How I Resolved My Child's Severe Allergy: A Journey of Discovery

How I Resolved My Child's Severe Allergy: A Journey of Discovery

Allergies or Food Sensitivity?

Which was it? We just did not know...

The Challenge of Identifying a
Food Allergy in an Infant

Betsy Sleeping

I was sitting there holding our 3-month-old daughter and she was screaming. Inconsolable. Both my wife and I felt like we were failing at our job as parents after trying to soothe and calm our sweet little girl, Betsy. The challenge was, we didn’t know the trigger. Eventually after a couple of hours, she would calm herself and sleep...only to wake again and start the whole process over again.
Bouncing, swaddling, feeding, soothing, singing, "shooshing", snuggling, or skin-to-skin...nothing seemed to work.

It was about this time that we noticed a rash popping up on our sweet Betsy. The bumps turned into hives and after some troubleshooting with her diet, weTesting for allergies in our child, Betsy realized that this was likely a food allergy. Betsy was breast feeding, so the assumption was that something in my wife Kathy’s diet was the culprit.
The question was...what?

Extreme Measures: A Mother's Love for Her Daughter

We considered the top eight allergens and rather than removing a potential allergen one at a time, Kathy went for it. With the help of Betsy’s pediatrician and Kathy’s primary care doctor, she whittled her diet down to ten non-inflammatory foods that she could eat. There were a couple of healthy proteins, several vegetables, and she added in avocado and coconut to get some healthy fats. She would then add in additional foods every couple of weeks to see Betsy’s reaction to her food choices. This was an extreme action for Kathy, but Betsy’s health and well-being was a priority. The discipline came from devout love for her daughter.

While the symptoms subsided, Betsy still had a very difficult time calming herself and the rash continued to come back often...even sporadically it seemed.
It was then that we consulted with the pediatrician. She recommended rubbing coconut oil on Betsy’s rash to calm it down. Following her advice, we did so and discovered that Betsy had an extreme reaction to coconut!  She broke out in a significant rash with hives and started to take a turn for the worse. Off to the hospital we went to get her the help that she needed. Betsy’s reaction was certainly to coconut, but likely other allergens as well. We had no idea how this would reshape our lives.

It was then determined that we should assess Betsy for allergies and avoid coconut at all costs. Little did we know that Betsy was not only reactive to coconut, but also to any derivative of coconut. We learned this the hard way.

Kathy is an occupational therapist and worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at one of the premier hospitals for neonatology in California. There was an amazing spray that was used in the hospital to remove odors (medical grade…the good stuff!). We brought some of this home and found this was a wonderful way to remove those not-so-pleasant odors that arise when changing diapers. We kept this spray by Betsy’s changing table and used it occasionally when it was really needed. Then we realized that there was a correlation between Betsy’s diaper changes and trying to soothe her afterwards. It was here we realized the problem. Listed as the seventh ingredient on this magical spray was a derivative of coconut! We felt grateful for the discovery and decided to see what other allergens would cause similar reactions.

Allergy testing wasn’t a breeze, but it was necessary, and Betsy and momma were both troopers. I think it was worse for me (not a fan of needles) than either of them! Ironically, the allergy tests were not conclusive. Betsy didn’t show specific allergens. In fact, the control response was actually the largest reaction! How could this be?

Allergic or not, we were staying away from coconut and Kathy stayed the course on her rather extreme diet, but this was the only thing that seemed to be helping our little girl.

The Surprising Solution: A Natural Remedy

It was at this time Dr. Tennant came to town for a family gathering and we stared to have a conversation about Betsy. Dr. Tennant is always curious about our family and has a sincere passion for kids. The conversation was as follows:

“How are the kiddos?” Dr. Tennant asked.
“Leroy and Nancy are doing well but we’re struggling with Betsy,” I responded.
“Oh, how so?” asked Dr. Tennant.
“Well, she’s reacting to coconut severely. Any derivative of coconut causes the same reaction, yet the allergy tests show she’s not "allergic" to coconut,” I stated.
Dr. Tennant asked if Betsy was on reflux medication. Odd question, I thought, but she was. “Yes,” I responded.
“I have a suggestion.” Dr. Tennant said. “I bet if you take Betsy off the reflux medication and increase her stomach acid, everything should go back to normal.”
“I thought stomach acid was the problem, so we needed the reflux for heartburn.”

