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 Naturopathic Medicine: Take Control of Your Health  
Lauri Aesoph M. ND ©

Food Allergies
ELISA isn't the name of a girl; it's an acronym for enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, a food allergy test. For as low as $40.00, this simple blood test will tell you what foods are causing allergic symptoms.

There are two types of food allergies. The fixed or immediate kind produce hives, stuffy nose or even life-threatening anaphylaxis usually within hours or even minutes after eating an allergic food. Common offending foods include shellfish, strawberries, peanuts, nuts and others. Conventional (and alternative) allergists readily accept fixed food allergies, a diagnosis easily confirmed through not only symptoms but a variety of lab tests including ELISA.

Delayed, cyclic, masked or hidden food allergies are more controversial. Symptoms run the gamut from headache, bedwetting and mental confusion to ear infections, asthma and joint pain (3). No body system is exempt from adverse food reactions. Again, ELISA is an appropriate test for this form of food allergies.

There are several kinds of ELISA allergy tests on the market. Make sure the one you choose detects increases in both immunoglobulin E (IgE) and immunoglobulin G (IgG)--the antibodies that increase in response to fixed and delayed food allergies respectively. Results should be available to you with two to five working days.

Lab results are just one piece of evidence used by a doctor to diagnose health conditions. Physical exam and detailed questions are also vital. Remember too that lab tests aren't perfect: sometimes they miss a problem, other times they falsely say you're sick.

If you think the above laboratory tests will help you, take this information to your doctor for consideration. All of these tests should be instigated under your physician's supervision. For free brochures on these and other laboratory tests, call:

Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratories

Meridian Valley Clinical Laboratory

SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc 800-227-5227

Every year laboratories develop new tests to help your doctor prevent and treat illness. Here are some other tests you might ask about.

This yeast can be measured in the gastrointestinal tract, vagina, throat or other suspected infected areas. Candida infection symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, mental confusion and others.

DHEA levels
Low levels of the adrenal hormone dehydroepiandrosterone has been linked to various ailments including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. If levels are low, your doctor can prescribe DHEA medication.

Hair Analysis
Laboratories can assess heavy metal exposure (lead, cadmium, for example) from a lock of hair. Lead toxicity in children causes mental confusion.

Glucose-Insulin Tolerance Test
This test is used to assess suspected refined carbohydrate intolerance, or what many refer to as hypoglycemia. If you have essential hypertension, ask your doctor about performing this test. High blood pressure is associated with defects in insulin, glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in some people.

Sex Hormone Profile
This urine test measures various sex hormones including DHEA, testosterone and progesterone. It also calibrates estrone, estriol and estradiol (the three different estrogens) ratios, one way to judge breast cancer risk.

  1. Niewoehner CG et al. Role of zinc supplementation in type II diabetes mellitus. The American Journal of Medicine 1986;81:63-68.
  2. Riemersma RA et al. Risk of angina pectoris and plasma concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E and carotene. The Lancet 1991;337:1-5.
  3. Pizzorno J & M Murray. A Textbook of Natural Medicine®. Seattle: Bastyr College Publications, 1985.

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