Eczema Flare: Could it be Food–Pollen or Food-Food Cross-reactivity?
Tristan is having another bad go of it. I know his skin flares up each April during the beginning of allergy season, mostly around his face, neck, and wrists as opposed to behind the knees and on the legs, belly, and back like with his food allergy triggered eczema. We’re fairly sure this spring reaction is due to an allergy to birch and grass pollen, but we need to have this diagnosed with a skin test (here’s hoping his outdoor allergies can be diagnosed via allergy testing as his food allergy tests were always inconclusive).
This April was no exception, except it started earlier this year, so back in March Tristan’s skin had already started to flare. We found a homeopathic tincture that seemed to help him out, Homeodel 15, so we added it to the other homeopathic eczema tinctures he was already on and have yet to change the dosage. His skin healed up mostly and was looking really great last week. Then BAM, out of nowhere he’s reacting head-to-toe, beyond just the areas exposed to pollen. I am sure he didn’t eat anything he shouldn’t have. We haven’t changed cleaning products. So, what is this? It’s like the food related eczema flares – behind the knees, legs, belly, back, AND the seasonal reaction – face, eyelids, and neck, COMBINED – what fun! Why did this come on so sudden? Why did this happen when he seemed to be healing up so nicely? Why is his whole body affected? Gotta love eczema and allergies – always more questions than answers. (Smirk)
I was commenting (ok, more like complaining) over Facebook about Tristan’s sudden flare-up and Tracey from Nutrimom suggested it could be synergistic foods. I’d heard a little about this before, but was intrigued and of course desperate to get to the bottom of this latest flare (as I’m sure you can all understand), so I did some more research and came across some interesting information regarding concomitant and synergistic foods.
According to Allan D. Lieberman, M.D.,
“A concomitant food is one which provokes a reaction in a susceptible individual when another allergen – such as a pollen – is present. This means that you can be more reactive or more symptomatic following the ingestion of specific foods during certain pollinating seasons … Synergistic foods are those which, when combined and eaten together in the same meal, can cause an allergic reaction – even though when eaten separately they might cause only a mild reaction or none at all.”
Very, interesting – I had to know more.
From what I found, it seems synergistic foods can go one of two ways – helpful or hurtful to the body. Many foods like broccoli and tomatoes, when eaten together, can give the body the exact right combination of nutrients to ensure the body processes these foods in the most beneficial way possible. However, some foods can have the opposite effect, when corn and bananas are eaten together, they can be harmful to the body and could cause an allergic reaction, even if there is no individual allergy to corn or bananas present.
Following is a list of foods that can be harmful when consumed together:
Proven Synergistic Food Combinations
|Beef||Baker’s and Brewer’s yeast|
Questionable Synergistic Food Combinations (yet to be proven)
Could this be what’s triggered Tristan’s recent eczema outbreak? It’s certainly possible, but since it’s now grass pollen season, I think it’s more likely that Tristan’s flare was caused by concomitant food as described below.
If consumed while someone is exposed to pollen, concomitant foods have been known to trigger an allergic reaction in any form, including eczema. This is different from Food-Pollen Allergy Syndrome and Oral Allergy Syndrome where reactions are localized to the mouth or throat and can cause anaphylaxis.
Proven Concomitant Foods
|Ragweed||Milk, melons, bananas, and lettuce|
|Iva ciliate (Poison ivy)||Wheat|
|Sage and Mugwort||Potato, celery, and coriander|
|Grass||Beans, peas, soybeans, cottonseed (cooking fats), grains, apples, carrots, and celery|
|Cedar||Beef and yeast (Baker’s, brewer’s, and malt)|
|Oak||Eggs and chestnut|
|Pecan||Corn and bananas|
|Birch||Hazelnut, apples, carrot, celery, potato, and oranges|
Questionable Concomitant Foods (yet to be proven)
|Iva ciliate (Poison Ivy)||Tea|
|Elm||Lettuce and chocolate|
|Cotton wood||Wheat and tea|
Right now it’s grass pollen season, so we’re going to eliminate some of the foods in the grass concomitant food row for a few days and see if we notice an improvement in Tristan’s skin. Bye-bye apples, carrots, peas, and celery. He’s not going to be happy about the apples, that’s for sure. If we see a difference we’ll try the foods cooked and see how he reacts. Many times cooked concomitant foods are processed with no problems. And of course, as soon as grass pollen season ends, we’ll bring back in the eliminated foods.
Do you have any experience with Synergistic or Concomitant Foods?