Food allergies and sensitivities can create a torrential cascade of problems in your body and can wreak havoc inside of your GI tract. if not properly compartmentalized by your immune system, food allergies and sensitivities can create very high levels of inflammatory conditions in the body, devastating many biological processes.
Over the past 15 years there has been a tremendous increase in the amount of food allergies. Between 1997 and 2002 there was a doubling of peanut allergies. It has been estimated that 1 out of 17 children under the age of 3 has a food allergy. Many people attribute these massive increases to the introduction of Genetically Modified Foods into the diet over the past 20 years.
The Difference Between Food Allergies & Food Intolerances
A food allergy occurs when your immune system launches an immune response to a food you’ve ingested. Food allergies are typically categorized as a Type I Hypersensitivity reaction. These types of reactions result in huge amounts of histamines, which may lead to anaphylaxis. A food intolerance or sensitivity is often less severe, and involves the activation of the innate immune response.
Specifically speaking, food allergies are the result of immunoglobulin IgE’s immediate reaction to the food, whereas food sensitivities are the delayed responses of immunoglobulin IgG. Food sensitivities are very real and are a major cause of both clinical and sub-clinical distress.
In food sensitivities, immune cells release “mediators” such as histamine, prostaglandin and cytokines. These mediators are damaging to the body and can cause symptoms and reactions. Any food that one considers “healthy” could invoke a delayed immune reaction.
Gluten, Gliadin & Celiac
A person may be intolerant to gluten all of their lives and have no symptoms. 30% of people with Celiac Disease (a genetic inability to digest gluten) don’t have any symptoms! The damaging effects of gluten intolerance and celiac could be going on inside of your gut your entire life without you even knowing about it.
Gliadin is the major glycoprotein in glutenous foods (wheat, barley, rye. Oats don’t contain gluten but they do contain gliadin). When a person has celiac, the body attacks the celiac enzyme called trasglutaminase. This results in volatile inflammatory processes and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, histamine, leukotrienes and prostaglandins. The destructive result of celiac and other similar autoimmune processes leaves the tiny structures in the gut, such as the villi and micro villi, broken down, and incapable of functioning properly. It can sometimes take years of persistent treatment to heal the gut.
Nearly 30% of people with compromised intestinal immunity will never heal! A warning sign that prevention is critical. If you suffer from any of the above medical conditions, you may have undiagnosed celiac or gluten/gliadin intolerance. And this may be at the root of your health issues.
Identifying Food Intolerances
A specific saliva test can identify immune reactions to gliadin and gluten, while specific leukocyte blood tests can identify certain reactive foods.
The important thing to remember is that your body may have no symptom of a food intolerance or symptom of gluten intolerance, but the damage is still being done. If you have a chronic health condition, reducing the effects upon your immune system is a critical component for improving your health. This always should include the identification of reactive foods.