A number of controversial food-allergy treatments are advertised and promoted heavily, even though scientific studies have found them ineffective or unsafe. Be wary of the following treatments. None of these treatments is a recommended way to diagnose or relieve your allergy symptoms.
Intradermal provocation and neutralization for food allergy. Deep injections into the skin are called intradermal injections. Intradermal injections are sometimes advertised to the public, but they are not safe and they are not recommended for diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of food allergies. Intradermal injections or deeper injections of food allergens can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. They are too dangerous to use. (These injections are deeper than the skin prick or skin puncture tests that are safe to use and occasionally helpful to detect food allergy.)
In addition to being unsafe, intradermal injections are not reliable for identifying true food allergies because these deep injections cause far too many false positive results.
The treatment of food allergies is different from the treatment of environmental allergies (such as pollen), because injections (allergy shots) are never recommended for treatment of food allergies. Scientists are trying to develop a safe injection that might be useful for neutralizing peanut allergy. It would involve a man-made protein that mimics a peanut protein but does not cause anaphylaxis. This treatment has been tested on mice, but it is not yet available for treatment of people.
Sublingual provocation and neutralization. This test and treatment are not helpful for the diagnosis or prevention of allergy. For this test, several drops of an allergen extract are placed under the tongue. If symptoms develop, the people who use this test credit the test for diagnosing an allergy. Unfortunately, many symptoms that aren't truly allergic (such as mood changes) have been considered to represent a "reaction" to the allergen.
After a "reaction" occurs, the person administering the test might place a diluted liquid containing the allergen under the tongue. If the symptoms that have been noticed happen to fade after this unscientific treatment, then the diluted liquid is believed to be the reason. This liquid is then offered for sale to "neutralize" allergy symptoms, or to prevent allergy from foods that will be eaten. There is no evidence that this test works for diagnosis or treatment, and it may trigger allergy symptoms.
Anti-yeast treatments. Hypersensitivity to Candida albicans, a type of yeast normally found in the body, has been blamed for conditions ranging from headaches to flatulence. Testing and treatment for the presence of yeast in the body is not a helpful strategy to control allergy. Tests for yeast are positive in most people because yeast is normally present on the skin, in the intestine, and on moist surfaces such as the lining of the mouth or vagina. Treatments that are designed to reduce yeast, such as special diets or antifungal drugs, are not recommended for allergy. Although the treatments aren't usually dangerous, they are not scientifically proven and can be expensive. Anti-yeast treatments should be reserved for people that have overgrowth of yeast in a specific area of the body (for example, a vaginal discharge due to excess yeast after antibiotic treatment has occurred).
Food cytotoxic blood tests, also known as the Metabolic Intolerance Test or Bryan's Test. This test is not based on science and is not a reliable way to diagnose allergy. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) advises against relying on this test for allergy information, and it is not usually covered by insurance. The test involves having white blood cells collected from a blood sample and spread onto a variety of glass slides. Each slide is pre-coated with a food sample.
The cells are then viewed under a microscope. The people who advertise this test claim that if the cells disintegrate, this identifies a food allergy. In reality, white cell samples from people with known food allergies do not disintegrate when exposed to trigger foods. Monitoring of the unscientific laboratories that have advertised this test reveal that results of tests on the same blood sample are very inconsistent. The results are different from day to day and from laboratory to laboratory. Purchase of the personalized diet plans, vitamins, and minerals from the advertisers who market this test is also a poor idea.
Over-the-counter asthma drugs. Medicines that are sold without a prescription to treat asthma, such as Primatene Mist, contain stimulants that can be dangerous for people with heart or blood pressure problems and may cause drug interactions. These medicines are also not as effective for relief of asthma symptoms as prescription medicines are. It can be dangerous if a person with asthma does not get effective (prescription medicine) treatment promptly. You are better off seeking care from a doctor for your asthma, instead of using over-the-counter medicines.
Supplements of vitamins, minerals, or herbs. No vitamin, mineral or herbal supplement has been proven to be effective for treating allergies. Unless you have a food allergy, you shouldn't have to change your diet in any way to prevent an allergic reaction. Vitamins in standard doses are not likely to cause any harm, but they would not be expected to cause changes in allergy symptoms.