The most common food allergies are quite common in our diet: eggs, milk, wheat, peanut, soy and corn. Serious allergic reactions are not only seen with these common foods, but also with seafood, fish and tree nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, etc.). Often times there is an underlying inhalant allergy, such as dust mite, which primes the immune system to react.
Diagnosing food allergy begins with identifying a history of sensitivity to certain foods. Many people with food allergies will have chronic symptoms such as eczema, stomach upset, congestion and skin itching.
Once diagnosed with food allergies, treatment options range from avoiding the allergens, managing symptoms, to treating the root cause through immunotherapy. The only way to change underlying allergic disease is immunotherapy. Treating food allergies with sublingual immunotherapy begins at a much lower dosing level than the amount that triggers reactions at the microgram level. This small amount, placed under the tongue, is enough for the immune system to build allergic tolerance over time, yet is below the level that triggers a reaction. The effectiveness of sublingual immunotherapy depends on how often the drops are taken. When using the La Crosse Method™ Protocol for food allergies, we recommend one pump dose, three times a day — morning, afternoon, and night.
The goal of sublingual immunotherapy treatment for food allergy varies between patients. For those with mild to moderate allergies, it is possible to reintroduce allergic foods into the diet; while with those whose allergies are severe and life-threatening, the goal is to reduce the likelihood of an allergic reaction to an accidental exposure. When study results using more aggressive dose escalation are available, we may be able to set our sights higher. A cure for peanut and other severe food allergies is now within the realm of possibility in the next few years.