IgG and Gastrointestinal Disorders - 2007

Dr Anton Emmanuel, consultant gastroenterologist and senior lecturer in neuro-gastroenterology at University College Hospital, London, outlines some of his recent work:

Additions in italics in brackets are intended to help less medically literate readers to understand Dr Emmanuel

The possible role of food hypersensitivity in causing gastrointestinal disease was first suggested in 1950. While there is good evidence of the clinical importance of food allergy in certain gut diseases (eosinophilic enteritis, coeliac disease), the role of gastrointestinal hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions in other gut disorders remains

Food allergy and intolerance in IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease)

While there is no evidence that specific immune-mediated (allergic) reactions to food play a role in most patients with either Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis (UC), it is common for patients with
gastrointestinal (GI) disorders to believe that something in their diet has caused their condition.

Some studies have claimed that food sensitivities are common in Crohn's and have found that when food intolerances are detected, patients on an exclusion diet maintain remission significantly longer than those on an unrestricted diet.

In contrast UC does not seem to respond to bowel rest or elemental diets (totally allergen-free formula food made solely from nutrients so there is no waste to be eliminated via the bowel).

However, when patients with UC were surveyed regarding the frequency and pattern of food intolerance there existed no significant difference in findings between UC and Crohn's disease. Food intolerance was reported at a significantly higher rate in patients with IBD than in normal controls.

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Source: Dr Anton Emmanuel, the director of the physiology unit at the University College Hospital, London, is an expert on inflammatory bowel diseases and irritable bowel syndrome and their possible association with food intolerance and antibody levels.

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