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History of the Dr. Carroll Food Intolerance Evaluation Method


Dr. Otis G. Carroll is considered one of the most significant naturopathic physicians of the twentieth century. He practiced from 1917 - 1962, in Spokane, Washington. His clinic was the most famous west of the Mississippi, and he was the primary teacher of those who taught such renowned physicians as Dr. Bastyr, Dr. Dick, and others. His clinic was a “Mecca” of healing, drawing people from all over the world. His work was based upon the European nature-cure approach, which favored a simple vegetarian diet, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and herbal medicine.

With all of his success, he was unable to help his chronically ill son. This stimulated his continual search for better methods, which led him to the work of Stanford’s Dr. Abrams, a professor of physiology. Abrams had been experimenting with new techniques in diagnosis. Dr. Carroll modified Abrams’ work to devise a method of evaluating for foods which are not well digested or metabolized in a particular body, and thereby become a source of mal-digestion, intestinal toxemia, dysbiosis, and chronic irritation to body tissues. This naturopathic concept was not a part of standard medicine. Through this work, Carroll discovered that his son was intolerant to fruit, which he had always thought was a perfect and healing food for anyone. He removed fruit from his son’s diet, and for the first time his son recovered.

In applying this method of evaluating to all of his patients from this point on, he determined that there were common categories of food intolerance. Most people evaluated intolerant to one of the following foods or food categories: milk, egg, meat, sugar, fruit, grain and potato. In addition, he discovered that most people had a problem with one or more combinations of food, similarly not well tolerated. The most common food combinations were these: grain with potato, grain with milk, grain with fruit, grain with sugar, and fruit with sugar. Other, less common intolerances, were to soy, nuts, fish and seafood.

Food intolerance evaluation as devised by Dr. Carroll is similar, in some respects, to the bioelectronics testing of Voll, from which many biofeedback mechanisms, which are currently in use, have evolved. In the analysis, the patient is evaluated using specific electric circuit and exposed to various foods in contact with a reagent. Fluctuations in the current are detected and thereby, the outcome of the evaluation is determined. (For further information, consult writings by or about Abrams, such as “The Electronic Reaction of Abrams”, which is available from Health Research Press of Mekuloumne Hill, California. Copies of Abram’s books and papers can be found at the Library of the National College of Medicine in Portland, Oregon.)


Food Intolerance Evaluation is not an allergy test. Currently, we are aware of several different kinds of reactivity to foods. Intolerance involves digestion and metabolism, and is an enzymatic phenomenon, genetically determined. Food intolerance is the inability of a particular body to easily digest or metabolize a particular food. As a consequence, mal-digestion occurs, and toxic metabolites are formed in the intestine and absorbed into the blood. These will affect or interfere with normal function of the body, and become part of the basis of chronic illness.

Allergy is an immune system reaction in which food is perceived as if it were a foreign protein and the body inappropriately reacts, creating symptoms. Allergy is often the result of an underlying intolerance. There are other, less well defined reactions, which can occur to food in a body, which are generally referred to as food sensitivities. There are currently several methods of food allergy testing in use.

Information furnished by Dr. Jared Zeff, N.D., L.AC.

Get one on one advice for your Food Intolerances from Sandra Strom

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