CISRA’s Synergy Health Newsletter

Issue 8. Food Allergies/Sensitivities and the Pulse Test: Withdrawal Reaction Mechanisms, Overcoming Resistance, New Pulse Test Tips and Some Other Methods (2004)

by J. C. Waterhouse, Ph.D.

Overview. This article provides an update on food and chemical allergies/sensitivities/intolerances. A number of subjects that were not covered previously will be discussed, as well as some new techniques and strategies that I have found to be helpful in the last 2 years. For a more complete background, readers should refer to the article in Issue 5 overview on food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances and the pulse test, including the Cautions (Cautions reprinted below). In this current article, a brief scientific explanation of food allergy/sensitivity symptoms is provided, including the probable cause of food allergy withdrawal symptoms. This article also covers how to overcome a resistance to this approach by recognizing the role of food addiction and how one can view dietary change as a challenge and opportunity for greater health and empowerment that can accompany other treatment approaches. There is also more detail regarding some methods that may help those who have gotten rid of the worst allergens, but still may be able to go further to maximize the benefit they can achieve and for those who are near universal reactors. There will be tips on the pulse test, as well as mention of methods to use if one is unable to use the pulse test as an aid. It is also suggested that certain infectious causes may be behind extensive sensitivities in some patients. More information on these topics and more references have been provided in other articles in CISRA’s Synergy Health Newsletter. In this brief preview, these articles will simply be referred to by the issue of the newsletter in which they occur.

Introduction

Much of the practical knowledge I have gained in the last 3 years comes from what I have derived from my further exploration of the use of the pulse test for detection of allergies (the term “allergy” is used here in its loose sense to include non IgE mediated reactions, usually involving Type II, III and IV immune reactions). This method was originally described by Arthur Coca, M.D. and described in medical publications and a book, The Pulse Test: Easy Allergy Detection (published in 1959, by Lyle Stuart, New York) and used by doctors around the world. I think it interesting to note that Dr. Coca was a prominent immunologist of his day. He was the founder and first editor of the Journal of Immunology, was medical director for 17 years of Lederle Laboratories, a large pharmaceutical company, and taught at several medical schools, including Cornell and Columbia.

At the end of Dr. Coca’s book, he outlines the unfortunate state of affairs at that time with regard to the resistance to the role of allergies in a number of so-called incurable diseases and the subsequent medical censorship. For example, he describes how an eminent allergist, Warren T. Vaughan, reported in 1927 on how migraines were strongly connected to allergic reactions. In addition, in 1944, another distinguished allergist, Herbert J. Rinkel, reviewed the literature on migraine headaches and found that 87 percent of the papers “either actively supported the allergic concept or gave approval to its possible relationship.” Yet formal reviews of migraine in 1958 and 1959 did not even mention the possibility of allergies. Other areas in which medical censorship occurred were also discussed by Coca, such as in multiple sclerosis and how it was affected by allergy reduction. The resistance of many scientists to a large paradigm shift (such as one recognizing the role of allergies) is not uncommon (see Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions). Fortunately, some doctors and researchers continued this line of work and formed an organization that became the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (see Issue 5 and www.aaem.com).

In some illnesses, infectious agents may cause imbalance of the immune system and cause increased allergies/sensitivities (e.g., CWD bacteria, Candida, Mycoplasma, viruses, roundworm parasites, see Issue 7 article). In other cases, chemical exposures might be important factors. In the general population, the fact that our diets now differ so much from our ancestor’s diets means that many people are consuming foods and chemicals that they are less well adapted to eating (see article on Pre Fibromyalgia in Issue 4). That alone may cause a certain level of food allergy/sensitivity/intolerance among even fairly healthy people (thus perhaps contributing to the frequency of headaches, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, depression, anxiety, insomnia, rhinitis, arthritis and other ailments).

There are a number of probable reasons for resistance to the recognition of the importance of the allergy/sensitivity concept in many illnesses. Probably, the reason most doctor are resistant is that the leaders in their field are resistant, usually because they have not studied the field adequately. In addition, there may be a few poorly designed experiments that appear to disprove the importance of food reactions. From a more cynical perspective, one can also see that the success of allergy reduction approaches might remove the need for prescription medicines in certain illnesses. I do not take the view that this cynical perspective is a dominant factor for most physicians, but in any case, incorporating the approach of avoidance of food/chemical allergy/sensitivities would involve a lot of change in the practice of medicine, and most people are resistant to change.

