Chronic Allergies:
What to Know, How to Identify and Alleviate

A modern update on nonreaginic allergy in theory and practice.

Did you know that extensive fatigue, mood swings, and radical behavioral changes can all be allergic reactions? Read on!

Because many allergic reactions can include not only physical symptoms but emotional, mental, and physical ones, monitoring and identifying chronic allergies to food, medicine, and inhalants can be extremely difficult. Without the proper training and testing techniques, doctors will usually misdiagnose or fail to connect your mental and emotional symptoms with your actual allergies.

The Coca Pulse Test, created by Dr. Arthur F. Coca in the early twentieth century, is an easy way to identify allergies that cause these symptoms. This test came about as the result of Dr. Coca’s discovery that allergies not caused by a reaction with the blood correlate to an increase in heart palpitations before, during, and after patients consume a food, medicine, or inhalant they’re allergic to.

With an increased understanding of what causes your allergies, what symptoms you should look out for, and how this test works, you can help your practitioner implement the Coca Pulse Test for a more accurate diagnose—and even a cure for any undiagnosed allergies you may have.

Nonreaginic Allergies

Before we discuss how to identify and diagnose your allergies, we first must understand what nonreaginic allergies are, what causes them, and what symptoms they can lead to.

Allergies that are not related to adverse reactions with the blood, such as pollen and hay fever, are known as “nonreaginic” allergies, which are defined as follows:

  1. They are not hereditary and not connected to genetic predispositions.
  2. They cannot be directly connected with allergic antibodies during skin irritation tests.
  3. Their symptoms differ from those of blood-related
  4. The allergic reaction is preceded or accompanied by acceleration of the pulse.

In his 1945 research paper “Nonreaginic Allergy in Theory and Practice,” Dr. Granville F. Knight explains that when they first became a medical concept over 2,000 years ago, it was generally understood that allergies (or “serum sickness”) could be identified by “the tissue injury reflected in the symptoms due to irritation produced by the interaction of antibody and antigen.”

Then, in the mid-1940s, Dr. Coca made a profound discovery. He found that not all allergies are caused by the interaction of antibody and antigen. In fact, some could include non-blood related symptoms, which, Dr. Coca noted, standard testing procedures could not account for.

Dr. Coca’s research was revolutionary. He found that heart rate elevation correlated with the consumption of food and inhalants that patients were allergic to, both during and after they consumed it.

This is how Dr. Coca came to identify the most accurate way to measure nonreaginic allergies: through the heart rate. Along with an elevated heart rate, he noticed specific, nonphysical reactions, including extensive fatigue, mood swings, and radical behavioral changes, that had previously remained unexplained.

Dr. Coca’s findings have not received more intent study by mainstream medicine. We can probably attribute this fact to the radical changes it would make to the medical field—in particular to our understanding and treatment of allergies. Even so, his work can better help us identify and diagnose atypical symptomatic allergic reactions with more accuracy.


According to Dr. Coca’s research, nonreaginic allergies can lead to a wide range of reactions in the human body that are emotional or mental rather than physical in nature. Usually, people with such symptoms are considered to have psychiatric issues, but in reality they may simply have a food or inhalant allergen. Lethargy or hyper-activism can be symptoms of an undiagnosed nonreaginic allergy. Other symptoms can include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Emotional depression
  • Mental confusion or memory lapse
  • Frequent canker sores, gingival swelling, and irritation
  • Diabetes
  • Behavior problems in children
  • Nervous breakdowns in adults

Many of these symptoms can result from staples in our daily consumption habits. Whether it’s tobacco, a particular food, certain drugs or medications, or even the dust in our usual environment, continuous consumption can cause recurring emotional and mental issues.

As Dr. Coca explains, “Inhalants such as house dust, insect sprays, paint fumes, exhaust gasses, coal and natural gas, food odors and tobacco smoke are potent allergens.” Furthermore, these possible allergens can be identified through nonreaginic heart rate tests.

Beware the False Positive

Before you start associating your symptoms with an allergic reaction, know that your heart rate can be impacted by other factors as well, and this may create a false positive diagnosis.

If you ask your practitioner for the Coca Pulse Test, watch out for the following complicating factors:

  • Virus infections (common cold or recurring sinus infections)
  • Emotional crisis (reaction can be drastically reduced after removing the food allergy)
  • Exercise and activity levels
  • Fatigue
  • Menopause
  • Vitamin B complex deficiency
  • Presence of alcohol or other altering drugs in the system

Heart Rate Chart (or the Coca Pulse Test)

According to Dr. Coca’s research, the easiest way to identify a reaction to nonreaginic allergies is to do a 24–48-hour rate chart—or the more aptly named Coca Pulse Test.

By tracking your heart rate before, during, and after eating or consuming something you’re averse to, you can track any significant spikes in your heart beats per minute. This offers you proof of the allergy. Once you have that list, consult with a physician or practitioner who can train you on proper pulse taking and give you charts to record your data.

For practitioners interested in implementing this test, please refer to the “Methods of Investigation” in the paper I mention above, “Nonreaginic Allergy in Theory and Practice,” by Dr. Granville Knight.

When measuring your heart rate, a difference of twenty beats or more between the high and low pulse of the day, or a single reading of ninety or more, is evidence of an adverse reaction to something in your diet or something you consume habitually.

Practitioners should note that an elevated heart rate caused by an adverse reaction can last from one to four days, meaning that a twenty-four-hour measurement may not accurately reflect spikes and drops. Also, removing the allergen for seven weeks can result in a temporary loss of sensitivity, and therefore make it appear as though the allergen is cured. If a patient resumes their daily consumption of the allergen, reactions could be worse than before.


The most important thing to remember when diagnosing and treating your nonreaginic allergies is to avoid all foods, drugs, and inhalants that produce both your symptoms and the spikes in your heart rate.

To accurately identify what is spiking your heart rate, you need to create a list of all foods and substances that are staples of your diet. Anything that you consume on a regular basis is important to identify, including tobacco, medicine, and food. Eliminate only one item at a time. Removing multiple items can lead to an error in testing.

If the allergy results from one of your favorite foods, there’s still good news. After several months of abstaining, many people show no symptoms when they introduce the food back into their diet once or twice a week. If the problem is a sensitivity to dust, you can benefit greatly from hypoallergenic bedding and other materials that will reduce your symptoms.

In Conclusion

Although the concept of nonreaginic allergies may seem simple, it hasn’t been widely adopted in the mainstream medical field. Before that happens, the following things would need to change:

  1. We must revise our conception of the “normal” pulse rate and range.
  2. We must recognize that many disease states heretofore classified as idiopathic (or unknown) should be recognized as allergic reactions.
  3. We must acknowledge that we’ve taken one more step forward in understanding the causes of many of our so-called degenerative diseases.
  4. We must recognize that the widespread incidence of this type of allergy affects nearly 90 percent of the population, but only 7–10 percent receive a diagnosis.

If you’re interested in learning more about nonreaginic allergies and better understanding the principles of the pulse test, read this free copy of The Pulse Test by Arthur F. Coca, M.D.

Images from iStock/caimacanul (main image), udra (allergens), johan63 (heart rate). 

James Lopez

James Lopez is a technical writer and independent marketing consultant. He currently is assisting SRP develop their internal sales programs as well as help identify better ways to educate patients on alternative holistic and nutrition based healthcare and remedies. He is based out of Denver, CO.

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