Q & A with Dr. Farhang Khosh, N.D.

Hilary recently discussed food intolerances and allergies with Dr. Farhang Khosh N.D., who provides holistic natural health care focusing on the whole person at Natural Medical Care in Lawrence, Kansas.  In 2002, Dr. Khosh helped Hilary change her life and recover her health by diagnosing and treating her own food allergies and intolerances.  For more on Dr. Khosh and his practice, visit their website at www.naturalmedicalcare.com
How do you test for food sensitivities?
The testing methodology used at for food sensitivity is ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).  From a single blood sample many allergens can be tested.  The laboratory is measuring delayed response for the antibodies IgM, IgA and IgG. 
What are your thoughts on the “scratch test” or prick test that some allergy doctors do?
Intradermal or Epicutaneous skin testing is measuring an immediate reaction (IgE) to an offending allergen.  It has shown to be effective yet it can be extremely time consuming and uncomfortable for the patient.
What are 10 foods that you see people test most frequently for allergy and intolerance?
Common allergic foods include milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, tomatoes and strawberries.
Is there an increase in food intolerances or are we just now starting to test for it?
For reasons that are not entirely understood, the incidence of food allergies and food sensitivities has become more apparent in Western nations in recent times.  This has been attributed to the Standard American Diet (SAD), genetically modified foods, “hygiene hypothesis” and our environment.
What is the course of treatment for individuals that test positively with intolerances and allergies?
Treatment for food allergies is usually avoidance yet recently sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) has been proven to be effective for certain patients.
What is the difference between intolerance and an allergy?
A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein.  Food intolerance reactions are non-immunologically mediated.  They may include pharmacologic reactions, chemical sensitivities, metabolic food disorders, psychological disorders as well as toxin mediated.
Can you provide a list of symptoms that one might have if they have food intolerance?
Symptoms of food intolerance are often related to the gastrointestinal system such as milk intolerance.  Bloating, excess gas, constipation and diarrhea are symptoms.  Food sensitivity symptoms are vast in that many systems can be involved such as gastrointestinal, respiratory, dermatologic, musculoskeletal, autoimmune, neurological and genitourinary.
Are you seeing standard Western medicine looking at foods as a possible cause of illness? 
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal disease in Western clinical practice.  Processed foods, additives, chemicals, food colorings are all contributing factors recognized.
Photo credit Lawrence Journal World