Wellness Articles

Food Allergies: What Are They and How Do I Know If I Have Them?

Nutritional Advice Provided by Vancouver Chiropractor and Naturopath

It’s estimated that 95 out of every 100 people in the industrialized nations suffers from some type of adverse food reaction. Over 50 medical conditions have now been associated with food allergies (see Table 1) and many more chronic, persistent symptoms may actually be manifestations of adverse food reactions.

So what is a food allergy? It is an immune response that occurs after ingestion of a specific food. Although any food is capable of producing this response, foods that commonly cause allergies are dairy products, egg, wheat, corn, citrus, shellfish, soybeans, tree nuts and peanuts. There are two categories of reactions: IgE mediated (immediate) and IgG mediated (delayed). IgE type I immediate hypersensitivity reactions have been well studied, and their involvement in food allergies has been established. Their symptoms occur within minutes after exposure and vary from local redness and swelling, rhinitis, urticaria, asthma and itchiness to throat swelling and anaphylaxis in severe cases. Most people with IgE allergies know they have them since the symptoms occur shortly after ingestion of the offending food. These allergies are often permanent and can be confirmed using skin-prick tests or blood tests.

However, only 6-8% of children and 2-3% of adults suffer from IgE mediated food allergies. It’s estimated that 80% of all food allergies are IgG mediated reactions. These reactions are very different from IgE food allergies because they usually occur 3 hours to 3 days after ingestion. The symptoms are also more varied and can affect any system or organ in the body. They also tend to be less permanent.

There are several theories as to why food allergies develop. Poor digestion (not enough stomach acid, insufficient chewing, rapid swallowing and antacids) may increase the chances of developing a food allergy. If food molecules are not broken down into small enough particles to be absorbed between cells in the digestive tract, the larger food proteins can trigger histamine release, which increases intestinal permeability. This in turn can lead to more systemic food allergies. Other theories include the alteration of foods through processing, heating, fortifying, purifying, pasteurizing etc. leading to the development of food allergens. Repetitive ingestion of the same foods, excessive stress, digestive tract infections, dysbiosis, failure to breast feed, early introduction of solid foods and overexposure of environmental irritants are other possible theories.

IgG food allergies are often discovered through elimination diets with slow food re-introductions. This process can be very useful, but is time-consuming and occasionally result in false negatives if a large quantity of an offending food is not eaten. However, there are now IgG blood tests available for determining reactivity to specific foods. They often only require a simple blood draw or finger-prick to tests 90+ foods.

Regardless of which form of testing is used, the treatment of food allergies is the same. The offending food is eliminated from the diet, supplements and an appropriate diet that help repair the intestinal lining are prescribed through a qualified healthcare practitioner.

I believe that unrecognized food allergies are the cause of many chronic health conditions today. Many people are being treated for their symptoms associated with these food allergies, but the underlying cause is never being addressed. Determining these food allergies and their causes can be crucial for optimizing a wellness.

Reference: available by request.

• Acne
• Migraine Headaches
• Allergic Sore Throat
• Ear Infections
• Arthritis
• Candidiasis
• Allergic Rhinitis
• Chronic Constipation
• Anxiety
• Crohn’s Disease
• Asthma
• Transient dyslexia
• Edema
• Bed-Wetting
• Gastric and Duodenal Ulcers
• Bronchitis
• Hypochlorhydria
• Celiac Disease
• Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Chronic Diarrhea
• Loss of Voice
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Memory Loss
• Colic
• Indigestion
• Colitis
• Eczema
• Ulcerative Colitis
• Frequent Illness
• Overweight
• Hay Fever
• Tinnitus
• Hyperactivity
• Vertigo
• Inflammatory Bowel Disease
• Skin Rashes
• Insomnia/Sleep Disorders
• Mood Swings
• Excessive Mucous Production
• Learning Disorders
• Malabsorption Syndrome
• Joint Pain
• Muscle Pain
• Depression

Have a great day,
The Vitality Team

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