At the core of almost every chronic disease is a nutritional deficiency due to the food you choose to eat. As discussed elsewhere when you consider that our food source is often tainted with chemicals, pesticides, GMO, and depleted soil nutrients then it is clear that we need to choose our foods very wisely. Increasing numbers of people are also displaying signs of food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances.
Stress and the resulting HPA axis dysfunction can also cause food reactions to occur. Cortisol is responsible for regulating levels of Secretory IgA, the body’s first line of defence against microbes and antigens within the gut. When the body’s immune response is suppressed then you are at the risk of developing food reactions. For example, endurance athletes can have suppressed levels of sIgA post event placing them at risk of food reactions.
In the average person, undetected food reactions can be a significant factor in overall health. The challenge is to clearly define which foods may be causing adverse reactions.The ultimate proof of an adverse food reaction is via an elimination-provocation process, where the suspected food is removed from the diet and then later reintroduced.
Food sensitivities are a common cause of hidden or subclinical inflammation in the GI system. Many people are sensitive to grains containing gluten such as wheat, barley and rye. Others react to lactose found in milk and dairy products, and many react poorly to soy. These types of hidden food reactions are commonly found in people with chronic health conditions. The food sensitivity test, or GI/Gluten food profile can determine if food related problems are a significant aspect in your overall health picture.
In the healing phase we recommend a gluten and dairy free diet. These foods may be slowly re-introduced if so desired with any reactions closely monitored. Further evidence has shown people benefit from different types of diets such as;
Any dietary advice depends on each unique individual
Food antibody tests measure levels of specific immunoglobulins in blood directed against food antigens. Elevated levels of food-specific IgE can cause allergic reactions to food involving a serious anaphylactic response. These reactions are so severe people are aware of the types of foods that cause such allergies such as nut allergies.
IgG food sensitivities are extremely common, some estimates are as high as 50% for the Australian population. Often discredited by certain medical groups, it is commonly misunderstood due to the intricacies of the human immune system. These reactions result from frequent exposure, often non-specific symptoms means the offending food is not easily identified unless testing is performed. By eliminating and rotating certain foods it is possible to target the cause of the reaction. By healing the gut and improving digestion it is possible to repair any damage caused by the inflammatory process the sensitivity has created.
When mal-digestion and mal-absorption exist it is often a deficiency of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. Without adequate enzymes your body cannot break down food correctly. Low stomach acid and low digestive enzymes are common problems due to poor modern day diets and high levels of stress.
The enzymes present in raw fruits and vegetables help us digest foods more easily. These enzymes are broken down in the cooking process. Your own production of digestive enzymes will become depleted when too many cooked foods are consumed, when these enzymes decrease, your body’s other enzymes which are critical for proper immune regulation and other cellular processes get shunted back into the digestive system. This process leads to a depletion of enzyme reserve in other body systems which are not related to digestion. Lower enzymes throughout your body leads to a loss of overall health.
Undigested foods due to insufficient enzymes will become toxic to your body. These partially digested foods can provide the fuel for many harmful microorganisms like yeast, bacteria and parasites. Eating raw and lightly cooked vegetables and fruits will help increase your levels of enzymes. Digestive enzyme supplements can help increase your reserve until they are restored naturally.
Food reactions, the quantity and quality of food is central to any effective functional medicine program. Digestion and absorption of nutrients is easily measured via stool testing. By restricting foods that cause inflammation, the gut can heal, the adrenals can strengthen and any autoimmune disorders can start to improve.
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