Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Breathing May Be Bad for Your Health! IgG Delayed Sensitivities.

Delayed reactions to inhalants can make you illHere’s another best kept medical secret.

Particles in the air you are breathing may be making you ill in the form of delayed inhalant hypersensitivities causing a whole range of systemic symptoms.

Medical doctors – for the most part – only treat classic IgE immediate-onset allergies.  In fact, the current definition of “allergy” only includes this well known IgE meditated response.  These are immediate reactions to substances like pollens, mold spores, animal danders, dust, foods, insect venoms, latex, and drugs.

Here’s the kicker: your body could be making IgG antibodies causing delayed reactions – occurring several hours to several days later – to these very same substances.  These IgG – Type III hypersensitivity reactions can cause a range of  of inflammatory symptoms like joint and muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, rashes, sore throats, rhinitis, and so on.  They may also exacerbate co-occurring inflammatory conditions or autoimmune diseases.

I’m sorry if this sounds complex or confusing.  It’s really quite simple.  There’s a whole range of inhalant allergies – and food sensitivities too – that allopathic doctors don’t recognize or treat.  They will never mention them to you. You may suffer endlessly without ever finding the true cause.

I had no idea there are IgG inhalant hypersensitivities.  My IgE is remarkably low, indicating – in the world of allopathic medicine – that I have no allergies whatsoever.

Surprise, surprise. When I took the 16-Inhalant IgG Antibody Assessment it turns out I have delayed hypersensitivities to dust mites and mold.  Believe me, a light bulb turned on when I saw those results.  It explained so much about what was happening in my body.  This test might also be extremely helpful to you, especially if you have many mysterious, unexplained symptoms.

IgG antibodies:  what do they do?

Here’s a brief explanation of the function of IgG antibodies:

‘IgG antibodies represent the most prevalent class found in the blood. It is produced after reimmunization, or secondary response to antigen. It is the primary mediator of the memory immune response. Often involved in Type III delayed hypersensitivity reactions, IgG forms an immune complex with the allergen. This antibody/antigen complex activates complement (a group of small proteins found circulating in the blood stream that are involved in the release of inflammatory mediators), and enhances phagocytosis by opsonization. The inflammatory process is gradual and may take anywhere from several hours to several days, which is why this type of reaction is termed, delayed. Although immune cells called macrophages dispose of these immune complexes immediately, they only have a finite capacity to do so. Excess antigen may saturate the macrophages capacity resulting in the prolonged circulation of complexes and their deposition into the body tissues. Depending on which tissues are involved, it is thought that these complexes may be implicated in many different conditions/symptoms.”

There are two important points that standout for me:

  • The inflammatory process is gradual and may take anywhere from several hours to several days, which is why this type of reaction is termed, delayed.
  • Depending on which tissues are involved, it is thought that these complexes may be implicated in many different conditions/symptoms.

IgG reactions are difficult to assess because they occur so long after exposure to an aeroallergen or the intake of an allergenic food.  Your body might feel like a constant war zone and you have no idea why.  You literally have to be Nancy Drew to figure it out.  Testing is an excellent resource to aid the investigation.

IgG Antibody Testing:  the cutting edge of science

IgG antibody testing is one among a number of tests that are considered to be of “unknown efficacy” by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAI) and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).  These tests are considered investigational because the scientific evidence is not conclusive regarding their effects on health outcomes.

In other words, it’s too early to know if these test are effective.  It’s the cutting edge of science.

Nevertheless, IgG Antibody testing is helping people each and every day discover the true causes or contributors to their chronic illnesses.  Are they 100% accurate? Of course not.  Is any medical test 100% accurate?  The standard Skin-Prick Test used by conventional allergists is notoriously unreliable.

How to get an IgG Antibody Assessment

IgG Antibody Assessment tests are available through physicians who practice integrative medicine, clinical ecology, and naturopathy.  A blood sample is taken and sent to a lab for assessment.  Most alternative labs also conduct IgE and IgA Antibody Assessment as well if you wish to have a complete assessment for immediate-onset and delayed reactions.

Following is a sample report for the 16-Inhalant Panel IgG/IgA Assessment from U. S. BioTek Laboratories in Seattle.   IgG antibody testing is not yet available for tree pollens and a number of other substances, but the 16-Inhalant panel is a good start.

