Food allergy is not rare, in fact, they are common.
Frequent reactions in both children and adults through an increasingly nutritionally diet, to an increasingly stressful existence, improperly treated with medications, drugs and alcohol, to increasingly chemically polluted environment and food, and to our hereditary disposition.
Food allergy clearly affects the majority of the American people.
The effects of food allergy are not limited just to the air passages, skin and digestive tracts.
Although these are common sites, food allergies, once in the blood stream travel throughout the body, their effects showing up anywhere that blood flow happens and produces a wide variety of physical and mental symptoms.
Most food allergies are delayed reactions taking anywhere from one hour to three days to show themselves, and therefore are much harder to detect. Because the immune mechanism is different in these delayed food allergies, the customary tests performed by your doctor that are used to diagnosis airborne allergies are of little use in identifying food allergies. Blood tests are absolutely needed.
Please remember that delayed food allergy appears to be simply the inability of your digestive tract to prevent large quantities of partially digested and undigested foods from entering the blood stream. Once in the blood stream allergens may be deposited in tissues, causing the symptoms of inflammation, and giving many symptoms, such as migraines, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, just to mention a few.
When allergic sensitivities begin to develop for whatever reason, they have far reaching, unsuspected effects
. The expression of allergy indicates the balance of the system is undetermined. For example, most people having allergic reactions to food are able to digest and absorb what they are eating. As a consequence, they become progressively malnourished. As time passes, your allergies go undiagnosed and the cause is untreated, and your primary defense against all diseases, the Immune System begins to wear down from fighting off the influx of allergic substances.
As a consequence, the functions of the immune system becomes slower more and more, showing more impairment, that is, the ability to fight off infections, to accelerate healing, and to heal from wounds and infections quickly. You then become significantly more prone to other diseases. The weakened immune system further impairs digestion. The whole patient weakens from lack of proper nutrients, and can no longer defend itself. The good new is that most of the causes of allergy are under our control, and can be therefore minimized, corrected, or eliminated.
SYMPTOMS OF FOOD ALLERGY:
Food allergy is defined by an irritation of tissue or inflammation caused by food allergenS. Where an allergy-induced sites to deposit a itself and do its damage is probably genetically pre-determined. Ten people allergic to milk may react in 10 different individual ways.
It may cause migraines and one person, diarrhea in another, eczema, hyperactivity in another, anginal-like symptoms in another, or perhaps a flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis. Keep in mind that the symptoms that appear are usually not sudden reactions, but are probably built up over time.
COMMON SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH FOOD ALLERGY:
Dark circles under the eyes with swelling and wrinkles under the eyes. Cluster headaches and intravascular headaches such as migraines, faintness, dizziness, or sleepiness are seen soon after eating. A patient may awaken from 2 to 4 a.m. with inability to return to sleep.
Commonly seen are running nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, ringing of the ears, ear fullness, and a chronic cough. The heart and lungs show palpitations, arrhythmia, and increased heart rate, as well as increase in asthma and shortness of breath.
Gastrointestinal complaints are common, such as mucus in the stool, undigested food in the stool, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, colitis, flatulence, and fullness in the stomach long after finishing a meal. Irritable bowel is extremely common; so are inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
Skin symptoms include hives, rashes, eczema, dermatitis, dry skin, dandruff, brittle nails and hair.
Other symptoms include PMS, chronic fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, arthritis, swelling of the hands or feet, vaginal itching, vaginal discharge, and abnormal cravings. Also, the patient can exhibit anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and restlessness, with learning abilities, as well as inability to concentrate.
WHY WE HAVE ALLERGIES:
Allergies develop for a number of reasons. One reason as our genetic makeup, and I think heredity does play a role, although the influence in environment or epi-genomics is much more important.
Dietary indiscretions, that is, eating the wrong food, has increased.
Today, approximately 90% of Americans eats bad food, food that is refined and chemically enhanced food. We are eating the wrong kinds of fats, too much salt, refined sugar, too many chemical additives and contaminants with too little fiber, essential nutrients, complex carbohydrates, and fresh unprocessed foods.
