Low allergen diet
Low allergen diet


A low allergen diet eliminates foods and food additives that may trigger an allergic reaction. A low allergen diet is typically used as a diagnostic tool in individuals with suspected food allergies.

Common symptoms of allergic reactions may include itchy eyes, sneezing, headache, fatigue, postnasal drip, nasal congestion, sore throat, and rash. Life-threatening allergic reactions may include trouble breathing and difficulty swallowing due to swelling of the throat and breathing passages.

It is important to note that food intolerance or sensitivity is not the same as a food allergy. Allergic reactions are responses triggered by the immune system to a particular food, inhalant (airborne substance), or chemical. The terms "allergies" and "sensitivities" can be used interchangeably even though sensitivities are not all true allergies. "Sensitivity" is a general term encompassing true allergies, reactions that do involve the immune system, and reactions for which the cause is unknown.

People use this for...

A low allergen diet is primarily used to help diagnose food allergies. It has also been used for asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, other allergies, and colic.

Pregnancy: There is insufficient reliable evidence about the safety of the low allergen diet in pregnancy; there is no reason to expect safety issues.

Lactation: Research suggests that the low allergen diet is safe in lactating women for up to 1 week. There is insufficient reliable evidence about the safety of the low allergen diet for longer than one week; however there is no reason to expect safety issues.


Colic. Preliminary research suggests that using a low allergen diet (milk, egg, wheat, and nut free) in lactating mothers may reduce colic in their breastfed infants. More evidence is needed to rate the low allergen diet for this use.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Dosing & administration

    Adverse effects

    Interactions with pharmaceuticals

    None known.

    Interactions with herbs & supplements

    None known.

    Interactions with foods

    None known.

    Interactions with lab tests

    Interactions with diseases

    Mechanism of action

    A low allergen diet is usually suggested for individuals with symptoms of food allergies. This diet is used primarily as a diagnostic tool to determine the foods that result in the allergic reactions and then help the patient decide what foods to avoid. Avoiding these foods for months or years theoretically may reduce or eliminate the sensitivity to the food allergens.

    There are two types of allergic reactions to food, cyclic and fixed. The most common allergy is cyclic, meaning that the allergy generally goes away after long-term avoidance of the food allergen. Fixed allergies are those that consistently cause an allergic reaction, even if the food has been avoided for an extended time period.

    In some cases the allergy-triggering food is eaten every 3-4 days rather than eliminated completely. In theory, there would not be an allergic to those foods if they were consumed only every 3-4 days.

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