Are you suffering from bloating, cramping and gas after eating? If so, you should know that according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE; foodallergy.org), food allergies and sensitivities are increasing. Several theories have been suggested, including environmental toxins wreaking havoc on the human body; added chemicals to processed foods; genetically modified and hybridized alterations of foods; and weakening of our genetic constitution as each generation is born with accelerated changes in the genetic code.
The majority of the 84,000 chemicals used in the United States are unregulated. We are guinea pigs in this chemical soup with the burden of proof placed upon us. Some of the most commonly used chemicals have estrogenic properties that disrupt our endocrine system, alter the activity of brain neurotransmitters, and cause increased allergenic response and autoimmune disease.
High carbohydrate, nutrient depleted, low fiber diets encourage candida overgrowth in the gut. Candida releases toxins that create inflammation and intestinal permeability. Gut contents (food, toxins and bacteria) instigate body wide inflammation as they travel through the body’s lymphatic and vascular system.
Many food additives and preservatives cause hyperactivity, chronic ear infections, eczema and asthma due to allergenic response. These include aspartame, MSG, benzoates, BHT/BHA, nitrates/nitrites, parabens, sulfites, and dyes like tartrazine.
GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are present in in numerous processed food products. Our bodies don’t recognize these novel compounds and treat them like foreign invaders with an allergenic immune response.
Today’s hybridized wheat contains much more gluten. Gluten increases zonulin protein production, which increases intestinal permeability. When combined with inflammatory conditions from gluten sensitivity, this can create painful inflammation that settles in the joints and muscle tissue.
Antibodies cause inflammation and inflammation causes discomfort, whether it is swollen tissue or intestinal permeability. There are several types of antibodies, but due to space limitations, we’ll focus on IgG, the same antibody vaccines are based on. IgG antibodies are produced 24 to 48 hours after exposure to antigens and remain in the body for response to future exposures. They can be measured quantitatively in serum. Higher counts create a stronger immune reaction with allergen exposure.
High levels of IgG are found in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Since 60 – 80 percent of our immune system is located in our gut tissue, the inflammatory response to allergens can be remarkable, causing symptoms of heartburn, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain. Gut inflammation leads to nutrient deficiencies that result in multiple disorders, such as depression, anxiety, menstrual irregularities (think PCOS), infertility, osteoporosis and accelerated aging. It should be noted that autoimmune diseases have also been tied to intestinal permeability, due to the up-regulation of the immune response.
At the Women’s Health and Healing Center, we test for food allergies to determine the cause of dis-ease. Patients find that avoidance of food allergens is easier, less costly, and healthier than a pharmaceutical approach to gastric distress.