The dangers of over-refined, chemical laden fluid is that it removes the valuable fiber, minerals and vitamins found in food.
The nutrients are no longer there. Refined food also passes too quickly and indiscriminately into the blood stream. This may be the reason that many people react allergically to highly refined fluids such as alcohol, and coffees.
Excessive sugar as well as salt all affect our bodies.
THE LEAKY GUT CONTRIBUTOR:
Over 3000 chemicals are added to the American diet today, plus over 10,000 chemical contaminants not intentionally added, but there nevertheless thanks to our polluted environment. Eight to 15,000 potentially harmful chemicals are consumed by each person annually.
It is now well established that some of these chemicals and toxins actually has the ability to change their adaptive process and distort the permeability of the intestinal lining, the last barrier between the outside world and your blood stream.
Foods that you consume at the same time you have an alcoholic drink or a cup of coffee appear to be much more likely to pass through the blood stream in an only partially digested state. Such large molecules, too large to be recognized as nutrients, are treated by the blood stream’s immune system as foreign invaders, or allergens, and provoke an antibody response as the immune system definitely tries to fight and clear these undesirables from circulation.
Too much food is another problem, and another factor in development of allergy. We just eat too much. We are over-taxing our digestive and immune systems with the sheer quantities of food that we consume, an average of 500 to 1000 calories more per day than we need to, to maintain good health.
This excessive food leads to immune system suppression in well-established animal studies.
TOO FEW FOODS, TOO OFTEN:
The next most damaging aspect of our modern diet is that we eat very limited number of foods, and we eat them far too often. A national survey found that with well over 200 to 300 distinctly different foods to choose from year round, most people in the United States get about 80% of their calories from only 11 foods.
Eating the same food over and over again, especially if you or allergy prone, or if your gut is leaky, is a sure way to develop allergies to these foods, and symptoms. In other words, we become immunized against and sensitized to certain foods in our diet. We get chronic recurring mental, emotional or physical fatigue, weight gain, aches and pains, insomnia, swelling under the eyes, the congested nose, the asthma, the bouts of irritability, and the depression for no apparent reason.
We go on for years, never suspecting that food allergy and malnutrition associated with it are at the root of the problem.
CHEMICAL BOMBARDMENT IN THE AIR, THE WATER, OUR MEDICATIONS AND OUR FOOD:
Our polluted environment is yet another contributor to high incidence of allergy. To stay healthy, our bodies must develop and sustain certain defenses to neutralize and purge these metabolic and enzymatic poisons. This means that our systems are constantly taxed.
With vigilance, it is possible to avoid many of the most troublesome chemical additives and contaminates in food. There is a considerable level of pesticides and herbicides in all produce, and some traceable levels of antibiotics and hormones in many commercial animal products.
We can also sidestep the processed and refined foods that are chockfull of artificial flavorings, colorings, antifungals, antioxidants, anti-caking, anti-flavoring, bleachers, enhancers, and preservatives. Such common additives as MSG and tartrazine (which is yellow dye #5), sodium benzoate, BHT, and sulfites are among the most widely used.
THE STRESS FACTOR:
The last major cause of allergies appears to be stress. The stress of daily life disrupts our entire mind and body.
The accumulation of our contemporary life are piling up as fast as the chemicals in our environment and the fat in our bodies. Unfortunately, this stress appears to be increasingly a consequence when all the accumulative responsibilities, indulgences, traumas, and chemical toxins in our lives build up.
Even when people who seem to thrive on stress and pressure are chipping away at an infinite amount of resistance, unless they are actually working to counteract those pressures through diet, exercise, supplementation, rest, relaxation, support and a loving companionship. Over 300 million prescription tranquilizers are written per year.
There are 25 million problem drinkers in this country with 82% of adults admitting to frequent alcohol consumption.