On the other side, it must also be admitted that there are also difficulties in implementing allergy reduction due to the resistance of patients to dietary change and the fact that although allergy reduction may help many patients dramatically, for many others it is not sufficient. In the latter group of cases, such as autoimmune illnesses, some of the recent findings on the role of CWD bacteria and parasitic roundworms may hold some answers (see Issue 7 of this newsletter on the Marshall Protocol and the roundworm, C. pulmoni). Regardless of its limitations, many have found dramatic relief or improvement through the avoidance of symptom-provoking foods and chemicals (see Issue 5 for much more detail and background on the many non IgE mediated mechanisms behind the reactions).

Before Using the Pulse Test: Withdrawal Symptoms and Cautions

One of the barriers to dietary change to a less allergenic diet is the tendency for the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms. For some people, they have unconsciously created a situation where “masking” occurs. They believe that the foods they are eating are not causing a problem, because they have minimzed their apparent reactions by constantly consuming a particular allergen. If they stop the food for a day or two, they experience withdrawal symptoms and this is called “unmasking” the allergy. In this section, the nature of the withdrawal reactions, some coping suggestions, and two of the probable types of mechanisms for withdrawal reactions will be briefly discussed. Following this, some cautions will be included, describing those who should probably not do at-home allergy testing.

When a symptom-provoking food is stopped, many people go through a “withdrawal reaction,” analogous to what occurs when caffeine is abruptly stopped, after the body has adapted to its regular consumption. One may experience a variety of “withdrawal symptoms,” which may include headaches, fatigue, depression, cravings, diarrhea or constipation. These reactions generally only last 2-7 days, but can occasionally last up to 2 weeks. If one finds the withdrawal symptoms too difficult, one might gradually reduce the allergen, just as one might gradually reduce coffee in order to reduce the withdrawal reaction. (Many books cover these topics. Two examples are: An Alternative Approach to Allergies, by T.G. Randolph, M.D., and R.W. Moss, Ph.D., and The E.I. Syndrome, by S. A. Rogers, M.D., see Reference section in Issue 5).

I usually have at least one poor night of sleep 2-5 days after I stop eating an allergen (during the worst times, a very small dose of Klonopin or Ambien, often only ¼ of a tablet, has been very helpful for sleep–but use caution as these prescription drugs can be habit forming, and must be reduced gradually once regular use has begun). During the food allergy withdrawal period, I also tend to go through a period of 1-3 days, in which the less allergenic food I am eating will not be appealing to me, and I will feel hungry much of the time, even just after eating. If this happens to you, do not let this discourage you, because when this period passes, your food will be more appetizing once again (though perhaps not as stimulating as the foods to which you had an allergy/addiction). If you unknowingly replace the allergenic food with a more allergenic one, however, you may have little, if any, withdrawal reaction. Pulse testing can be an aid in detecting this problem.

There are probably several scientific mechanisms for withdrawal reactions. For instance, one type of withdrawal reaction mechanism that occurs when the allergen is removed is probably due to the need for the body’s hormones and neurotransmitters to adjust to the removal of a chronic stimulant that has been increasing the heart rate and affecting levels of neurotransmitters and their receptors. The withdrawal symptoms that occur might be similar to the reaction to the removal of a stimulant drug to which one has become addicted.

Another mechanism for withdrawal reactions is probably the immune mechanism described in the scientific medical text, Food Allergy and Intolerance (Brostoff and Challacombe, 1987). The authors describe the well known process by which antigens (substances that stimulate an immune response) bind with antibodies (molecules formed by the body to bind to antigens) to form what are called “immune complexes.” In the case of delayed or hidden non IgE food allergy, the antigens are proteins or “haptens” derived from the allergenic food, and the antibodies are usually IgG antibodies formed in response to them. It is known that when the relative levels of antibodies and antigens reach a certain level, they tend to form immune complexes of such a size that they lodge in various tissues of the body, rather than just being filtered out of the blood. When these immune complexes lodge in the tissue, they cause an immune reaction in which cells, such as phagocytes, must penetrate the tissue to remove the immune complexes. During this “clean-up” process, inflammatory symptoms, such as fatigue and pain, may occur.

