Increasing Prevalence of Food Allergy in Australia

by Leisa on February 26, 2009

From ARL Functional Pathology eNews

A recent article in The Age newspaper, Victoria, reported on research finding the prevalence of peanut allergies in children has doubled in the past decade. Canberra-based clinical allergy physician, Dr Raymond Mullins, lead author of the study, reported a dramatic increase in the number of children he was treating for food allergies – two a month in 1995 to almost one a day in 2008.

Experts are divided as to the possible causes of this increase, with some attributing it to the hygiene hypothesis whilst others speculate that the rise we are seeing in some food allergies may be the result in part of advice to avoid or delay the introduction of allergenic foods in the first few years of life. Click here to view the article “Peanut allergies double in 10 years“.

Food sensitivity/intolerance has also become increasingly prevalent in the Australian population, as recently reported on Channel Nine’s “A Current Affair”, featuring Queensland-based Functional Medicine Specialist, Dr Greg Emerson and the IgG food sensitivity profiles available from ARL Functional Pathology. Click here to view the story by Channel Nine.

Given this extensive coverage we have taken this opportunity to clarify the difference between food allergy and food sensitivity/intolerance, a question commonly asked by practitioners and patients.

Differences between IgE-mediated food allergy and IgG-mediated food sensitivity

Immediate onset
Easy to detect
Common in children, rare in adults
Fixed allergies, usually permanent
Involves 1 or 2 foods
Offending foods usually need to be avoided permanently
Release of inflammatory mediators
Symptoms affect skin, airway & digestive tract

Delayed onset
Difficult to detect without specialised laboratory testing
Most common form of food sensitivity reaction in both children and adults
Usually reversible
Involves multiple foods
May be possible to reintroduce some foods after a period of avoidance
Formulation of circulating immune complexes
Symptoms can affect any tissue, organ or body system

ARL Functional Pathology offer three IgG Food Sensitivity Profiles which test for common foods known to cause food sensitivity reactions. To view these profiles click here.

I do quite a bit of work with ARL, using many of their pathology tests for greater insight into patient diagnosis and I also lecture for them in their Practitioner Discussion Groups.  Food Sensitivities can cause havoc and be an underlying cause in many disorders.  If anyone is interested in having these tests done – please contact me at info (at)



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