According to medical estimates, 60% of Americans suffer from food allergies (Ann Allergy 1988, 62:261.) Food allergies, also referred to as food sensitivities or food reactions, can result in digestive disturbances such as gas, belching or bloating after meals. But they can also cause symptoms not related to the digestive system including headaches (including migraine), joint pain, arthritis, hyperactivity, skin rashes, asthma, dry cough, wheezing, diarrhea, kidney damage and elevated liver enzymes. Food allergies can make you feel lethargic, sleepy, or low in energy, especially after eating. They can also be responsible for mood swings and cravings.
Food Allergies and Unexplained Weight Gain
Ironically, the foods that you crave are also the foods that you are likely to be allergic to. Some people feel that they are addicted to their problem foods, but it is not the food itself but the endorphins—the body's opium-like pain killers which are triggered by the problem foods—that they are addicted to. Because of the cravings associated with food allergies there is a tendency to overeat and weight gain is likely to be a problem. For underweight individuals food allergies may have the opposite effect, making it difficult for them to gain weight. Both overweight and underweight individuals often find it easier to reach and maintain their ideal weight when their food allergies are properly addressed through nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Two Kinds of Food Allergies
There are two basic types of food allergies depending on the type of antibodies produced by the body in response to the offending foods. IgE food allergies account for only 5% of all adverse food reactions and affect approximately 1 to 2% of the population (Ear, Nose and Throat 1988; 67:42.) These are the allergies that receive the most attention from the medical profession because symptoms appear almost immediately—within minutes to a few hours after consuming the food. The symptoms associated with IgE type food allergies generally affect the skin (e.g., rash), airways (e.g., asthma) and digestive tract (e.g., gas, belching, bloating, and pain.)
The second type of food allergy is the IgG type which accounts for 95% of all adverse food reactions and affect nearly 60% of the American population (Ontolaryngology Head Neck Surg 1988; 99(3):263-71). These frequently go undiagnosed for years because the reactions are delayed or hidden, with onset of symptoms occurring hours to days after the offending food is consumed; and because they present chronic symptoms involving multiple body systems and not just the digestive system. Some doctors will argue that food allergies are uncommon. This is because they are thinking of the IgE type of allergy only. Unless the doctor is a specialist in this area, he or she is likely to be unaware of the much more common IgG type of allergies. The training that our medical professionals receive emphasizes emergency procedures and crisis situations producing an immediate threat to life, such as those conditions brought about by the less common IgE type of allergies. Unfortunately, medical training regarding the more chronic and insidious conditions, such as those brought about by the much more common IgG type of allergies, leaves much to be desired.
Food allergies result from leaky gut syndrome. The inner membrane of the small intestines, where food absorption takes place, is designed to allow tiny particles to pass into the bloodstream while larger particles are kept out. For example, large protein molecules must be broken down by the body's enzymes into tiny amino acids, the building blocks of protein, before they are allowed to pass into the bloodstream. When large particles, such as whole protein molecules, pass into the bloodstream due to a "leaky gut," they act as powerful antigens. The body's immune system treats them as foreign objects, an immune reaction occurs, and the result is a food allergy.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome results when the intestinal mucosa (the inner lining of the intestines) becomes inflamed and damaged. This is most commonly caused by 1) drugs, especially antibiotics and NSAIDS such as aspirin and ibuprophen; 2) an overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal tract; and 3) improper digestion of food, which is usually caused by a deficiency of digestive enzymes and insufficient mastication (chewing) of food.
What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Doctors can perform a test where small amounts of some 100 foods are injected under the skin and each area is then observed for an allergic reaction. They can also draw a small amount of blood and watch the blood's behavior in response to suspected antigens under a microscope. When doctors perform tests for food allergies it is important that they test for both IgE and IgG antibodies. You can also do an elimination test, where suspected foods are completely removed from the diet for a week and then reintroduced one at a time, observing your reactions after reintroducing each food. These tests are somewhat helpful because it can be beneficial to remove problem foods from the diet for a while to allow the body to rest. But until the underlying cause is addressed, the leaky gut, results will only be temporary. Furthermore, food allergies are constantly changing. As soon as one is eliminated another is likely to crop up. The best way to handle food allergies is to remove the underlying cause.
How Do You Determine Which Foods You Are Allergic to?
If Candida or yeast overgrowth is a problem, that problem must be addressed first. Candida in the intestinal tract produces toxins that cause inflammation of the intestinal mucosa leading to mucosal damage. This results in a leaky gut and eventually to multiple food allergies. (Yeast overgrowth is discussed on our Candida page.)
Nutritional Support for Food Allergies:
The Steps (These are done simultaneously. All steps are necessary.):
- Begin with a 2-week cleanse with CleanStart.