According to the mechanism proposed by Brostoff et al (1987), what occurs during the withdrawal reaction involves the process of removal of immune complexes from tissue. When the allergenic food is stopped, the level of antigens fall relative to the level of antibodies. Thus, the antigen-antibody immune complexes pass through the stage where immune complexes are of a size such that they are deposited in the tissue, as described above, to a greater degree. Thus, in response to the immune complex deposition, the subsequent immune response by macrophages and other immune cells, causes more intense symptoms, such as migraines or diarrhea, as part of the withdrawal reaction.

Withdrawal symptoms may also occur when one fasts over night, if one has a fairly strong allergy/addiction to a food. Under these circumstances, one may wake up during the night and be unable to go back to sleep unless one eats more of the allergen to interrupt the withdrawal reaction. Or sometimes, especially when food allergies are severe, reactions may occur soon after consuming the food, or become chronic, with occasional exacerbations, depending on the pattern of consumption of the food. The immediate reactions, however, are not due to the withdrawal reaction, but probably relate more to immediate immune reactions or the neurotransmitter or hormonal effects discussed above. Sometimes the immediate reactions are quite pleasant, involving stimulation of stress hormones (such as adrenaline), so that one mistakenly believes that the food is especially delicious or health promoting.

Cautions: Anyone who has a tendency to anaphylactic reactions (severe reactions in which tissues swell and wheezing may occur–it can be fatal without timely emergency treatment) should avoid any at-home testing or only test foods which you are already eating and that you know won’t cause a serious reaction. Remember that reactions often increase when you have eliminated the food for a week and then are exposed to it (“unmasking,” see above). So, be even more cautious if you have never stopped and started the food before or have a history of asthma or wheezing. If you have ever have had an anaphylactic reaction, you should consult your doctor about having injectable epinephrine and other needed medications on hand and know the instructions for their use while on the way to the emergency room, in case of accidental exposures. Peanuts and shellfish are two of the worst offenders when it comes to anaphylactic reactions to foods and it may only take a very small quantity in those who are susceptible to anaphylaxis. Once again, do not do any at-home testing that puts you at any risk of an anaphylactic reaction. If you have any doubts or further questions, discuss the issue with a knowledgeable doctor who is familiar with your health situation.

How To Overcome the Psychological Barriers to Dietary Change

Here, I want to briefly focus on how to help overcome resistance to making dietary changes that may potentially help one greatly. In the section above and in Issue 5, I describe how the phenomenon of “masking” or adaptation, makes one become addicted to the problem foods and causes chronic symptoms. In fact, the more resistant one is to giving up a food and the more one feels that the food perks them up or makes them feel better (usually only for an hour or so), the more likely it is that the food is a cause of their symptoms.

As one will find if they try the pulse test, the allergenic food causes an increase in heart rate (probably through increased stress hormones like adrenaline). Just like with an addiction to coffee or another stimulant drug, one desires another dose, when the effect wears off. This is why the allergist and author, Dr. Doris Rapp suggests one way to start allergy reduction is to eliminate from your diet one’s 5 favorite frequently eaten foods. One will probably go through some withdrawal reactions like headache, fatigue etc… but will probably feel better by the end of the week. Then one of these foods can be added back every day (or preferably every 2 days) and the reactions can be observed.

The following is a list of ideas that have helped me adjust to dietary limitations that I think might help others at least get to the point of finding out if they may be helped by allergy reduction by beginning the process of allergy detection.

1. Prove you are not addicted to foods. The more you feel resistant to dietary change, the more you are likely to need it, since the larger the resistance, the greater the likelihood that you have some strong food allergy/addictions. If you deny this resistance, you might prove that you are not resistant by doing a trial of 2 to 4 weeks of dietary change. If you read the articles in this newsletter on the subject, I think you will find that there is at least some chance that it would be helpful, and there is little to lose and much might be gained, if done properly. Think of all the pain, expense, suffering etc… from your illness and how relatively little trouble and expense it is to make a temporary dietary change and consider whether it really makes sense for you to at least try it. But consider it carefully, and come to your own decision. You should study the situation, and if the information leads you to feel it worth a try, then commit to giving it a fair chance.

