The Carroll Food Intolerance Evaluation and Its Applications

Letitia Dick-Kronenberg, ND

Dick_2Last August, I treated a young patient named Alyssa. She is 3 years old and is confined to a pediatric wheelchair. Her mother flew with her from Las Vegas, Nevada, to see me in Spokane, Washington. Little Alyssa has a rare genetic disorder called incontinentia pigmenti. The symptoms of this disorder include a blistering hyperpigmentation of the skin in addition to complications involving the central nervous system. Concomitant symptoms are abnormal dentition, alopecia, delayed development, mental retardation, muscle spasms, paralysis, seizures, and vision problems. Alyssa is taking phenobarbital, valproic acid, baclofen, ranitidine, and lansoprazole. She has been on and off corticosteroids and has had pneumonia numerous times. In addition, Alyssa cannot be fed orally because of eosinophilic esophagitis. She uses a G-tube to feed, which causes an almost immediate bout of projectile vomiting. Because of this constant vomiting or retching, Alyssa weighed only 27 lb. The primary reason for her visit with me was to seek help with this “excessive/repetitive vomiting.”

With a small blood sample, I evaluated Alyssa using the food intolerance method by Dr Otis G. Carroll (http://www.thecarrollinstitute.org/). I determined that she is intolerant of potato and soy and that fruit and sugar must be kept separate in her diet by 8 hours. I developed a feeding tube formula using whole organic cow or goat milk, honey or agave (as sweeteners), an RNA supplement, cod liver oil, and a digestive enzyme with probiotic. This was given at each feeding. As soon as possible, we added Drenatophin, Pituitrophin, and inositol niacinate by standard process. These were ground in a mortar and pestle before adding them to the G-tube formula. Alyssa’s medical dietician and her medical team of providers approved this regimen. As she has improved since August, other whole foods have been added to her nutritional schedule.

The following is a note I received from Alyssa’s mother recently. She is now cutting teeth, has grown to 38 in tall (almost 3 in during 3 months), is talking and learning to walk, and rarely vomits. She is now consuming oral pureed food.

Dr. Tish, I do not know that even if I wrote a book I could find the words to express how grateful I am for you and all the people at Windrose. It has not been very long since the day I sat across the desk from you holding a weak and ill little girl. The weeks that followed were certainly a struggle and a bit of “it’ll get worse before it gets better.” However, we entered August full of worry and anxiety about our daughter. As we enter October, we are full of hope and gratitude. The little girl who spent time every day puking and struggling…well, she now goes days without so much as gagging. The little girl who was on an elemental diet is now getting puréed whole food both enteric[al]ly and even a bit orally. The little girl who had lost her balance and strength will now sit for nearly ten minutes and take steps with assistance. All of this? In just a few short weeks? I once again have hope for the little girl that I spend my days with. I hadn’t even realized how much of it I had lost until the moment I heard “Mama!” from across the room and turned to see Alyssa smiling back at me. It was a moment that will forever in my mind be like a scene in a movie. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing what you do every day. You make the world a better place just by being in it.

—All of my gratitude, Jessica Schedeneck

Without the Carroll food intolerance evaluation, I would have been at a loss as to what to feed this little girl. The potato and soy in her hypoallergenic G-tube formula were the source of the inflammatory reaction and total revulsion by her gastrointestinal system. Alyssa could not thrive on a formula that proved to be very toxic.

The Carroll food intolerance method of testing, often referred to as a Carroll test or food intolerance test, is not a standard diagnostic test. We do not use this test to diagnose disease. We use it to help us understand the digestive and metabolic capacity of a patient’s body.

Dr Carroll is one of the most significant NDs of the past century. He practiced from 1917 to 1962 in Spokane. His work was based on the Thomsonian system of healing, which favored a simple vegetarian diet, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, physiotherapy, and botanical medicine. Dr Carroll developed constitutional hydrotherapy, as well as his method of food intolerance evaluation, which we now call the Carroll test. Dr Carroll passed on his therapy and evaluation methods only to Dr Leo Scott and Dr Harold Dick. Dr Scott did not instruct anyone else in the methods that we know of. Dr Harold Dick taught Dr Jared Zeff and myself (Dr Dick’s daughter). Because so few were trained in this valuable method, Dr Zeff and I founded in Spokane the Carroll Institute of Natural Healing, a nonprofit postdoctoral training program to continue the teachings of Dr Carroll.

Dr Carroll’s practice in Spokane was extremely busy. He had great success in treating acute and chronic health conditions, including tuberculosis and multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, he was unable to help his chronically ill son Bill. This stimulated his continual search for better methods of treatment, which led him to the work at Stanford University (Stanford, California) by Albert Abrams, MD, a professor of physiology. Abrams had been experimenting with new techniques in diagnosis. Dr Carroll modified Abrams’ work to devise a method of evaluating foods that are not well digested or metabolized by the body. Such foods become a source of dysbiosis, leading to maldigestion, intestinal toxemia, and chronic irritation of the body tissues. Through this work, Dr Carroll discovered that his son was intolerant to fruit, which he had always thought was a perfect and healing food for everyone. He removed fruit from Bill’s diet, and for the first time his son was well. By using this method of food intolerance evaluation in all of his patients, Dr Carroll learned that there were common categories of food intolerances. Most patients were found to be intolerant to 1 of the following groups: dairy, egg, meat, fruit, potato, or sugar. In addition, Dr Carroll discovered that most patients had an incompatibility with 1 or more combinations of food groups. The most common problematic combinations that he observed were fruit with sugar, potato with grain, dairy with grain, fruit with grain, and sugar with grain. Other intolerance possibilities are now known to occur.

