Are the Foods You're Eating Making You Sick?

By Dr. Tonya Fleck

Do you suffer from asthma, allergies, eczema, acne, fatigue, inability to lose weight, constipation or loose stool, brain fog, stiff or achy joints, migraines or a lowered immune system?  Does your child have chronic ear infections, complain of headaches, is hyperactive or has ADD?  If so, you or your child may be suffering from Food Sensitivities and all of these symptoms are likely tied together.

We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat”.   And living in Santa Cruz County, we have lots of opportunities to eat healthy.  However, did you know that you could possibly be eating “good” foods that are causing inflammation in your GI tract and triggering an immune responses?

It’s first important to distinguish the difference between a food sensitivity and a food allergy.   A food allergy is an IgE mediated Type 1 immune response.   These reactions usually occur within a few hours of exposure to the offending food.  Food sensitivities cause a different immune reaction.   They cause an IgG mediated Type 2 immune response and these reactions can vary from a few minutes to a few days.  Many of my patients tell me that their doctor “tested” them for allergies but things they know that they react to didn’t show up.  This is because they were testing for IgG antibodies, not IgEs.

Here’s what happens. When we consume a food that our gastrointestinal (GI) tract is ‘sensitive’ to, the same thing happens that happens on our skin when we rub up against something - the cells become red and inflamed which causes “leaky gut”.  In a healthy gut, our cells (enterocytes) are tightly packed together to protect us from invading toxins (this is also where about 75% of our immune system lives and also where those good probiotics call home).    So when the integrity of the lining of our GI tract is compromised, toxins and other particles begin to “leak” into our bloodstream where our immune system recognizes them as foreigners and develops antibodies.  These antibody levels will continue to increase from repeated exposure.  Most of this happens on a daily basis and we don’t have any symptoms.  However, when our immune system is continually compromised, over time we eventually become sensitive to just about everything. Ever wonder why you get seasonal allergies and your partner doesn’t?  This is often the reason.

So how do I know if I have food sensitivities and what can I do about it?  Since antibiotics attach themselves to red blood cells, a simple blood test can determine your sensitivities.   It is important to work with a knowledgeable practitioner to be sure that the proper testing is being done.  Once your sensitivities are determined, it is recommended that you remove those offending foods from your diet for 3 months (remove the obstacles to cure) and supplement with glutamine, high quality probiotics and mucilaginous herbs to heal the lining of the gut.  After 3 months, your symptoms will have cleared and you should be able to re-introduce those foods that you were sensitive to, a little at a time, and have no reaction.  Bon apetit!

If you have questions or would like to learn more, call 831.477.1377 to schedule a Free 15-Minute Consultation.