2. Just give it a 2 week trial and see what happens. Remember, if you choose, you can try it only for two weeks (although longer would give a much better chance of success). If during that time of diet change and pulse testing, you decide it is not worth it as far as symptom reduction goes, you can always go back to your old diet. However, remember, that during the first 3 to 7 days after you stop a food allergen you may have significant withdrawal symptoms and other non-allergenic foods will probably not taste very appealing to you. The occurrence of these withdrawal symptoms should actually convince you of the presence of a strong allergy/addiction and give you hope for feeling much better after you have finished the withdrawal reaction. If what I am saying were not true, why would you experience withdrawal symptoms at all after stopping the food? Although withdrawal symptoms may occur, sometimes other symptoms begin improving quite soon after stopping the allergenic food or substance.

3. Empower yourself with an attitude adjustment. Think of the diet change, not as a deprivation and a reason to feel sorry for yourself, but as a way to learn and empower yourself. I have found a number of more positive ways of thinking about food allergy reduction that might be useful and you can choose those that appeal to you. For instance, you might see the diet change as a personal challenge, an interesting experiment, a detective assignment, a chance to develop skills of mental discipline by choosing to change a habit or as a chance to increase your personal control over your symptoms, since your diet is generally your own choice, unlike many other aspects relating to illness. You can use your imagination and think of other circumstances when people eat different diets to achieve important goals, like when going backpacking, mountain climbing, exploring expeditions or as an astronaut. And what more important goal could there be for you than to get well? If people will change their diet to achieve those goals and challenges, why shouldn’t you do so to achieve your goal of health? If it seems particularly hard to do for you, then you will have all the more reason to feel you have accomplished something and feel proud of your achievement in self control, if you do so.

4. Reframing your view of food. You can reframe your view of foods, a process that many people have learned to do when trying to change negative thinking patterns into positive ones. I have found it important to break certain habits with regard to foods that involve the way one tends to think when a certain food is imagined, seen or advertised. I have discovered that there tends to be a sort of Pavlovian response to the idea of the food in which one immediately starts imagining the sensation of eating the food and a longing or craving for it starts. I have found that this can be changed without too much effort. As soon as that response starts up, one can immediately replace it with the thought that the food in question is “not for me,” just like dog food is not appropriate for a human. The famous expression that goes back to ancient times “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” applies perfectly here, and perhaps came from experiences of food allergies. I can think of the food as fine for others, but a poison or a drug for me, that I reject. If you make some effort, after a while, these thoughts become automatic. If this idea of reframing seems strange to you, then there is all the more reason for you to try it out, because reframing has been found to be extremely valuable for many people in gaining a more positive and productive approach to life. Learning how to use reframing in the case of foods may be the first step to a very empowering mental attitude that may lead to a future with greater possibilities for happiness and accomplishment.

5. An all or nothing approach may make it easier in allergy reduction and weight loss. Another circumstance where changing habits of thought was powerful, occurred for me when I was at the very beginning of my exploration of the role of diet, near the beginning of my illness. At that point, I was still in the stage of illness where food allergy/addiction was tending to lead to weight gain due to food cravings. I had heard somewhere that sugar was bad, so I decided to completely cut out desserts. To my amazement, it was far easier than reducing them. Since I knew ahead of time that under no circumstances would I eat any at all, before long, I didn’t even think about them. Initially, I sometimes excused myself for a few minutes when dessert was being served, but soon that tactic was unnecessary. Before, I always thought I would have a little dessert, but not too much. But that would lead to a constant inner battle with myself as to how much was O.K. and whether I might have a little more. This might sound analogous to the better success in sobering up for many alcoholics who quit “cold turkey” and vow to not even have a single drink. I found it to be somewhat similar with regard to the desserts and later with other allergenic foods. By the way, allergy reduction is very important for many people in arriving at an optimal weight. People find that without the craving for the “hidden” allergens, weight control is easy. Avoiding excessive carbohydrates, particularly sugar and refined carbohydrates, can also be important in weight control and avoidance of hypoglycemia and its many associated symptoms (see Issues 1, 2, 4, 5).

