We are all familiar with acute anaphylaxis occurring with foods such as nuts or shell fish, the symptoms cause an acute medical emergency and the individual who suffers from this learns quickly to reads labels and avoids the offending foods with great care. They know that a slight exposure can kill as surely as a large exposure.
When it comes to food sensitivities, though the symptoms are not immediately acute and life threatening, the long term results of eating the food can be debilitating and ultimately deadly. Using our most published food sensitivity, “gluten” as our model we can follow the pathway from disorder to disease, knowing that any food sensitivity can follows the same path and can result in health issues. In the US a large percentage of population suffer from gluten sensitivity with symptoms ranging from mild to extreme. Today either we or someone we know is modifying their diet to accommodate this silent health risk. These symptoms can began benignly ranging from post meal bloating or indigestion, constipation and diarrhea, to more severe allergic type immune reactions including: weight gain, migraines, back pain, emotional ups and downs, irritable bowel, colitis, arthritis, neurological symptoms and the list goes on.
With the occurrence of a food sensitivity whether wheat/gluten, corn, soy or dairy, the immune system is turned on and creates an auto response that is self- feeding with any exposure to the food. The longer the exposure, the more likely that the body will “cross tag” other foods that are consumed on a regular basis (a chemical marker is placed on the food so that the body sees it as a foreign body or antigen); it is common for those that have gluten sensitivities to develop reaction to nightshades, such as to potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and other foods such as grains, legumes, alcohol and sugar.
Looking at the body chemically, what we see is the body is in a constant state of alert, identifying and responding to the offending food. It sends white blood cells to surround and destroy the antigen; with the constant barrage of information it can become indiscriminate and ultimately start attacking the surrounding tissue leading to an auto-immune disorder. Because this is happening in the gut it is often the lining of the intestines that is compromised first, resulting in a Leaky Gut (This is where small fissures open between the tightly woven cells making up the gut walls) which results in these antigen tagged proteins ending up in the blood stream (the inflammatory response goes systemic) where blood vessels and other body tissue/organs can be damaged. This sets the stage for chronic illness of many kinds. A likely scenario might be with progressive food sensitivity, indigestion and bloating when eating an offending food, followed by irritation to the bowel with either constipation or diarrhea or both, IBS, followed by colitis and eventually ulcerative colitis.
Inflammation is one of the biggest drivers of weight gain and disease in America. Celiac is only one contributor and is stated to afflict about one per cent of Americans. It is now suspected as many as thirty per cent may have non-celiac gluten intolerance. A recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine listed fifty five diseases that can be traced back to eating gluten.
Weight gain attributed to food sensitivities often occurs slowly, over years often with no attributable change in diet and exercise.This also happens to individuals who have healthy diet and lifestyle and are often deeply frustrated by the additional weight. Even healthy foods can become a toxin if you are sensitive to the food!
The clear solution is to: identify the offending foods, cleansing the colon, repairing the lining of the intestinal track and down regulate the immune system through nutritional support of the liver. Maintaining a diet free of the foods may be necessary for up to 2 years. For cases where severe tissue damage has occurred the removal of the food may be permanent.
The benefits are often noticed with weeks and include: more restful sleep, less gas, bloating, heartburn, easier, more regular bowel movements, better energy and clearer thinking and ultimately weight loss and a better BMI.