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An elemental diet is achieved via the use of nutritionally complete, amino acid-containing formulas. These formulas are referred to as "elemental formulas" because the protein in the formula is in the form of amino acids rather than whole, intact protein. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein, and the body breaks down proteins into amino acids during the process of digestion. Allergic reactions can develop against intact or partially broken down protein, but not against amino acids.
Elemental formulas, when taken in the prescribed amount, can provide all of the calories, vitamins and minerals that a person needs.
A six-food elimination diet involves avoiding all foods that contain the six most commonly implicated dietary antigens in the United States, i.e. milk, soy, wheat, eggs, fish (and shellfish) and peanuts (and tree nuts), regardless of allergy testing results.
An elimination diet involves avoiding specific foods that have been implicated in causing an eosinophil-associated gastrointestinal disorder (EGID). These foods are usually identified by skin prick testing.
There is nothing easy about following any type of dietary therapy. However, with the support of their families and our team, many patients have successfully adhered to and used dietary therapy. These patients commonly practice the three "A's" to dietary therapy success:
**Testing and treatment for food-related allergies should be guided with the supervision of a trained physician in the field.
Our team dietitian, Carol J. Henderson, PhD, RD, LD, works closely with patients and families with eosinophilic disorders, who often must adhere to specialized diets and dietary therapy regimens. A research associate in the Division of Allergy and Immunology, she and other members of our center's multidisciplinary team published a manuscript evaluating the comparative effectiveness of dietary therapy and the utility of skin tests to direct dietary planning in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis.
We provide eosinophilic patients and families with a list of patient advocacy organizations as well as contact information for other support services outside Cincinnati Children's.
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