The bump was expected and anticipated, though I tried not to stress about the inevitable. The bump was corn, hidden corn. The new doctor doesn’t get corn, most doctors don’t understand corn, most of my family and friends don’t understand corn. They do not understand how it is used in the processing and manufacturing of almost everything. They do not understand how the aforementioned usage of corn contaminates “safe products for sensitive people.” They do not understand how we can react to the tiny traces remaining in/on products.
The new doctor wants to pull the HCL that I’ve been using to help with my digestion. She wants me to take a digestive enzyme. I know you all know the pitfalls of digestive enzymes, but the new doctor has no idea. I turned down many of her recommendations because of the “other ingredients” listed for the “safe for sensitive people” products.
I decided to try the digestive enzymes (even though it is industry standard to use maltodextrin, i.e. corn, during the drying process) because they were cheap, there were no other filler ingredients and I knew, though we would react to it, that the amount of corn was small. I wanted the doctor to be able to see our sensitivity level, so that I would never have to prove it to her again; get the disbelief out-of-the-way with the least amount of pain for Yipi and for me.
And it is disbelief. Doctors aren’t taught much about corn allergy/intolerance and the fact that corn allergy/intolerance doesn’t seem to follow the same pattern as other allergens just makes it more unbelievable. I honestly think doctors are told that corn can’t be an allergen...but that could be paranoia. I sincerely hope it is only paranoia on my part. See this article written by the Allergy Associates of Lacrosse titled “Allergic to Corn – Living Without.”
Although corn products are widely consumed, there is a general lack of understanding when it comes to corn’s role as a
food allergy or sensitivity. One reason is that corn is not one of the so-called Big Eight allergens (peanuts, tree nuts,
wheat, milk, egg, shellfish, fish, soy) that together cause 90 percent of America’s food allergy reactions. It doesn’t fall
under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, which means that manufacturers aren’t
required to list it as an ingredient by its common name, highlight it on product labels or name it as a possible source of
cross-contamination in a product.
“I sympathize with people who have corn allergy because corn is very hard to avoid,” says Mary S. Morris, MD, of Allergy
Associates of La Crosse in La Crosse, Wisconsin. “A lot of times, people don’t connect their symptoms to the corn
sweetener in their ice cream.”
Adding to the confusion is the fact that symptoms of corn allergy can differ from those of more common food allergies.
While corn can prompt anaphylaxis, including breathing difficulty, hives, swelling and even death in severely cornallergic
patients, more often it causes headaches, fatigue and irritability.
“I’m surprised at how frequently corn will trigger a bad headache, even in children,” Morris says.
Another factor contributing to questions about corn allergy is that people can have varied reactions to different forms of
corn, Morris explains. For example, some people have more of a problem with corn sweetener than they do with corn on
the cob or cornstarch. And corn pollen or corn dust that’s inhaled during harvest can trigger a reaction in some people
who often can consume corn without a problem, she says.
All this makes corn allergy difficult to diagnose, Morris notes. Corn might show up in a typical skin or blood test that
checks for IgE (the allergic antibody) levels—but not always. IgE allergy tests didn’t detect Clare Donlan’s corn allergy.
“Sometimes corn is IgE-mediated but sometimes the only way to figure it out is to do a corn challenge test under
medical supervision in a doctor’s office,” Morris says, adding that she conducts oral challenges when she can’t tell for
sure if a suspected food is causing a reaction.
Morris’ practice routinely screens for corn allergy through a blood test and, while corn is a less common allergen than
the Big Eight, it is common enough that she says she sees patients with corn allergy every week.
Not all doctors would consider corn allergy as potential cause of a patient’s headaches or behavior issues. In fact, some
question whether the grain is even a true allergen. For example, Morris recalls informing a surgeon that her patient,
hospitalized under the surgeon’s care, had a corn allergy. The surgeon said the allergy wasn’t possible and ignored
Morris’ request not to administer dextrose (usually corn-based) to the patient. It took the patient’s allergic reaction to
corn during surgery to convince the physician that the allergy did exist.
“Because it’s not on the top-eight radar, it’s not the first place people go to look for the root cause of their symptoms.
Even though corn is the source of many severe problems for people, it is many times overlooked,” she says.
I hope you followed the link, read the article and saved it to your computer.
I opened one capsule into a container. We then proceeded to introduce the digestive enzyme onto our skin for a few days and then moved to ingestion after no noticeable reaction on the skin. Within a few days of ingestion, the reactions became apparent. We consumed about 1/1000th of the initial capsule we opened. ….ok….you got me…I don’t know exactly how much of the capsule we consumed but it was a microscopic amount. I emailed the company and simply asked them to check with the manufacturer to see if any maltodextrin was used during the drying process of the digestive enzyme. Later that day (May 14th) I received the confirmation email that maltodextrin is used, but only a small amount. That small amount is enough for Yipi and me to react.
Since beginning the GAPS diet, I have had less brain-fogged/limited cognitive ability days. I am able to think clearer, I have more energy (my house is clean!!!!) and I am able to actually put my thoughts into coherent sentences. I am able to remember how I felt before a reaction and to log that state of being as well as the shift that occurs when I’m reacting and the aftermath. I’ve also noticed, and I’ve mentioned this before, that our reactions are not as severe and do not last as long since beginning the GAPS diet. Thank you, GAPS.
With that being said, I’m going to copy and paste my notes from my food/reaction/GAPS journal for when we introduced the digestive enzyme, during the administration of digestive enzyme, and the aftermath. We stopped the enzymes two days ago and the swelling and severe itching/hives/awful rash are already subsiding.
Notes from Journal:
- Emailed manufacturer last night to see if digestive enzymes were sprayed onto maltodextrin to dry (cross contamination, maltodextrin is derived from corn). From my research, in the past three years, it is industry standard to spray enzymes onto maltodextrin to dry. Yes they do use a little maltodextrin (5/14 confirmed)
- I am swollen, from 136.8 (swelling was subsiding from previously exposure) to 143lb in about 4 days
- My eyelids are swollen and my eyelashes feel like daggers, pulling them out, trying to stop myself
- Orange wax in ears
- Lower back pain and hip pain (from swelling)
- My insomnia has returned. It is almost impossible to get to sleep at night and get back to sleep if I awake.
- Yipi’s stomach is distended and swollen, her rash has brown whelps in it and is raised, the rash on her stomach is back, she is digging into her scalp and ripping her hair out, she is also having difficulty getting to sleep at night, and she is soaking through her diapers multiple times at night (sign of reaction for her)
- We are reacting to something, it is either the RNAs or the digestive enzymes. With our history of reactions and how enzymes are produced, I am leaning towards the digestive enzymes due to cross contamination at drying time during the manufacturing process (confirmed)
- We pulled the digestive enzymes last night (5/13/2013). We will see is the swelling and other symptoms subside.
- I’ve also noticed another swollen, painful, bug bite looking thing under my arm. I’m going to go with ingrown hairs at this point. Definitely corn exposure.
- Skin peeled off in two sheets on the middle finger on my left hand. Very painful.
- One good thing is Yipi pooped a teeny tiny amount today on her own. About 1 tsp. Black tar with a lot of mucous.