In the average American diet, the majority of the foods consumed are packaged and processed with additives, colorings, preservatives, flavorings, and other chemicals. These artificial ingredients help the foods look, and taste better while increasing shelf life and longevity. However, with these added chemicals, comes an increased risk to the individuals consuming these foods. One of the most prominent health issues caused by these artificial foods is an allergy.
When most people think of a food allergy, they picture a kid with a swollen throat choking on something containing peanut products. This absolutely can be true, but in most cases, the reaction is not nearly as severe. In fact, many people have food allergies, or at least sensitivities, and do not even realize it. While some allergic reactions result in things like nausea, vomiting, swelling, and hives, less severe responses can be more vague and include things like bloating, pain or indigestion.
Different things can cause food allergies, however, researchers are still working on finding a complete answer as to why some people develop such severe reactions while others don’t. In children, there is a definite genetic component, as many of the same allergies run in families. Many children will “grow out” of these reactions, but some can absolutely last a lifetime. The most common food allergens in children include shellfish, peanuts and other tree nuts, dairy, and gluten.
The rate of adult-onset food allergies is on the rise, and a national study now estimates that 52 percent of all Americans suffering from food allergies developed them after age 18. Development of food allergies in adulthood is on the rise, and this form of a food allergy is more closely linked to the preservatives and chemicals I mentioned earlier. Research is also unclear about a definite cause of adult-onset food allergies, however, I am convinced it is related to gut health.
When the lining of the intestinal wall gets damaged from overconsumption of chemicals, the resulting condition is called leaky gut syndrome (have you seen my leaky gut presentation? It’s on Facebook!). Having a “leaky” gut means that the food particles, digestive enzymes, toxins, and bacteria that are naturally supposed to be held inside the gut, are now able to “leak” through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. These things, particularly the food particles for the purpose of this article, then travel through the entire body via the bloodstream. In certain situations, these food particles can be recognized by the body as a foreign invader, and an immune response is triggered to protect the body. This immune response will trigger the release of histamine, a neurotransmitter, as a defense mechanism.
This histamine is responsible for the different reactions that may occur. For example, if histamine is released near the skin, hives may occur. If it is released in the digestive tract, it may result in vomiting or diarrhea. If these processes continue and the body gets used to recognizing certain foods as foreign invaders, a permanent food allergy may result.
Treatment of food allergies is different for each individual, and everyone responds uniquely. However, things like leaky gut syndrome and symptoms of resulting food allergies can be reversed and resolved. Ask how we can help!
Yours in Health, Dr. Alex
Project Wellness Company – Madison, WI