Food can either be the most powerful medicine on the planet or a vicious poison. Food has the ability to heal or to harm. You can eat the highest quality organic food possible and it does not matter if you are intolerant, reactive or sensitive to those foods. If your body reacts to a certain food that you eat, this could result in a cascade of health issues, inflammatory processes, and immune reactions.
It is important to realize that there is a difference between food allergies and intolerances. This primarily has to do with the immune system’s reaction to specific foods.
Common Symptoms of Food Intolerances
The body’s inability to properly deal with reactive foods can result in numerous symptoms.
- Migraines & Headaches
- Asthma & Respiratory Issues
- Sneezing, Relentless Coughing
- Digestive Distress: Bloating, Gas, Indigestion
- Physical Pain, especially joint pain
Food Allergies & Intolerances: What is the Difference?
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.
With food sensitivities, immune cells release “mediators” such as histamine, prostaglandins 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.
Food Intolerances, Leaky Gut & Asthma
When there is damage in the small intestine, like in a condition called villous atrophy, undigested food particles can pass into the bloodstream. This requires an immune reaction to these undigested food particles. Complex inflammatory processes ensue, which can involve the release of substances such as cytokines, histamine and leukotrienes.
Leukotrienes and histamine very often result from asthmatic reactions. Their presence are a primary cause of asthmatic inflammation. Leukotrienes are derived from the omega 6 fatty acid AA (arachadonic acid).
Asthmatics would do very good by eliminating all food antigens, and any food or substance that triggers inflammatory reactions.
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.
Allergic/Reactive to More Than Just Food
It is very common for people with unresolved health issues to be reactive to more than just food. A person may have immune triggers to numerous substances, chemicals, metals and other things found in the environment. Some of the most common environmental triggers are:
- Synthetic products
- Electromagnetic devices
- Heavy metals
- Formaldehyde, ammonia, cleaning solvents
- Sulfa drugs
- Moth balls
- Chlorine, chemically-treated water
- Non-compatible dental materials
Eliminating Reactive Foods & Substances Should Be Part of Your Nutrition Program
Because of how reactive foods tend to harm the body, eliminating them is fundamental, especially if you have any degree of unresolved health issues. This should also be true for exposure to other things in your environment as well. Some of the most common household products may be triggering an immune reaction in your body without even knowing it.
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 (GMO’s) into the diet over the past 20 years.
The food industry has included foreign and unnatural proteins to various processed foods. This is strongly suspected to be a cause of allergic reactions in young children. This is all the more reason to avoid GMO’s and to obtain the highest quality organic foods as much as possible.
There are a number of very good food sensitivity and environmental sensitivity tests. There are also a number of tests which I believe are inaccurate. Please contact me to learn more about these.