IgG Inhalant Antibody Assessment Test

IgG Inhalant Antibody Assessment Test

Grass IndoorMolds
BahiaCat AntigenAlternaria tenuis
BermudaCockroach, GermanAspergillus fumigatus
Brome, SmoothDog EpitheliaCladosporium herbarum
JohnsonDust Mite MixPenicillium notatum
Rye, PerennialHouse Dust
Sweet Vernal

U. S. BioTek is the only lab I know of that provides an IgG Inhalant Panel, whereas IgG Antibody Testing for food sensitivity is common in alternative labs.  If you know of other labs that provide IgG Inhalant testing, please let me know.

The benefit of IgG Antibody Testing

I’ve spoken with a number of people who have benefited greatly from taking an IgG hypersensitivity test.  They were able to pinpoint their hypersensitivities, reduce exposure to one or more allergens, and decrease their symptoms accordingly.

Often, IgG sensitivities are not forever.  People are sometimes able to overcome or greatly improve an IgG hypersensitivity by eliminating exposure for an extended period of time.  But the first step is finding out what your sensitivities are, and that’s where testing can be an invaluable guide.

I suspect this type of testing may be extremely useful to many people with chronic illness, especially when inflammation is an issue or an autoimmune condition is in play.  Why add fuel to the fire by eating foods or breathing substances that are unknowingly making you ill?

Naturally, there’s a cost involved as well as the chance of spending money only to discover that IgG hypersensitivities are not a problem for you.  On the other hand, identifying sensitivities could make a world of difference for your health and your whole life.  The best approach is to discuss the option with an alternative medical practitioner who understands your condition and can help you assess whether this testing may be relevant for you.

I would love to hear your own experience with delayed sensitivities and how you discovered your triggers.

P. S. I’m not a doctor, only sharing research and what has helped me.  Please check with a doctor regarding testing and treatments.

If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  Thanks so much! Sandra



100 inspirational quotes to celebrate 100 blog posts


Like a Flash of Lightning in the Sky


  1. Sandra,
    Wow this is packed with information I didn’t know. I will ask my doctor about the test. He is the type that would have it and would want to give it to me. Thanks for being so caring and thorough. I appreciate your research.

  2. Tess,

    I love sharing information that might help others improve their health. Thanks for your appreciation.

  3. This is really interesting, Sandra. Thanks for sharing. I do have moderately severe allergies, so this is something I’ll keep in mind for the future, should I explore my allergies more in depth. I would be curious to know about what lead you to the IgG antibody test, or what usually leads people to need it?

  4. That’s a really good question, Lynn. I’m sure a doctor or scientist would be able to answer it far better than I. My sense is that it’s the combination of unexplained inflammatory symptoms that come and go but are fundamentally chronic. The fact that the symptoms occur a few hours to several days later make it very difficult to track and understand. Another factor is the good luck of meeting an alternative physician or a person who has taken the test themselves and seen positive results. At this stage, scientists do not fully understand IgG responses to food, medicine, and inhalants so this question cannot be answered fully.

    There are different facets of the immune system that can come into play beyond IgE. IgG is one of them. Mast cells can also be activated upon directly – without IgE involvement – in the case of mast cell activation syndrome, and can cause acute (“shocker”) or chronic systems (“leaker”). I think the next decade will prove very interesting in unveiling new knowledge about immune-related allergy-like reactions. In addition, adult onset IgE allergies seem to be on the increase too.

    You really do have to be Nancy Drew to figure out mysterious illnesses sometimes! Many of these illnesses go undiagnosed for 7-10 years even after repeated visits to a medical doctor.

    It seems commonly understood that environmental toxins are playing a role in the increase in allergies all around.

  5. Hi Sandra, I have had IgA and IgE tests before but I don’t think I’ve had IgG. I am going to get my food allergies tested and this will be another thing to look at if I get no results from the food sensitivity testing.

  6. Hi Jennifer,

    I really thought of you when I was writing this post. From what you’ve said, some type of allergy reaction to food or inhalants could be part of your health puzzle. Thereare IgG tests for delayed reactions to foods and inhalants.

    This type of article isn’t necessarily the most popular on my blog, but I feel compelled to write them in the event the information might be of help to even just a few people.

    Good luck!

