Nutrition and allergy interact in a lot of ways. First, many allergic people may have trouble meeting all their nutritional requirements. Food allergies may force some to eliminate foods that customarily supply a large portion of their daily needs for particular vitamins or minerals. People who can’t drink milk or eat dairy products, for instance, may get too little calcium. People who are allergic to citrus fruits may not be getting enough vitamin Ñ. A few astute doctors and dietitians are also discovering that, because of the drain on the body created by allergies, people with allergic problems may have special needs for more of certain vitamins and minerals – and that those nutrients may even help to control allergy.
But the amounts of a vitamin or mineral that are needed to deal with allergic problems are often so high that a person needs to rely on supplements. People with food allergies, however, need to choose supplements as carefully as they choose their food, to avoid dyes or other ingredients that may trigger reactions.
At the time of writing, only a few people have taken a serious look at the interlocking aspects of nutrition and allergy. Those who have, however, say that proper nutrition – the right nutrients, in the right form and in large enough amounts — makes quite a difference in allergy control. Lyn Dart, a registered dietitian and supervisor of the nutrition department of the Environmental Health Center in Dallas, told us, ‘We’ve been working with nutrition for about two years. Without it, we weren’t as effective.’