I discovered that our family are allergic and intolerant to various foods through Vega testing.
It all started with Elizabeth. When she was about 12 months old she started having diarrhoea. It was really terrible, watery, acidic stuff that burnt her bottom and often missed the nappy entirely as it just ran down her legs. She got progressively worse until she was having a BM about 10 times a day. I took her to the Heath Visitor, Practice Nurse and GP and they just kept sending me away saying it was ‘toddler diarrhoea’. Her hair didn’t grow, she had dark circles under her eyes…I wasn’t satisfied with this at all. Especially after she developed pica which is basically when the person is so lacking in nutrients (usually iron) that they crave non-foods such as soil or sand or other things in order to get what they need nutritionally. Elizabeth was repeatedly eating soil from the garden (when I wasn’t looking…obviously I supervised her and stopped her if I saw her!) At her two year check the Health Visitor finally picked up on this (as a first time mother I had no idea this could be related to the diarrhoea, I just thought it was a toddler thing) and she had her iron levels checked: she was deficient, and I then realised that the diarrhoea was causing Elizabeth to be unable to absorb iron.
I researched allergy testing and the only thing we could afford at the time (and it was a stretch) was Vega Testing. Alan Hopewell ran a fortnightly clinic in Preston and I took Elizabeth along. By this point she was about 2 1/2. Basically, Vega testing is a method of testing for allergies and intolerances without the need for a blood test. Imagine your Mum’s old box of heated rollers…with a wire coming out of one end. That has a metal barrel on it. You hold that in your right hand. The other side of the box has a wire with a pen on it. Alan presses the pen onto a finger of your left hand, making a circuit. In the heated roller box goes the prospective allergen. So the first thing Alan did was to put a battery in there…and the finger on the dial dipped showing that Elizabeth was allergic to batteries (no surprise there since they aren’t supposed to be eaten!) Here’s a link with a picture of the ‘roller box’ (the best way I could think of to describe!)
The test showed Elizabeth to be sensitive to citric acid and vinegar. Alan advised we buy dry cured bacon, take her off apple juice, tomatoes, and sauces such as ketchup etc.
So I went home and took her off all the offending foods for three weeks and … nothing happened. She still had diarrhoea. I Googled Vega testing and up came LOADS of negative reviews on the test, saying it was quackery and I felt stupid. I thought I had really wasted my money. I admitted to Paul that it had been a waste of time and money and that I was giving up but he told me to persevere. Two more weeks passed and Elizabeth’s diarrhoea had gone. Completely! I was able to put her on the iron medicine prescribed without it causing her symptoms to get any worse, she began to look better, her hair eventually started to grow and finally at almost three years old I managed to potty train her.
When Imogen was born everything was fine until I stopped breastfeeding at around 8 months. She developed terrible eczema all over her body and she was really unhappy and itchy. I remembered Alan and was going to take her along but he was in our area one day so he called at our house and tested her. The results were that she was allergic to cow’s milk, chocolate and coffee (not that she had had coffee!) Out of curiosity Alan tested Paul and I for the cow’s milk allergy and Paul was allergic to it too! After a chat about Paul’s health Alan tested him too and we realised why Paul had asthma! As a child he used to have to wear cotton gloves to stop him scratching his eczema and as an adult he was on a preventative inhaler: Becotide and another, Ventolin inhaler for when his breathing was bad. Within five weeks Paul stopped using his inhalers because he no longer had asthma. He was 40 years old and had suffered with asthma his whole life and now he was free!
Leon suffers with exactly the same allergies as Imogen and I am sensitive to wheat, barley and rye. It is Oona who is completely different to the rest of us… she has a dairy intolerance like the other children but in addition to this she can’t cope with egg and reacts extremely badly to nightshades. I know that the test was correct because as soon as she has one of the offending foods she reacts immediately with a very physical, strong reaction:
this was after a tiny bit of paprika in a savoury biscuit. She was coughing and it was obviously stinging her tongue because she was putting her fingers in her mouth and trying to get the bits out.
I can tell you, hand on heart that our experience of Vega testing has been very positive. Very positive indeed. But due to all the bad press you can still find online about the ones you find in the likes of Holland and Barrett I can’t recommend it generally, I would only recommend Alan because I totally trust him. I have recommended him to friends too who have had similar, positive experiences.