The relative frequency of food intolerance and food-related complaints in the general populations is very high. Many food intolerances produce minimal symptoms, yet the long-term consequences are astonishing including thyroid disease, neurological disorders, increased cancer risk and accelerated aging.
Food intolerance is caused by a food substance that triggers a toxic reaction on contact with our intestinal cells. Contact with susceptible cells produces inflammation that can result in intestinal damage. The inflammatory cells release chemicals that cause our immune system to release antibodies against the offending food.
Some misconception of food intolerance
Food intolerances are diseases of childhood. Intolerances are more likely to be symptomatic in children but are found in adults of all ages. Food intolerances are perpetrators of ongoing intestinal inflammation, which may eventually exhaust the body’s defenses.
Food intolerances are only present in symptomatic patients. Food intolerances can be subjectively silent in many individuals. Nonetheless, they continue to drain our defenses and weaken our intestinal immune system. Food intolerance occurrence is underestimated in our symptom-driven health care system.
Food intolerances are simply intestinal irritations. Food intolerances can be more than a local intestinal problem, and may increase the risk of autoimmune diseases and cancer as well as accelerated aging.
Manifestations of Food Intolerance
- Diarrhea or soft to loose stools are the most common digestive tract symptom
- Acid reflux
- Changes in intestinal wall integrity
- Mouth ulcers
- Skin: hives, rash, eczema
- Respiratory: asthma, nasal congestion, sinusitis
- Brain: headache, migraine, sleeplessness, irritability
For more information about food intolerance and/or food intolerance testing, please contact Dr. Lee’s office at 206-319-5322 or visit us: Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center
Filed under Allergies, Antiaging, Arthritis, Digestion, Eczema, fatigue, Food allergy, IBD, IBS, Inflammation, Leaky gut syndrome
A study published in Pediatrics, 2011 suggests that food allergies affect a significant number of children in the US. This study, the largest of its kind, surveyed nearly 40,000 US households with one or more children less than 18 years of age. Based on the data collected, the researchers found that food allergies affect 8.0% of US children or about 6 million. Of those children, 30.4% had multiple food allergies and 38.7% had a history of severe reactions. The most common allergies reported in the survey were peanut (25.2%), milk (21.1%) and shellfish (17.2%).
A well-known hallmark of food allergy is the production of IgE or IgG antibodies to a protein of the problem food. An allergy of this type develops when food-specific antibodies, bound to mast cells and basophils, present in the skin, gut and respiratory tract, come into contact with, and bind the circulating allergen. This binding activates these cells to release inflammatory mediators. This results in discomfort associated with allergy including stomach cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, hives, itching and swelling.
The prevalence of food allergies has shown a remarkable upswing over the past 10 to 20 years across all ages. There can be a genetic influence to developing allergies. Allergic parents are more likely to have allergic children. But certainly this cannot account wholly for the epidemic rise that we have seen over the decades. The manifestations of allergy are the result of the complex interaction between genetics, nutrition, immunity and environmental exposures such as tobacco smoke and pollutants that can increase the antigenic response.
Sound laboratory testing remains an essential clinical tool to identify food sensitivities, which may be the underlying causes of many conditions. For more information on food allergy testing, please contact Dr. Lee at 206-319-5322 or visit www.seattlenaturopathiccenter.com