Whole Living Daily

Natural Healing: Food Allergies

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Soothe those food sensitivities

Food allergies: They’re difficult and complicated, and most people are hesitant to name them since they require a dietary shift away from some of our most commonly eaten foods. The reality is that the standard American diet is heavily based on foods that classify as allergens: wheat (gluten), milk, eggs, soy, corn, tree nuts, shellfish, etc.

Two of the most common offenders? Dairy and gluten (wheat). Dairy intolerance is often attributed to a lack of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose, a complex sugar found in dairy. Gluten sensitivity, also known as celiac sprue, is due to a physical abnormality in the intestinal lining. (It’s important to note that gluten is pervasive, and sneaks its way into many foods that may not be obvious.)

Common symptoms of food allergies include itching, nausea, vomiting, headaches, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, indigestion (gas and bloating), hives, eczema, asthma, fatigue and anaphylaxis. Here are a few steps for figuring out whether these symptoms may be indicative of a food allergy or sensitivity.

1) Keep a food diary, including the food you ingest and the digestive effects.

2) Try an elimination diet, whereby you remove the top suspected allergens for several weeks. If the associated symptoms disappear, one can assume that these foods are culprits. You may slowly reintroduce each food item one at a time to determine if the symptoms return.

Note: Conventional practitioners tend to use blood tests, skin tests and food challenges, but none are 100 percent conclusive in detecting underlying sensitivities. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine also offer NAET testing, which works differently then conventional testing.

In addition to genetics, food allergies/sensitivities can stem from two main issues: Intestinal dysbiosis, in which the intestinal flora is out of balance; or leaky gut syndrome, in which food particles escape the intestines and enter the blood stream. Though we can’t change genetics, we can address the other issues with some of the following supplements:

Though supplementation can truly help address food sensitivities, there are certain food allergens that may need to be avoided entirely. The good news is that there are now so many replacement foods to choose from—even in restaurants—that you can maintain a healthy diet and stay away from allergens. Thanks to a growing awareness of food intolerances, there are also many resources to assist in finding alternative food choices.

Kate Brainard, is a naturopathic doctor based in San Diego, California. A graduate of Bastyr University’s doctorate program in Naturopathic Medicine, she works for Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, a holistic pharmacy staffed with expert practitioners. She currently manages the Pharmaca in La Jolla and spends time educating customers on supplements, health and lifestyle choices.

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Comments (9)

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  • There is a big difference between a food sensitivity/intolerance and a food allergy that this article does not delineate. A food allergy is reaction involving the immune system that can result in severe symptoms and can potentially be fatal.

    Milk allergy, in particular, is a severe condition that is often misunderstood by the public. It is not a dairy intolerance that causes tummy symptoms. It is not something that is caused by a lack of a digestive enzyme. It is a serious immune condition that can potentially cause a life threatening reaction in affected individuals. These individuals need to carry injectable epinephrine with them at all times in case a reaction occurs.

    For more information, please visit http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org.

    Lynda Mitchell
    Kids With Food Allergies Foundation

  • [...] 文章来源:http://wholelivingdaily.wholeliving.com/2011/06/natural-healing-food-allergies.html [...]

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  • Daily supplementation with probiotics, fish oil, and digestive enzymes would do absolutely nothing to help someone with food allergies. It is important that you correct the error in this article, replacing all instances of the term 'food allergies' with the term 'food intolerances' to ensure that people do not get harmed as a result of your misguided advice.

    Please see Lynda Mitchell's comment above for clarification on the difference between a food allergy (an immune system response to proteins in foods, resulting in, at worst, anaphylaxis or death) and food intolerances (such as lactose intolerance, which is a response in the gut to the sugars in milk, resulting in, at worst, loose bowel movements).

    As a subscriber to this blog and the mother of a severely allergic child, I hope to see a follow-up post soon in which a well-researched article clarifies the potentially harmful errors made in this post. I would be willing to share the follow-up correction, but wouldn't dream of passing this post on to anyone whom I care about.

  • Thank you for bringing up the important point of difference between food allergies and food sensitivities. My post was meant to help address some of the ways we can boost our digestive and immune health to diminish the impact of food sensitivities and to underscore the importance of taking some of these supplements.

    I’m sorry if I was unclear about the difference to begin with, and I’d like to explain the difference here. A food allergy as described by the Food, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network “occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein. Ingestion of the offending food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals, including histamine, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction. The symptoms may be mild (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) or severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). A food allergy can be potentially fatal.”

    Food sensitivity differs from food allergies in that there is difficulty in digestion of certain foods for an individual. Where food allergy tends to have a very quick and noticeable immune reaction (which can be potentially fatal), food sensitivities tend to show less dramatic symptoms which are not as immediate or as serious in nature. It should be noted that individuals with known food allergy should carry an Epi pen (injectable epinephrine) at all times in the event the individual comes into contact with even the smallest trace of the allergen triggering an anaphylactic reaction. Medical attention should be sought immediately should an individual show symptoms of anaphylactic shock.

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