  • Do an elimination diet; and keep a food diary. The food diary is indispensible when playing food detective.
  • Consider related dietary protocols such as the Yeast Free Diet (there are several versions); the Feingold Diet; The Specific Carb Diet or the Paleo Diet. Each works for some individuals, and not for others. The best thing you can do for yourself is simply to educate yourself before trying what sounds best for YOU.

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