WHAT IS A FOOD ALLERGY OR SENSITIVITY?
When our immune system is triggered by a food particle, it responds with inflammation, the body can also have autoimmune reactions or can attack itself when attempting to attack this “foreign invader”. The type of attack depends on the immune response. We can see immediate or delayed sensitivities.
WHY ARE FOOD ALLERGIES/SENSITIVITIES ON THE RISE?
We are beginning to realize the significance of the positive acting bacteria, probiotics, living in our gut and their ability to break down food, inhibit cancer growth, aid in absorption of nutrients, and work to maintain a healthy gut lining.
The intestinal lining is very important as this is the area where our food is absorbed through the gut-blood barrier. If our intestines are damaged through medications, tap water, gluten, exposure to toxins/food irritants, etc. we will be leaking large food proteins into the blood stream.
This “leaky gut” can allow too large of food particles to pass, sending off alarms (inflammatory compounds) in our immune system in reaction to these proteins. Once the inflammatory response from a specific food allergen is detected the body will continue to flag it as an invader.
The rise in the use of antibacterial products and vaccines have decreased our exposure to bacteria and viruses which weakens our immune system and can kill of the probiotic colonies.
Also, the way food is produced with over-produced hybrid and GMO crops, processed ingredients, and synthetic additives, our body has to filter out a lot more which can stress the digestive tract causing irritation and eventually reactivity.
FOOD ALLERGY VS. SENSITIVITY? A simple blood test can ID your food irritants!
When treating a food allergy or sensitivity it is important to distinguish between them. Food allergies are diagnosed through the presence of an immune system cell called an Immunoglobulin. These immunoglobulins function as alarm systems in the body reacting to a protein (antigen) from food, environment, chemical.
IgE immediate hypersensitivities
This is an antibody/antigen relationship is immediate occurring within seconds to an hour of consumption. Symptoms of an IgE reaction include: shortness of breath or wheezing, hives, itching of mouth/throat or eyes, puffy tongue/lips, swelling of eyelids or face, difficulty swallowing, runny or congested nose, hoarse voice, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain/cramps, fainting, and anaphylactic shock.
IgG or other mediator delayed sensitivities
Food intolerances arise when certain incompletely digested food particles enter your bloodstream and are treated as foreign substances. This results in your immune system producing tailor-made antibodies (IgG), which attack the food in question. Some researchers believe this inflammatory response in the body can increase certain symptoms. Food intolerance has been associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), bloating, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, eczema, headaches and migraines, ADHD, joint pain, fibromyalgia, and any inflammatory/autoimmune disorder.
NATURALLY NOURISHED APPROACHES TO ADDRESSING FOOD ALLERGIES AND SENSITIVITIES:
1) ID the irritant
2) Repair the gut/Restore optimal conditions of digestive system
3) Wellness Counseling
Identifying the irritant:
Ordering and assessing a MRT sensitivity panel and/or reviewing a 3-5 day food diary with symptom report to determine foods that trigger events. Based on the blood work results, we will customize a meal plan to eliminate trigger foods and methodically add them back while monitoring for symptoms.
Repair the gut:
Once the gut is healed and in an anti-inflammatory state, most people are able to reintroduce foods that once caused irritation with no symptoms. We will work with specific nutrients to re-establish healthy bacteria balance with probiotics, ensure adequate digestive enzymes, and provide anti-inflammatory support.
The links between IBS and stress/emotions are clear. Counseling provides goals of frequent regular eating and healthy balance of macronutrients, while addressing stress relieving techniques, positive self talk and affirmations. Assessing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA can play a significant role in understanding underlying causes of IBS and digestive distress.