Empiric 6-food elimination diet induced and maintained prolonged remission in patients with adult eosinophilic esophagitis: A prospective study on the food cause of the disease

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BackgroundAlthough empiric exclusion from the diet of the 6 food groups most likely to trigger allergies achieves eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) remission in children, data on its prolonged efficacy and effects on adults are lacking.ObjectiveWe sought to evaluate the efficacy of a 6-food elimination diet in inducing and maintaining prolonged remission in patients with adult EoE.MethodsSixty-seven consecutive patients with adult EoE were prospectively recruited and treated exclusively with a diet avoiding cereals, milk, eggs, fish/seafood, legumes/peanuts, and soy for 6 weeks. Subsequent challenge was undertaken by sequentially reintroducing all excluded single foods, followed by endoscopy and biopsies, which were developed every 6 weeks in case of response (eosinophil peak count reduction to <15/high-power field [hpf]). A food was considered a trigger for EoE and removed from the diet if pathologic eosinophilic infiltration (≥15 eosinophils/hpf) reappeared. Food-specific serum IgE measurements and skin prick tests were performed before initiating the diet.ResultsForty-nine (73.1%) patients exhibited significantly reduced eosinophil peak counts (<15 eosinophils/hpf) before sequential single-food reintroduction. A single offending food antigen was identified in 35.71% of patients, 2 food triggers were identified in 30.95%, and 3 or more food triggers were identified in 33.3%. Cow's milk was the most common food antigen (61.9%), followed by wheat (28.6%), eggs (26.2%), and legumes (23.8%). Prior allergy tests showed no concordance with food-reintroduction challenge results. All patients who continued to avoid the offending foods maintained histopathologic and clinical EoE remission for up to 3 years.ConclusionsAn empiric 6-food elimination diet effectively induced remission of active adult EoE, which was maintained for up to 3 years with individually tailored, limited exclusion diets.

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