  7. I’ve been sick for years: bleary, fuzzy headed, mentally and physically low energy.
    After years of trying to figure it out, I realized my grain mills had mold in them. When they were cleaned, I was less sick. I thought something in my house was making me sick.
    So I rented a room in a motel, going home twice a day to walk my dog and feed her, with an allergy mask on. I did get well! after about a week.
    Then, I went to the SPCA and I spent 4 hours cuddling dogs. I slowly started to feel sick while sitting with them and after 2 hours I was feeling mentally out of it. No sneezing or congestion. I took a shower and changed into clean clothes afterwards.
    Right after coming out of the SPCA, I was walking very slowly and I had trouble reading because my mind was so scattered. I was very out of it.
    My eyeballs were itching that night. The following day, I was still walking around slowly. I felt quite sick and blurry and I stayed in bed a lot.
    Three days after going to the SPCA, I checked out of the motel and went home, still rather sick. I guess the allergic reaction lasts about a week. I felt worse the day after I went home.
    Right after this, I got allergy skin testing and it was all negative! I used to have inhalant allergies. A few years ago I had 53 of them in intradermal skin tests.
    I don’t think my dog reaction could be a non-specific irritant reaction, because an irritant reaction wouldn’t last a week.
    SO, I demonstrated a definite non-IgE inhalant allergy.
    There are actually some things that medical research knows about this. There is “nonallergic rhinitis”, which can involve “nasal eosinophilia”. Eosinophils are a kind of white blood cell that’s involved in inflammation. There’s “eosinophilic fungal rhinosinusitis”, which involves a reaction of the eosinophils to Aspergillus & maybe other molds. When they encounter Aspergillus, the eosinophils release a very irritating substance called Major Basic Protein. It’s cell-mediated immunity, which is different from antibody-mediated immunity. So if eosinophils can react to Aspergillus, they can probably react to pollen, dog dander, and so on.
    The medical research so far as I’ve read seems to indicate that these puzzling food and inhalant sensitivities are from cell-mediated immunity, not IgG antibodies. There’s new research on gluten sensitivity that indicates it’s from innate immunity, not an autoimmune disease. About 10% of people are gluten sensitive but don’t have celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease. About half of gluten sensitive people had high IgG and IgA antibodies to gluten – but the gluten sensitivity wasn’t antibody-mediated. IgG antibody levels may give you clues about what you need to avoid. With irritable bowel syndrome, there’s some evidence that it helps to avoid foods that one has high IgG antibodies to.
    But since so little is known about it, I would rely on one’s reaction to inhalant allergens – doing the kind of test I did – not on IgG antibody levels.
    I doubt that from inhalants you would get the reactions like joint and muscle pain and rashes. That sounds like it’s copied from non-IgE food reactions, which can have those symptoms. I haven’t had such symptoms from inhalants, though I have from food.
    I’m working on a website about this. It’ll be ready in a few weeks. Look at my website above then click on “my amazing adventures in biological self-help”.

    • Thanks! There’s great information here. The research is evolving and some day – hopefully in the not too distant future – we will know much more about how these other types of non-IgE reactions occur. I agree that cell-meditated immunity is a factor in some cases and IgG in others. I know I get joint and muscle pain from inhaling mold. I have absolutely no doubt about that. I agree that the best kind of test we can do is the personal one like you tried. But it can still be hard to detect the correct trigger when you have multiple triggers and sometimes we can make the wrong conclusions. It’s challenging for sure. I really appreciate your contribution. Thank you some much and good luck with your new website.

      • What does your mold reaction feel like otherwise? Does it include a blurry feeling, like there’s a cloud in your head? Not a metaphorical cloud, but something you perceive in your awareness?
        That’s what I feel like after inhaling allergens like mold. “woozy”, sick, mentally and physically low energy. The dog exposure was very intense, when it’s less intense I think it would be the blurry, woozy state.
        You say people sometimes get over these allergies by avoiding the allergen for an extended period of time. How long is “extended”?
        Allergists talk about “cyclic food allergies”, which last only a few months. I’m hoping that this kind of inhalant allergy is similar. Perhaps they are mostly to perennial allergens, because one’s body has a break from the seasonal allergens. Do you think so?
        When I found out I have non-IgE inhalant allergies, a lot of things made sense:
        – why my allergy symptoms aren’t the usual allergy symptoms (stuffiness, sneezing, red eyes)
        -why I got sick from allergy shots. I quit allergy shots because I would get this blurry mentally-and-physically-tired feeling for days after the shot. Now I realize, I had a non-IgE reaction to the shots! Probably the allergy shots weren’t helping, because from what I’ve heard about non-IgE food allergies, exposure doesn’t desensitize a person. I was told this kind of reaction to allergy shots isn’t normal. I don’t know how uncommon it is.
        – I tried sublingual allergy drops. But I had one of my food reactions to them, even though I didn’t swallow the drop and washed my mouth out with water several times. I don’t know if I was getting sick from a super-tiny amount that went down my throat, or if I had a reaction in my mouth.
        The allergist was VERY puzzled! I wonder how common this is. How many people with “nonallergic rhinitis” need to avoid allergens? These kind of allergies are certainly hard to figure out, if you’re being chronically exposed. I had to first eliminate the mold in my grain mills before I could figure it out. I tried that same experiment with the motel a couple years ago, before I’d gotten the mold out of my grain mills – eating quinoa & amaranth – and I didn’t get any better. So it has been quite a process.
        And the skin tests for allergies are misleading people, too! IgG test results should also be taken with a grain of salt.
        Allergists don’t seem to think it’s significant if one doesn’t have the usual allergy symptoms. They would diagnose me with allergic rhinitis, even though I wasn’t obviously congested. But maybe it is significant.
        I had a very slight dog allergy with skin testing last fall. So when I had this dog reaction, I thought the late phase of my allergic reaction is very ramped-up. You know there’s a late phase which involves generalized inflammatory stuff, eosinophils, etc.
        But then when I got the allergy test and it was negative for dogs – I realized I’m having something like a late-phase allergic reaction WITHOUT the early phase It’s supposed to be a cascade where the early phase causes the late phase.
        The immune system is very complicated, and cell-mediated immunity and IgG might be both operating in this.
        A gluten-free diet might help. I probably have celiac disease, and I have non-IgE allergies to most foods. Maybe having non-IgE inhalant reactions is associated with gluten sensitivity. Gluten seems to cause a lot of havoc in the immune system, not only for people who have celiac disease, and over years, perhaps avoiding it helps.

