We see a lot of people have problems with food. Some of these problems have been studied and understood, but most have not.
These problems range from relatively mild conditions such as lactose intolerance to very serious conditions like Celiac disease.
Most people call these problems “food allergies.”
We classify these problems as allergies, intolerances, and reactions / sensitivities.
Allergies are caused when the immune system reacts to a harmless substance (most commonly dairy, wheat, citrus, soy, or eggs) as if it were harmful. These reactions range from mild to very severe, such as peanut allergies that can cause anaphylactic reactions (where the airway closes up).
We have begun to measure allergic reactions using IgA, IgE, and IgG (proteins produced by the immune system), but the technology is still developing and is not always accurate. Our experience with the skin prick testing commonly used by allergists is that it is inaccurate. Things that your skin registers as allergic do not necessarily match up with things that your digestive system is allergic to. We also suspect that there are a whole class of immune-caused reactions (allergies) known as delayed-hypersensitivity (type IV) reactions, in which other immune cells cause reactions hours or even days later which are not recognized by current allergy testing.
Wheat allergy vs. Celiac disease
We are finding more and more people specifically having issues with wheat and other gluten grains. Many people have allergies or other reactions, and we are finding a growing number with Celiac disease. Wheat allergy and Celiac disease are different, however. In someone with a wheat allergy, their immune system has identified wheat as a harmful substance and is reacting against the wheat. In someone with Celiac disease, this immune response to gluten has crossed over into an auto-immune condition where the body is attacking itself. This results in damage to the small intestines and a decreased ability to absorb nutrients, along with a variety of other issues.
Intolerances are caused by a lack of enzymes. For instance, in lactose intolerance the person does not have enough lactase (enzyme) to break down the lactose (milk sugar) in dairy products. This undigested lactose is then eaten by our gut bacteria resulting in gas, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. Intolerances are not well categorized beyond lactose intolerance. NDs have come to see more fructose intolerance emerging, and it is likely there are others.
In a similar way, hypochlorhydria (too little stomach acid) and achlorhydria (no stomach acid) result in a general malfunction of digestion. Without enough acid in the stomach, protein digestion does not occur properly and the next steps in digestion, like the release of bile and pancreatic enzymes to continue the digestion of food, do not occur correctly.
Reactions or Sensitivities
We use the word reactions or sensitivities for all the other responses people have to food that we do not understand yet. We see that eating a food causes a bad reaction for that person, but it doesn’t seem to be an allergy or an intolerance. Hopefully science will continue to unravel the mysteries of people’s reactions to foods, but in the meantime we continue to treat that person and help them recover their health.
One other type of reaction that we are beginning to understand more about involves our gut bacteria.
We know now that there are more bacteria in our digestive tract than there are cells in our body. We are gaining a greater understanding that these bacteria, known as gut flora, play a critical role in our digestion and health.
When these bacteria are out of balance or when bad bacteria have taken over our digestive system, both conditions called dysbiosis, we have problems with both our digestion and our health.
The Good News
While there are many ways foods can hurt us, the good news is that we commonly see problems with food improve, and many resolve, for people as they health their gut, restore their digestion, and balance their immune system.
At Aspire Natural Health we are experts at helping people suffering with digestive issues and autoimmunity.
Are you looking for help?
Email us at email@example.com or call us at 425-202-7849.
The first step of our process is to see if we’re a good fit for one another. If we are, we’ll talk about next steps. If not, that’s okay, and we’ll do our best to help you find the right person.
Everything is no-obligation and no-pressure, so you don’t have to worry. You have nothing to lose!
Call us at 425-202-7849 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org now!
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