Dr. Tennant responded, “Actually, heartburn is a sign of low stomach acid, and the reflux medication isn’t helping this. If she is still breast feeding and Kathy increases her iodine levels, it should transfer through the milk to Betsy and the problem should resolve itself.”

My mind was blown.

Give Kathy iodine and Betsy would get better? Really??

I thanked Dr. Tennant for his thoughts and time, and we continued with the party. I then followed up with several allergists and pediatricians who stated that Dr. Tennant’s theory might work.

The body does need adequate levels of iodine and iodide. Different tissues use different forms. Iodine is also one of the things the body needs to create stomach acid, in addition to zinc, salt, and vitamin B1. Theoretically this could make sense. If Betsy isn’t getting enough iodine, and we could increase her stomach acid, maybe this would all resolve?

This seemed like an incredible long shot, but it was worth a try. We went for it and Kathy continued on her strict diet all the while taking Dr. Tennant’s® Lugol’s Iodine Plus Capsules to increase her iodine levels in the hope that it would help our sweet girl.

Overcoming Allergies: How Dr. Tennant Helped Betsy

Nine months later, we received a call that we were accepted into a world-class allergy program that has helped many children to overcome anaphylaxis. The problem was, that this program was cash only, and was the cost of a very nice luxury car to complete her projected path. Either way, we were in. Whatever it took to get our precious Betsy back to a normal life.

We called the pediatrician and they suggested that we "test" Betsy before going into the clinic as Dr. Tennant’s theory did have merit. We scheduled the time in the clinic and had medical staff around (including the Epi-pen) and were going to test Betsy with coconut.

The first test was rubbing coconut oil on her skin. We tried a small amount on her leg…no reaction! We tried a bit more and still no reaction. We waited and then tried smelling the coconut. Again, no reaction. Then the kicker was having Betsy eat some of the fresh coconut meat. I was terrified but curious. Is this working?

Betsy ate the coconut meat – NO REACTION!

We couldn’t believe it! The pediatrician couldn’t believe it, but it worked. By increasing Kathy’s iodine levels while breast feeding, and stopping Betsy’s reflux medication, Betsy was able to create more stomach acid and digest the food to which she was sensitive.  How awesome is that?!

We had a similar story with our fourth child Clyde with sunflower. We did the same thing and now Kathy, Betsy and Clyde are all eating normal healthy diets without limitations and are living their best lives!

Thank you, Dr. Tennant, for your care, compassion, and kind thoughts, and thinking outside traditional medicine to help our family get our lives back!
Scott Jessen, Director of Product Development, Kathy Jessen and little sweet Betsy thank Dr.Tennant!
Scott and his whole family at the beach

Want to Learn More? Check out our Educational Materials:

Understanding Lugol's Iodine (27 min Video)

Guide to Taking Dr. Tennant's® Lugol's Iodine Liquid & Capsules
[Free Download]

Read More About Dr. Tennant's® Digestive Enzymes

Featured Products in This Article:

Dr. Tennant's® Lugol's Iodine Liquid

Dr. Tennant’s® Logol's Iodine Liquid

A great solution for supporting the body’s need for iodine and iodide. Iodine is one of the few elements required for cellular health that the body cannot produce, so it needs to be supplemented through food or additional nutrition. 

shop now

Dr. Tennant’s® Lugol's Iodine Plus CapsulesDr. Tennant’s® Lugol's Iodine Plus Capsules

 A complete iodine supplement solution with necessary co-factors Zinc, Selenium, B1 as well as Fulvic and Vitamin C necessary for proper iodine metabolism. 

shop now