        • Hi Laura,

          Wow, you’ve been through so much! I hope you are finding some clarity and some improvement.

          No, I don’t necessarily get a feeling like there’s a cloud in my head. I sometimes get pain in my lungs. Other times I wake up the next day like I’ve been hit by a truck, all my muscles and joints hurt and are stiff.

          You are right when you say this is all very complicated. I’ve been studying it and myself for years and have some clues, some answers, but not a whole picture. Like you say, more than one system (cell mediated, IgG, etc.) may be in play at once. In addition, we may have impaired detoxification pathways that add to the overall picture. For example, impaired glucuronidation in the case of those with Gilbert’s Syndromeif their systems become overwhelmed.

          I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity and haven’t eaten gluten for more than 5 years. I suspect that the genes involved in gluten sensitivity are also related to these other immune connected non IgE challenges. It’s like the genes get set off and havoc ensues. Research will tell us in time!

          I wish you all the best in discovery good solutions for you.

  8. by the way I had this blurry cloud in my head mentally and physically out of it feeling for years before I went gluten-free and quit eating other foods I was allergic to. After I quit those foods, it went away for several years. It returned recently, most likely from being chronically exposed to dog dander.
    So “nonallergic rhinitis” can also be from foods.

  9. I made a webpage on the research on the allergies that may be involved in “nonallergic rhinitis” – click on my name to go to that site.
    Researchers think that more than 40% of people with “nonallergic rhinitis” – that is, they have rhinitis but negative skin tests for allergies – have LOCAL IgE allergies in their nose! The paper on my website describes ways that local allergic rhinitis could be diagnosed, but I don’t think one’s local allergist would do it.
    What I’ve been sick with seems to be rhinitis. Rhinitis doesn’t necessarily involve congestion or sneezing or a runny nose. You can just have that cloud-in-your-head mental and physically tired feeling. At least this is what allergists have told me.
    There was other research suggesting non-IgE inhalant allergies involving innate immunity and immunoglobulin free light chains, which can apparently trigger mast cells to release histamine as IgE antibodies do.
    IgG might actually be involved as part of the body’s attempt to control an allergy. Allergy shots work by causing IgG antibodies to be produced, which block IgE, and eventually less IgE is made.
    I’m also working on a webpage about food sensitivities, see
    There’s been a LOT of research about gluten sensitivity in all sorts of psychiatric, neurological, etc. conditions. Validating a lot of what people have been describing about the effects of gluten.
    I often run into people who have problems that might be helped by a gluten-free diet. I think it’s rather common for people to be severely damaged by gluten sensitivity. I associate a certain psychology as perhaps gluten-damaged: extreme sensitivity about boundaries, tension, rage, irritability, apprehension.