Please remember, there is not an organ in the human body you cannot over-stress, whether it is your heart, your brain, your muscles, your liver or your immune system. If you go beyond that, there will be malfunction, inhibition and breakdown.
THE ALLERGY/ADDICTION SYNDROME:
One of the most insidious and confounding things about food allergy is that until the damage to our health becomes obvious, the symptoms are usually hidden or masked. In other words, we are also not aware that we have food allergies, because we cover up the symptoms. How does it happen?
We cover up the symptoms by frequently eating the foods that we are allergic to. If we stopped eating it, we would feel withdrawal, like pain, nervousness and discomfort, similar to the way many alcoholics continue drinking to keep a hangover at bay. This does not take place on a conscious level, of course.
We are not usually keenly aware of craving the allergic food. We think that we chose to eat it so often because we like its taste; but consciously or not, we tend to crave food we are allergic to since we need them to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay.
When we reach this point, and need a particular food in order to feel good, or rather, in order not to feel bad, we are addicted. This is the Allergy Addiction Syndrome. Simply put, allergic reactions may lead to an addiction to food that is bad for us because eating the food temporarily relieves the discomfort it causes in the first place.
It follows that the foods that we are allergic to are also likely to be our favorites, the ones we eat frequently, because they make us feel good. Addiction to food is biochemically and physiologically identical to the relationship between an alcoholic and liquor or a junkie and his drugs.
This occurs as an unwanted food is in the digestive tract and passes through a leaky gut.
This alerts the immune system which dispatches antibodies to the rescue to fight off the unwanted foods. These antibodies themselves attach to the macromolecules of incompletely digested food, and together they form immune complexes, which if not cleared from the circulation, travels through the body depositing itself in tissue that cause irritation and inflammation.
To cope with the resulting discomfort, the body sends out a rush of chemical mediators including a group of narcotic-like substances called opioids similar to morphine that tranquilize the body so that it can withstand the onslaught of circulating immune complexes. For a short time after this reaction takes place, there is a real high, a physical and emotional boost.
This the very substance that is punishing your system seems to be giving you pleasure. Consuming the toxic food is now provoking a high that makes you feel good. You crave that lift it seems to give you, so you have some more of it or perhaps another allergic food that produces the same results.
ADDICTION AND THE DIETER’S DILEMMA:
It should now be clear why hidden or delayed food allergies and their associated malnutrition may be the single most common factor in binge eating, overeating, depressed metabolic rate, and obesity. It is the addiction itself that causes the overeating; the abnormal cravings and binges are the result of trying to keep symptoms from getting out of control and causing discomfort. Overly, people are often acute at lacking willpower and discipline but look at what is actually happening on the usual caloric-restricted diet.
The only lasting answer to weight problems and not so incidentally to general health problems, is to break the food addictions and thus restore the efficient functioning of the digestive tract and immune system so the body can normalize metabolism and bring caloric intake back into line.
AVAILABLE TESTING FOR FOOD ALLERGY:
I perform several tests to look for both immediate and delayed food allergies by testing IgE and IgG levels.
It must be noted that food allergies related to IgE remain permanent, although foods allergic in the IgG range should initially be removed and then re-instituted on a rotation diet. Other blood testing that I perform is called THE IGG AND IGE TEST both are available in my office and depending on the patient’s symptoms, I chose the best test for my patients.
Once the patient knows what foods he is allergic to, a personalized rotation diet is formulated according to specific blood tests. Nutritional optimization is performed by extensive evaluations of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and toxicities. The health of the gut is evaluated and normalized. Probiotics, pre-biotics, fos, glutamine, etc., are used when indicated.
Abnormal bacteria and fungi are treated. Of course, the patient’s diet should reflect adequate protein, essential fats, minerals and vitamins. High-processed, high-glycemic carbohydrates are avoided.
If you feel you are suffering from a food allergy and wish to get evaluated, please call my office for an appointment. I feel that the treatment of food allergies is one that every patient needs to follow.