Years later, after becoming much more ill and eventually becoming underweight due to even greater food allergies and chronic long-lasting stomach flus (Issue 2), I had to change my diet further. I began bringing my own food to parties and family gatherings. I would simply focus on enjoying the other people’s company and not at all on the food. (Note: I find that lining plastic containers with cellophane allow me to transport my meal away from home without allowing the plastic smell to penetrate the food). Now, I, and the people I know, hardly give it a thought.

6. Would you rather be a food addict and have brief highs after your “fix” of your addicting food or feel better all the time? For those people who feel better right after eating particular foods to the point that they do not want to give them up even on a trial basis, it comes down to a choice. In order to give food allergy reduction a try, you may need to choose between feeling a little better for the 30-60 minutes after eating the allergen and bad the rest of the time, as opposed to feeling better all the time and being able to do more things. It helps to realize that over time, allergies should decrease and more foods can be added as a regular part of the diet or eaten occasionally, so that giving up the food is not likely to be permanent.

There is also new hope in the area of treating infectious and other sources of elevated sensitivities that, over time, may allow one to resume eating most foods. But in the short term, there are few other possibilities for obtaining as much real improvement as there is with allergy reduction, for a wide array of symptoms. And this approach gets closer to the source of the problem than symptom-suppressing medications, that for many, are not very effective, in any case.

If the allergy reduction does not totally eliminate your symptoms, it can at least be used as a starting place for whatever other approaches you want to try. At least you have the chance to start other approaches with better knowledge about what foods and other items make you feel worse. This knowledge will be helpful in assessing the effects of the other approaches since you will have a better understanding of food reactions that may confuse the symptom pattern. For my part, a fairly constant, simple diet, and a food and symptom diary, combined with frequent pulse tests has been tremendously valuable. I’m not arguing that allergy/sensitivity reduction is right for everyone, just giving some responses to reasons many people have for not at least being open to it on a trial basis.

7. You can inhale allergens from the air or soak up allergens via the skin, so chemicals should be considered too. You should also remember that odors and inhaled chemicals and pollens also enter your blood stream immediately upon breathing them in. It is amazing the millions or billions of molecules of these substances that can be found in your body second after beginning to breath them in. Similarly, substances, like soaps, cosmetics, sun screens and other lotions, applied to the skin also enter the body. For the majority, according to Dr. Coca, the food allergens are dominant, but as chemicals in our environment have increased over the decades, for some people, the inhaled substances and chemicals in water or products that contact the skin, can be very important. Unscented, more natural products are a good place to start; and eventually you may benefit from gradually switching to them entirely (see health food stores and the resources listed in Issue 5 for more on this). Of course, for smokers, stopping smoking is an extremely important starting place.

Some New Observations to Detect the Milder Reactions–Particularly Important for the Near Universal Reactor

I have had a couple experiences in the last 2 years that increased my tendency to food allergies and worsened my tendency to diarrhea. The first experience followed treatment with Biaxin and Cedax, two strong antibiotics for Lyme Disease. These antibiotics led to an intestinal overgrowth of the bacteria Klebsiella (according to stool testing from Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab, 800-522-4762), which caused diarrhea and seemed to increase my sensitivity to everything, including foods, chemicals and supplements. The other experience was with Mepron, a drug used to treat parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii and Babesia microti. I became allergic/sensitive to Mepron and it has taken a long time for my body to excrete it. This is because, although it is excreted via the liver into the intestines, much of it can be reabsorbed into the body again before leaving the intestines. In fact, I am still excreting Mepron and have periodic withdrawal reactions to it now, over a year after taking it for only 3 weeks.

These two challenges led me to learn even more about reducing allergens. For a while, I became sensitive to all my hypoallergenic amino acids, and even cellulose and beef and pork gelatin capsules used for supplements and drugs. I also became sensitive to chicken for a while and had to switch to venison and elk, which I also became sensitive to. I will share the strategies that allowed me to finally reverse this trend. However, first, I will give a brief review of the short cut pulse test.

Short Cut Pulse Test Review

1. The difference between sitting and standing pulse can be quite helpful as an indication of the presence of allergies. I highly recommend you do this test to see if you have obtained an allergy-free state or still have hidden allergies. I had not given much attention to this measurement (discussed in Dr. Coca’s book as “allergic tension”), because the difference for me was always 20-30 beats or more per minute between sitting and standing, and this didn’t seem to improve much over time, despite allergy reduction. But now, due to the things I have learned, my allergies/sensitivities have reached a much lower level and I now frequently do reach a state in which my sitting and standing pulses are the same (for more on the regular pulse test and short cut pulse test, see Issue 5 and 2002 food allergy/sensitivity preview).

2. To do the short cut pulse test, one needs to be careful to take the pulse for an entire minute in exactly the same way, before the substance is placed in the mouth, and then again, 1 to 2 minutes after it is placed in the mouth. One must spit out the food after the test, especially if it caused a reaction in which the pulse increased. Also, it is important to use common sense and not do the pulse test just after climbing the stairs or being very active or soon after being emotionally upset. Wait until your heart rate has time to settle down, if you have been very active, before taking doing the pulse test. I find it easiest to take my pulse by laying my left hand face up on my lap (either sitting or lying down) and placing two fingers of my right hand over the outer edge of my left wrist about an inch below the area where the base of the thumb connects with the wrist. There is an artery there, between the sinews in the middle of the wrist and the bone on the outer edge of the wrist. Using a gentle pressure of your finger tips, you can feel the beating of your pulse.

3. When using the short cut pulse test, before starting to do the test, take “control” pulse tests in which you do everything exactly like the short cut test, but without putting any test food on your tongue. I sometimes make the exact same movements as if I were putting the food in my mouth. Then you can use these pulse rates taken a minute or two apart, as a baseline for that particular period of testing foods. Consider the higher of the two pulses as the baseline, if they are different. Or sometimes I do a third “control” pulse to decide which is the best baseline to use. In this way, the pulse rate needed to count as a reaction on a particular testing session can be found by comparison with this baseline or “control” level. Do not look at a clock until it is likely that it is near the minute mark. This can help prevent one from influencing the heart rate (I found I used to do this without realizing it by breathing more slowly).

4. I find even a change of 1 or 2 beats per minute can be significant if the pulse is stable on the day of the test. Some days, particularly when still reacting to a food, the pulse will go up and down a lot. The control tests can let you know that this variability is occurring, so you won’t misinterpret the results as a reaction when it is really an unstable pulse due to a previous food reaction. For example, I experienced dramatic instability in my pulse after I reacted to a particular food one day. The next day, prior to testing the reactive food, a series of control tests varied from -2 to +8 beats per minute. Without doing the control test, I could easily have mistaken an increase of 6 beats per minute during a food test to a real reaction, when it was probably just due to the variability on that day. However, a very large reaction may still stand out, as shown by the test for the very reactive food from the previous day. When I tested it, my pulse showed an increase of 18 beats per minute, which was far greater than the variability in the control tests. Thus, if the pulse is too unstable on a particular day, the pulse test may only be useful for detecting very reactive foods, since they may tend to stand out, despite the instability. One can repeat the test 2 or 3 times to increase certainty or wait and test later, when the control pulses show that the pulse is more stable. After removing the most reactive foods from the diet, it will become easier to start identifying the milder allergens, because the pulse will become increasingly stable.

5. Finally, I decided I might try adding some new things, since my overall reactivity had gone down so much judging by the pulse tests, but I needed to find a way to minimize my reactions and to catch any sensitivity that developed as early as I could. I would test the food before eating it and if O.K., I would eat it for only 1 meal and then test it every 12 hours for the next 2 days using the short cut pulse test to see if there was a withdrawal reaction. If there was no reaction in symptoms or in the pulse tests, I would try it again, eating more of it, perhaps twice in a day. Then I would stop for 2 or 3 days and do the pulse tests. Every time I increased my consumption there was a risk of beginning to become allergic to it. Finally, over a month or two, in the case of walnut oil, I found I could consume several tablespoons daily without becoming sensitive, though just to be on the safe side, I would stop it every month or two for 1-3 days and do some pulse tests every 12 hours during the following 2-3 days. (Note: Cooking or heating walnut oil will make it go rancid–I put it on my meals, which I have only slightly warmed, right at the table and I keep it in the freezer). The method I developed is a somewhat slow one, to minimize reactions. However, because of the pulse test, one can deal with more than one item at a time, since the short cut test allows one to tell which item is the cause of the reaction. Of course, if one is basing the reaction primarily on symptoms, it will be clearer if only one item is added or increased at a time.