  10. People have non-IgE immune reactions to mold. For example, see
    These mold reactions are suspected to promote inflammation and allergies.
    So when you talk about your unconventional mold reactions, I wonder if there’s a lot of mold in your environment, either as an inhalant or in your food.
    Perhaps you should concentrate on doing everything possible to reduce your exposure to mold: don’t eat food with mold (dried food, cheese, yeast, etc. etc. – there are low-mold diets you can look up); dehumidify the place you live, etc., and maybe after a while your non-IgE inhalant allergies will clear up.
    I have living space in my basement, with a finished wall built on damp concrete block. I just found out that a below-grade wall in my house had a LOT of moldy wood in it, and wood that was so rotten it was falling to pieces.
    I’ve been through hell with inhalant allergies in the last 10 years that I’ve lived in this house. I used to live in a much drier climate, and there I only had a few allergies and I didn’t spend much time sick with allergies. But about 4 years ago, living here in a damp climate, I had 53 inhalant allergies in intradermal skin tests. I would get quite sick after skin testing for allergies. And allergies showed up in blood tests.
    I wonder how much this rotten wall has to do with that!
    Recently when I got intradermal allergy testing, it was almost completely negative, and I didn’t get sick afterwards. So, I think my allergies now are a local reaction happening in my nose.
    I did more allergy experiments recently. I went to live in a motel again. When I was feeling OK, not bleary and fuzzy mentally any more, I visited my dog at the kennel where she was staying. I went for a short walk with her without my hepa filter mask on. Then with the filter mask on, I spent about a minute in the kennel area saying goodbye to her. And I got sick from this! It wasn’t nearly as severe as after I spent 4 hours at the SPCA cuddling dogs, but I was still sick and impaired.
    So, even if you have negative skin tests for an allergen, you can be quite sensitive to it!
    I hope that when I’ve finished cleaning up that rotting wall, my dog allergy will eventually go away. There shouldn’t be major mold in my house after that. It will take longer than 9 days, because I’d been staying in the motel for 9 days when I did my allergy experiment.
    Non-IgE reactions to mold illuminate a puzzling issue: Lots of people say mold has bad effects on them. And they don’t necessarily have mold allergies. Mold does make ugly toxins, but the scientific consensus on that is that these people wouldn’t be exposed to enough mold as an inhalant to be literally poisoned by it. If they actually eat mold, they could be poisoned by it, but as an inhalant, it’s unlikely.
    It’s through the immune system that people have reactions to really tiny quantities.
    So when I found out that people have innate immune reactions to mold (non-IgE), perhaps cell-mediated immunity to mold, etc. – that explains a lot.

    • You’ve really been through so much, Laura! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I’m sure it will be illuminating for others. My problems did begin when I lived in a moldy house. There’s no mold in my current house, but I do live in a relatively rainy and moldy environment. I’m cautious though, get as much sun as possible, and do not eat foods that contain mold. These are such complex stories, aren’t they?! I’m glad you have been making progress. There are whole areas of medicine yet to be revealed.

  11. Also, perhaps you can have IgE allergies in intradermal tests, even though you have a low total blood IgE.
    I’ve been to mainstream allergists who’ve said that allergies don’t necessarily show up in the blood.
    The intradermal skin testing is quite sensitive, and trying it may be a good idea, if you haven’t yet.

    • Laura,

      I’ve had the prick testing from a traditional allergist with no remarkable results. In my case, I’m quite certain it’s the innate immune system with a little mast cell activation on the side!

      • Sandra,
        The skin-prick testing is a lot less sensitive than intradermal allergy testing. They inject a lot less allergen. I’ve never had positive skin-prick testing. Most of the allergists I’ve seen have used the skin-prick test as a precaution before they do intradermal testing, to check if someone might have a dangerous reaction to intradermal testing.
        I got blood and skin allergy testing a few years ago. My total IgE was 10.3 kU/L, they said < 25 kU/L is normal.
        Then they did intradermal allergy testing and I had many allergies according to that. They measure the histamine bump on your skin.
        It sounds like you bumped into a mainstream allergist who didn't believe in intradermal testing. Some allergists are very "strict" about what they consider to be allergies. It makes life easy for them, because they only deal with the drastic obvious cases with classical symptoms. But they exclude a lot of people. I ran into one such allergist.
        In my experience the intradermal testing didn't give false positives – if the skin tests said I had a problem with an allergen, I did.
        Likely, a mainstream allergist who does intradermal skin testing would diagnose you with IgE allergies. The IgE reaction causes other immune reactions and inflammatory reactions later, maybe this causes things like joint pain.

      • The intradermal allergy testing might catch a lot of people with less-conventional symptoms.
        People differ in the allergy symptoms they have. There’s a whole sequence of reactions called the “allergic cascade”, and people differ in how strong the different stages are. Some people might have a smaller initial IgE response, that doesn’t show up in the blood and does show up in intradermal tests. Then they might experience a strong late-phase inflammatory reaction.
        But, this late-phase inflammatory reaction might be preventable by stopping the initial small IgE response.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén