By: Kristine May, BSHS, NTP
Allergies, sensitivities and intolerances are overreactions of the immune system. The immune system is a very complex system that is interconnected with many other organ systems and their functioning. An allergy is different from a sensitivity or an intolerance. You can be predisposed to allergies through your genetic programming, but most times people develop food sensitivities or intolerances over time. It begins long before the manifestation of allergic symptoms and takes a severely disturbed intestinal environment to react allergenically. Unfortunately, this many times goes unnoticed and tends to worse over the years. The disturbance is called dysbiosis and it entails abnormal intestinal flora (more harmful bacteria and pathogens than good) and the mucous membranes of the intestinal wall becomes permeable. The health of this membrane is so important because it acts as a barrier for keeping the contents of the bowels from seeping over into the bloodstream. When this lining is not supported and weakened, the linings of the bowel become inflamed and irritated and large food particles of rancid fats, petrified proteins, and fermented carbohydrates try to cross over into the bloodstream. This is what leads to leaky gut syndrome, a very common condition in today’s society.
Leaky gut syndrome is characterized by tiny pinholes in the intestinal wall. With these holes in the lining, the blood is exposed to particles that are unrecognizable in size and structure. As you can imagine, this is very confusing to our immune system. It suddenly must decide if these large foreign particles are a threat (virus, bacteria, other harmful pathogens). The immune system is incredibly intelligent, but in this case, it will always do what it needs to in that moment to protect us from harm – even if it may cause problems in the future. Because it does not recognize these particles, the immune system resists and attacks them and trains your system to recognize future particles “like this” the same way. If this issue is not corrected quickly it can lead to many food allergies and even autoimmunity. Not to mention your immune system is always on overdrive, always on the defense which further weakens your immunity.
This chain of negative events is detrimental to optimal health. Our bodies need digestive stability so that our immune system can protect us from real threats, not undigested food particles. Stopping the unnecessary fighting and overstimulation while cultivating an environment where the “good guys” are winning is vital for health.
Over 80% of the human immune system is situated alongside the intestines. It is understandable that disturbances of the intestines and intestinal flora place a tremendous strain on the immune system, which then often reacts “allergically” to otherwise quite innocent proteins. Freedom to enjoy a variety of foods without reacting negatively to them is our goal.
Common Food Allergies / Sensitivities
If you experience these symptoms, you may have food intolerances:
Food Allergy Symptoms:
▪ Usually comes on suddenly
▪ Small amount of a food can trigger it
▪ Happens every time you eat the food
▪ Can be life-threatening (anaphylaxis, etc)
▪ Nausea, Stomach Pain, Diarrhea, Vomiting
▪ Rash, Hives or Itchy Skin
▪ Shortness of Breath
▪ Chest Pain
▪ Sudden Drop in Blood Pressure
▪ Trouble Swallowing or Breathing
Food Sensitivities / Intolerances:
▪ Gas, Cramps, Bloating
▪ Irritability or nervousness
Common Food Allergies and Intolerances:
▪ Tree Nuts
▪ Shellfish (shrimp, crab, etc.)
▪ Wheat / Gluten
What to Do if you Suspect Food Allergies
If you suspect you have food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances, here are a few things that will help.
▪ Keep a food journal of what you eat and symptoms you experience. This is key in deciphering which foods might be causing your discomfort.
▪ Eliminate common allergy foods by following an elimination diet for a few weeks, then add back in the foods in question one at a time (one new food per week) to see if symptoms return.
▪ Have allergy testing done
▪ Avoid foods that are reactive
▪ Support digestion with gut healing nutrients through diet / supplementation and probiotics
▪ Digestive aid supplements that contain hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and other digestive enzymes to help in protein/fat breakdown
▪ Work with your doctor or nutritional therapist on tailoring a unique protocol for addressing your bio individual deficiencies and needs
Supplements for Food Allergies
1. AllerAway – Nature’s Nx – provides natural support to a healthy immune response and for common allergy symptoms
2. Allergy CM – CompliMed Homeopathic – relief of allergic symptoms
3. LDM 100 – Barlow Herbal – Immune Regulator
4. Antronex – Standard Process – Natural Antihistamine and liver decongestant (please call the office at 208-232-3216 for more information)
5. The Good Guys – Nature’s Nx – Probiotic
6. Quercetin & Rutin – CompliMed Homeopathic – Food Sensitivities (please call the office at 208-232-3216 for more information)
7. GlutenZyme – Nature’s Nx – Enzymes to assist digestion of gluten, dairy and other proteins
Learn more about Allergies and Treatments here or by calling us at The West Clinic, 208-232-3216, for a free 15 minute consultation with our specialty health treatment team. Ask about our Allergy Treatment Program when you call and one of our consultants will help you better understand allergies and recommended treatments.