6. During this phase, my only two “safe” foods were organic white Sushi rice (Basmati rice should be avoided since it is fermented) and skinless, boneless organic chicken breasts. Unfortunately, I still tended to become allergic to them over time and did not have alternatives that I could tolerate very well. My solution was to fast for a short period of time. I found that I could tolerate chicken and rice daily to a much greater degree when I fasted 13-15 hours every day. This “short fast” approach gradually evolved from my difficulty in finding alternate foods I could tolerate so I could rotate off the rice and chicken periodically. I decided to try to fast a day instead of rotating to a different food. Over time, I shortened the fast more and more, until finally, I went from a 22 hour fast to a 13-15 hour fast. All it meant is that I ate my last meal at 6:30 p.m. and then fasted until breakfast at 8:00 a.m. This may not be sufficient for others, who have a greater sensitivity to these foods and need to rotate off them longer. However, some people might reduce their sensitivity to rice and chicken by avoiding them for 2 or 3 weeks and accepting the increased symptoms from eating more allergenic foods during that time period. Then, at the end of the 2 or 3 weeks of avoiding them, the sensitivity to the rice and chicken might be low enough for the above short fast method to work. In my case, I also am getting sublingual immunotherapy for these foods using the methods from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, and that can be helpful to reduce allergies/sensitivities. I have the rice and chicken included in my sublingual drops even if I don’t happen to test positive to them at the time of testing at the doctor’s office and this seems to be helpful (see aaem.com for physicians who use this method–be sure to avoid phenol preservatives in the sublingual drops).

In addition to this short fast method, I also find it helpful to stop the chicken for 36 hours every 2 or 3 weeks to avoid building up sensitivity. Since I don’t have a good substitute for chicken at present, on those days I just eat the rice and the cold-pressed walnut oil and that is enough for me for one day. I don’t increase the rice on those days, because whenever I decrease the rice again to stay on my low carbohydrate diet for yeast and hypoglycemia reduction, I get a yeast die-off reaction that increases my symptoms for several days. I can verify this yeast reaction by testing vinegar, an allergenic yeast byproduct. During a yeast die-off/withdrawal reaction, my short cut pulse test for vinegar increases by several beats per minute. Every month or so, I have now found it helpful to replace the rice with plain tapioca for one day (using only water and tapioca and salt). Recently, I have begun experimenting with adding a few other foods, with some mixed success. I also have been able to resume a number of supplements, like the free form amino acids.

Some Miscellaneous Tips That Have Been Helpful

1. Boiling skinless, boneless chicken breasts on the stove reduced the allergen level for me. Baking often causes a sort of frying to occur (this may be avoided if plenty of water is used in the baking dish to cover the chicken) The baking often causes the chicken to be browned and the fat is altered, and these changes may lead to symptoms. I am much less sensitive to the breast meat than I am to the dark meat or skin.

2. I became sensitive to acidophilus products needed to combat Candida and inhibit antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and I found a hypoallergenic product with a soil based organism (Bacillus laterosporus), Florabalance, which works well (it can be ordered from NEEDS, 800-634-1380). Dr. Lawrence Plumlee, a noted environmental medicine doctor, recommended it. The organism was selected for its ability to kill Candida, so one should expect a Candida die-off reaction for several days once it is begun. To avoid future Candida die-off reactions using Florabalance, one should use it at a constant level each day. I use it once or twice a day on an empty stomach with a full glass of water, sometimes with a little baking soda added to help neutralize stomach acids. Like all other foods and supplements, one should periodically rotate off the Florabalance and do the pulse testing during the withdrawal phase to avoid building up a sensitivity. It may be helpful to rotate between different probiotics.