- Rebuild the friendly flora of the body.
- Activate the digestive system with Proactazyme Plus or Protease Plus.
- Take supplements to build the digestive system.
- Support the immune system.
- Make any lifestyle changes necessary to prevent future problems.
- Continue on a maintenance program of supplements.
Step 1: Begin with a CleanStart:
Every nutritional program should begin with a 2-week cleanse with the CleanStart TM cleansing and detoxification program. This cleans the intestines, liver, blood and kidneys of waste material and toxins. This is very important for food allergies.
Step 2: Rebuild the friendly flora of the body:It is necessary to reestablish the friendly flora for the intestinal tract to heal. When you begin the CleanStart program, also begin taking Bifidophilus Flora Force "friendly bacteria" to replace the body's good bacteria. Take at least one bottle according to label directions.
Step 3: Activate the digestive system with Plant Enzymes:Take two capsules of Proactazyme Plus or one of Protease Plus with every meal. Take at the beginning of the meal. For the first two weeks (during the cleanse) take one or two additional capsules between meals when the stomach is empty.
Step 4: Take supplements to build the digestive system:Take the following supplements to build the digestive system and continue taking them for at least six months. The first product mentioned below is absolutely necessary. The other two are optional but recommended:
- Flax Seed Oil - Take at least one bottle according to label directions. Continue taking if desired. If you crave fats, fatty foods, fried foods, etc. continue taking Flax Seed Oil for as long as you have these cravings. Flax Seed oil is also available in a liquid that can be applied to salads, etc. (You may substitute black currant oil or evening primrose oil for flax seed oil if you want.)
- Gastro Health - Take two with breakfast and two with lunch. This product not only kills harmful bacteria that damage the mucosa, it also contains soothing and healing herbs and it does not harm the beneficial flora.
- Papaya Mint Chewable Tablets - Take as desired to aid digestion.
Step 5: Support the Immune System.A leaky gut is taxing to the immune system, which must handle the large particles which leak into the bloodstream. Over time the immune system becomes fatigued making the food allergy problem even worse. Support the immune system with the following two building products:
- Take a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement every day, such as Super Supplemental. Take one tablet with every meal.
- Mineral Chi Tonic - Take two tablespoons every day.
Step 6: Make any lifestyle changes necessary to prevent future problems:
- No Antacids! Antacids impede the digestive process making the food allergy problem worse. Proactazyme Plus will do a better job of relieving any digestive problems that you might be taking antacids for, including an "acid stomach." (Most people who take antacids don't have an overacid stomach anyway. The problem is usually just the opposite! An underacid stomach or deficient enzyme production produces the exact same symptoms as an overacid stomach and is the real problem 95% of the time. And while we are on the subject of antacids: Never take an antacid for a calcium supplement. Take Skeletal Strength instead.)
- Avoid NSAIDS such as aspirin and ibuprophen. If you have been victimized by the drug propaganda and are taking an aspirin a day for your heart—Stop it immediately! It is very detrimental to your health, causing damage to the stomach and intestines as well as to your joints. Instead, take one High Potency Garlic tablet a day for your heart.
- Eat healthy. Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. Eat some raw plant foods each day. Live sprouts are great!
- Eat slowly and chew your food well.
- Continue taking Proactazyme Plus to replace the plant enzymes that have been destroyed by the cooking and processing of our foods. Also take one capsule of Protease Plus whenever you eat a high-protein meal (meat).
Step 7: Continue on a maintenance program of supplements:You will need to be on the above program for at least six months. As a general rule, you should plan on staying on the program for four months plus one month for every year that you have had food allergies. After you have completed the above program the following maintenance program is recommended:
- Twice a year (in the Spring and again in the Fall), do a two week cleanse with CleanStart.
- After each cleanse take one bottle of Bifidophilus Flora Force "friendly bacteria" according to label directions.
- Take a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement every day, such as Super Supplemental.
- Take a good quality colloidal trace mineral supplement every day, such as Mineral Chi Tonic or Ionic Minerals.
- Continue taking Proactazyme Plus to replace the plant enzymes that have been destroyed by cooking and processing. Also take one capsule of Protease Plus whenever you eat a high-protein meal (meat).
- Take a psyllium fiber supplement every day to keep your bowel movements regular. (You must have at least one bowel movement every day, preferably two or three a day.)
- If at any time you find that you crave fats, fatty foods, fried foods, etc. take Flax Seed Oil capsules or use the liquid on your salads.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables avoiding the habitual consumption of fast foods, processed foods and junk foods. Eat some raw plant foods each day including live sprouts.
- Eat slowly and chew your food well.
Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Check with your health professional before altering any treatment regimen or if you suffer from a medical condition or take prescription drugs.