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Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Jun;3(3):217-21.

Unproved diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to food allergy and intolerance.

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University of Calfornia, Davis, School of Medicine, Davis, California 95616, USA.



Alternative and complementary medicine approaches to allergic disorders are commonly used by patients. Not all have been subjected to experimental analysis to support or refute their validity in the armamentarium of a practitioner. This review covers some of the most common unproved alternative or complementary approaches to diagnosis and therapy that we see in use by patients. These include the use of specific IgG to foods accompanied by rotary diets, provocation-neutralization testing and therapy, applied kinesiology followed by acupressure or acupuncture, and changes in cell size upon in-vitro exposure of leukocytes to food extract (using automated assays going under various trade names) followed by elimination diets or rotary diets.


There continues to be a dearth of well performed studies investigating these approaches in the literature, but many testimonials have been posted on websites of practitioners using these methods attesting to their effectiveness. Several recent studies have refuted the use of applied kinesiology and provocation-neutralization in diagnosis. The placebo effect must not be overlooked as a potentially important factor in some approaches.


There have been no studies supporting the use of these techniques, and several have refuted their utility. A beneficial placebo effect may be responsible for the perceived clinical effectiveness in many cases of food intolerance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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