The Carroll test is different from allergy tests that are used to determine which foods or substances may be overwhelming the immune system at a particular moment in time. The Carroll evaluation determines an innate imbalance in the genetic predisposition to digest particular foods or food groups. These results appear to be lifelong. Food intolerance is unchanging and needs to be determined only once.

Food intolerance evaluation as devised by Dr Carroll is similar in some respects to bioelectronic testing by Reinhold Voll, MD, whose work gave rise to many biofeedback mechanisms now in use. In the Carroll evaluation, a small blood sample is obtained on a piece of absorbent paper, much like a phenylketonuria test for a newborn. The blood sample is then placed in an electric circuit, provided by an instrument originally designed by Dr Carroll himself, and since upgraded to solid state. The blood sample is then exposed to various foods in contact with a reagent. Tiny fluctuations in the current are detected, which indicate subtle energy changes in the body that show if the food being challenged is compatible with the blood sample or not. If the food is not compatible, then the incompletely metabolized version of the food identified is likely to cause gut toxemia if eaten. This resultant toxemia is the basis of all disease processes in the body, in accord with nature cure philosophy and principles of healing. (For further information, you may want to consult the writings by or about Abrams such as The Electronic Reactions of Abrams, which is available from Health Research, Mokelumne Hill, California. Copies of Abrams’ books and papers can also be found at the library of the National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, Oregon.)

To become proficient in Carroll testing, a training period of 3 to 12 months is required. Training information and classes can be found at http://www.thecarrollinstitute.org/. The following photograph shows Dr Carroll’s original equipment in mint condition and the modern version atop of it that I now instruct with and manufacture.

To give another clinical example of dietary changes invoked with the Carroll evaluation, the following Bolen analysis shows the graphic results before and after diet correction based on food intolerance determination. The initial digital Bolen photograph was taken for a 26-year-old woman who presented with diagnoses of lupus, Raynaud disease, and migraines. She had refused corticosteroids and chemotherapy prescriptions but was taking oral doses of prescription polyethylene glycol.

Her Carroll food test results revealed intolerance to potato, as well as a combination of foods to keep separate by 8 hours, which were fruit and sugar. I prescribed 15 constitutional hydrotherapy treatments, a Ferrum phosphicorum 3X cell salt, buffalo liver capsules, vitamin D, Iodoral, whole adrenal extract, and gentian/skullcap digestive capsules.

At her follow-up visit 3 months later, the following Bolen digital photograph was taken. This young woman healed quickly, as I have come to expect with this work. She has improved circulation and no longer experiences constipation, headaches, or rashes. Her blood antinuclear antibody level has normalized.

Since Dr Carroll developed his test, 4 generations of ND practices have evaluated almost half a million patients for their food intolerances. The dietary changes made according to these test results are as individual as each patient is. However, patterns have emerged. As different as we all are, the human body has laws of function that are the same for all of us. The method of this evaluation is unusual and is not well understood. Although Dr Carroll and Dr Dick researched the Carroll test, the research was not formal. The dilemma that these physicians faced was how to balance the time and energy needed to evaluate the test with the need to use its results to help their patients. As for all physicians, the patient came first. Therefore, researching the method of the Carroll food evaluation became less important. The physician did not have to prove that it worked scientifically to prove that it worked clinically. So, the Carroll method continued to be used, and the knowledge of how to perform and use the test was passed down from one physician to another. Today, Dr Zeff and I continue to teach this method and to certify NDs who are accurate in their results.

In summation, the Carroll food intolerance evaluation does not diagnose a disease. Likewise, it does not diagnose allergy or allergic reactions. It is a determination of a patient’s incompatibility with food groups or combinations of those food groups. It is a specialized evaluation that was developed by one of the most respected NDs of the past century. It has continued in our profession not only because it works but also because it is particular to our way of thinking about health and illness in the context of classic naturopathic medicine. At the Carroll Institute, we teach this method of evaluation in this spirit. We insist that no one should make diagnostic claims based on the use of the Carroll test. It is simply a method to assess some elements of digestion and to aid us in giving dietary advice to our patients, a system that some of us have found to be very valuable. This evaluation is a fundamental component of wellness. It is integral and necessary for healing of acute and chronic disease.


Dick KronenbergLetitia Dick-Kronenberg, ND continues to instruct other physicians in the Carroll food intolerance evaluation. For more information, contact her at http://www.thecarrollinstitute.org/.

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