3. It became important for me to differentiate between different types of gelatin capsules for supplements. At one point, I thought I was over my sensitivity to the gelatin caps because I happened to be doing pulse testing only a beef gelatin capsule and it turned out that most of the gelatin capsules were pork gelatin (if its not on the label, you can call the company and ask what the capsule is made from). Now, more companies are using cellulose capsules, which I have been sensitive to at one point, but typically am much less prone to becoming allergic to. At one point, I bought Thorne products, such as calcium aspartate and magnesium aspartate. They were in cellulose capsules, and I could empty the capsules and use the cellulose capsules for certain other supplements or even for an antibiotic, like minocycline. I could still use the Thorne calcium aspartate powder that I had emptied from the capsules, since I found it was pretty easy to use dissolved in water and did not taste bad.

4. In my own case, I have learned that when I have diarrhea and sleep extra long, it is much more likely to be a gastrointestinal virus than a food reaction. Usually I hear of a contact who has had the same bug and that can help verify my suspicions. Oftentimes, I have found the food allergy reaction to be quite similar in symptoms to the viral gastrointestinal illness. The pulse tests can help rule out the role of food reactions and help to figure out what the problem may actually be. In my experience, I tend to become allergic to the foods I am eating at the time of a gastrointestinal illness, and it is helpful in getting well, if I temporarily rotate off those foods. I have now found that I am able to avoid the frequent gastrointestinal illnesses I used to have, by using daily small doses of a homeopathic medicine called Boiron Oscillococcinum (see Issue 7).

Non Pulse Test Approaches

For people who are on beta blocker drugs, who have trouble taking their pulse, or who are on a pacemaker, the pulse test will not be very helpful; and there are other approaches that can be used. For one thing, it may be possible to detect symptoms after putting the food on your tongue for a couple minutes as you would with the pulse test, even without taking your pulse. You may feel your heart pounding, feel a pain, or gastrointestinal symptoms. These may be especially apparent during the withdrawal phase when the sensitivity is greater.

One can use careful elimination diets and symptom observations, laboratory testing and rotation diets, as described in Issue 5. It may also be a helpful clue to measure your urine pH. If one keeps protein consumption and alkalinizing minerals fairly constant, most of the variation in pH is likely to be due to food sensitivity reactions, which make the pH more acidic, as shown by a low pH value (pH tape can be obtained from NEEDS, 800-634-1380). I take enough baking soda each day to keep my urine pH in the range of 6.0 to 6.8. I measure the amount of baking soda I take and record the pH each day upon first urinating. As allergens are reduced, one needs less baking soda to stay in that pH range. I used to need 2-3 teaspoons a day. Now I only need about 1 teaspoon baking soda per day, despite eating 8-9 lbs of chicken per week.

I even have found that my temperature is affected slightly by food reactions. If I take my underarm temperature several times a day, there is usually a temperature increase of about 0.2 to 0.4 in my highest body temperature of the day, if I am having a food reaction. Sometimes during the withdrawal phase, I will have some particularly low temperatures. Individuals can determine what pattern occurs in their own case by recording their temperatures daily.

Whether or not one uses the pulse test, it is always helpful to keep a food and symptom diary. One can study the reactions one experiences and learn what is the surest sign of a food reaction. Then, whether or not one has a pulse test reaction to rely on, one can learn to detect an allergen, hopefully before the reaction gets really bad. There seems to occasionally be reactions that don’t show up on the pulse test, so it is important to be able to go by symptoms as well, which are always the bottom line. I have learned from my records in my own case that diarrhea and waking too early are currently the surest signs of a reaction. Also, an increase in lightheadedness upon standing up, irritability, anxiety, fatigue and mild depression tend to occur. However, people differ in their reactions and so one should look for patterns based on one’s food and symptom diary.

Also see:

Issue 8. Some New Observations on Food Sensitivities and the Pulse Test (2002)

For Information on a Potent Allergen Found in Many Foods — Issue 10. Carbohydrate, Chlorogenic Acid and Benicar Sensitivity in Relationship to the Marshall Protocol: Preliminary Observations and Links to Theories of Chronic Disease

Issue 10. Improved Methods of Detecting Food Allergies/Sensitivities/Intolerances: Beyond the Pulse Test (2007)

Disclaimer: All articles provided on the SynergyHN website are for information only and are not intended as medical advice. An effort is made to be accurate, however readers are advised to verify what is presented here and check with their own doctors. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. Neither CISRA nor the author receives any funding or income from any organization or manufacturer connected with the topics discussed.

Written by synergyhn

October 29, 2004 at 3:53 am

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