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Are your favorite foods making you sick?

February 3, 2014 4:52 pm
Published by: Dr. Ann Lovick

This country is well-known, even infamous, for its love affair with food. Unfortunately the genetic modification of foods like corn and soy, and the hybridization of wheat, has created foods that are harmful to our digestive tract. This creates an inflammatory reaction that causes pain, impairs digestion and often develops into food allergies.

There are two basic types of food allergies: immediate reactions that may lead to anaphylaxis, and delayed reactions. Food allergies that cause immediate reactions show up as hives, swelling of the eyes and mouth, swelling of the throat, and shortness of breath. Most people can easily identify these food allergies from the direct cause and effect reaction.

Delayed reactions to food allergies are often harder to identify as they usually manifest 1-3 days after ingestion. Symptoms may include headaches, sinus congestion, skin rashes, chronic ear infections, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea.

Repeated exposure to food allergens puts stress on the immune system and can aggravate existing conditions such as environmental allergies, other auto-immune diseases, and inflammatory conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease.

One of the most common causes of food allergies is a compromised digestive system. When a person consumes foods that irritate the stomach and the intestines, the result is inflammation. This inflammation can increase intestinal permeability. When any food is consumed, it is not completely digested due to the irritation of the stomach and intestines. Then some partially digested proteins will pass through the intestines into the blood. The body does not recognize the proteins because they are not in a recognizable form; therefore the body creates antibodies to the proteins. This is how food allergies develop.

Nutritional deficiencies and parasitic infections can also lead to food allergies by disrupting digestion. Some people are predisposed to develop food allergies. Typically when one or both parents have allergies, there is a high probability that their children will develop allergies.

1. The first step of treatment is to identify the allergens. I utilize work a lab that employs ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique) technology to measure serum antibodies in the blood. I receive a comprehensive report that lists allergens and indicates the degree of reaction obtained.

2. The next step is to avoid food allergens. Food allergens will be removed from the patient’s diet for 90 days. This will allow the digestive system to heal.

3. Then we must heal the gut. Nutritional supplements will be included to soothe the irritation of the digestive system and speed healing.
Be aware that consumption of food allergens creates an opiate-like reaction in the body. This means that it is easy to become addicted to these foods. Unfortunately, these are often our favorite foods! Supplementation can reduce cravings as well as repair damage in the digestive tract.

4. The final step is reintroduction. After 90 days, symptoms will be reassessed. Food allergens may slowly be reintroduced at this time and symptoms will continue to be monitored.

Treating food allergies will reverse most symptoms. Patients can expect improved digestion and nutrient absorption increasing their overall health. Inflammation in the body will decrease which will reduce or eliminate pain and discomfort in the body. Patients will have an improved overall sense of well-being, sleep better, and have more energy. Many patients have noticed improvements in mood including a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression.