Food Allergies, Intolerances, and Sensitivities
TRANSCRIPT EPISODE 102
Hey, friends welcome! Let’s start today with a question...do you know the difference between a food allergy, a food intolerance, and a food sensitivity? Often these words are used interchangeably - sometimes I even recommend that you use them interchangeably because generally there isn’t an understanding of what they mean or the impact they have on your human suit.
Food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are all on the rise. About 1 in 4 people know they suffer from sensitivities and intolerances, and I would wager that a good number more suffer from them BUT haven’t connected the dots yet. Many researchers speculate that this rise in food issues is a result of food manufacturing and they aren’t wrong, they are also a result of toxins in our environment and food (that’s why I harp on organic - but even then organic isn’t foolproof), and the issue of how our bodies have adapted.
Understanding this information can be the key to unlocking your anything from your miscellaneous symptoms -to you autoimmune disease.
If you haven’t downloaded my free guide, 5 Things You Can do TODAY to Start Healing Your Psoriais - go grab that right now .
Food allergies are serious, so are intolerances and sensitivities, but allergies are urgently serious. This is when you have hives, swelling, and even your throat can swell closed. Think of someone with a peanut allergy, this is a life-threatening anaphylaxis reaction. This happens within minutes to at the longest hours of exposure or ingestion to the food.
This is a swift and severe response by the immune system. A food allergy is immune-mediated by an antibody called IGG. This is what really releases the histamine (think of where you have heard that before - maybe in an allergy medicine add “anti-histamine”) in our body and causes our body to react severely enough you have to go to the hospital. I have experienced this and it is NOT fun and neither is the treatment or recovery.
Unfortunately, in order to be taken seriously - many people will say “I have an allergy” in order to ensure they don’t get exposed to a substance or food. I have said it myself and given the same advice - because often its the only way to be taken seriously.
Food intolerances are usually an enzymatic problem and are often really obvious. Someone who is intolerant of milk - and has a bowl of ice cream - will often be in the bathroom with symptoms like stomach ache, bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, maybe something less obvious like heartburn. That’s a food intolerance.
Usually, food intolerances are caused by enzyme issues in the body. Enzymes do the major work of breaking down food in the body. There are many parts of the digestive process where enzymes are activated.
If you are having this issue, you may simply a person that produces fewer enzymes or it could be that you have an organ that produces enzymes that is weak or dysfunctional. Some people can find relief with supplementing with digestive enzyme type products. Now, I don’t condone anyone drinking milk for all sorts of heavily researched and documented reasons - so this is not a loophole to take enzymes and start back on the dairy products.
Eventually, if you keep ignoring the food intolerances, because it involves the digestive system - it will cause more body-wide issues leading to autoimmune conditions and other symptoms like acne, joint pain, eczema, psoriasis, fatigue, headaches, migraines, and more because it causes such a strain on the body.
Food sensitivities are sneakier, less blatant because they take longer to react. Food sensitivities are the reason I see people in my practice “that don’t have a problem with dairy” or say “gluten seems fine for me” but are suffering from seasonal allergies or chronic fatigue or multiple sclerosis or any number of autoimmune diseases and miscellaneous symptoms.
With a food sensitivity, we know that substances, food molecules, that aren’t supposed to be in our bloodstream are finding their way in there and the immune system is reacting to them - and not just reacting but remembering them for next time. This is often the most overlooked category of food issues because it is a delayed response - sometimes for a couple of days - and if you are sensitive to a food you consume regularly - it is almost impossible to sort out what the cause is.
This is where I find people going to the doctor for 3-4-5 years and then finally landing in an autoimmune diagnosis. It isn’t always that the doctor finally realized what they had going on - although sometimes that is the case. Often it is a case of you keep hammering your body with something it is clearly saying NO to for that long eventually you cause major damage.
What causes food sensitivities?
Food sensitivities are a tree with many roots, and even though there is some aspect of it being handed down from your parent’s genes, we know that it is our own unique bio-individuality that is the final seal on the deal.
The surface cause is the immune system is dysregulated and when you back that up to why immune dysregulation happens, you will find that it leads to something called gut permeability, also known as leaky gut.
Leaky gut is caused by a disrupted gut microbiome. Our gut bacteria are responsible for our relationship internally with food. (our mental health our health overall). It is our gut bacterias’ responsibility to modify and process those food particles in a way that our immune system can handle them and won’t alert the inflammation process. When this is disrupted, our immune system sounds the alarm.
When you dig deeper, you know that there are many roots to leaky gut - things like antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, antacids, Advil, Alleve, ibuprofen, even overused natural remedies, pesticides, herbicides, glyphosate, environmental toxins, toxins you put on your skin, stress, and food choices.
Can you see why its not as simple as “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and just take this supplement to help?” We as beings are multifaceted, and so are these issues.
How do you know if you have food sensitivities?
Often people I work with come in asking for food sensitivities testings. And while they can be useful, sometimes, they are expensive and not nearly as accurate as what you experience in your own body.
It’s much more effective to do an elimination diet and track your symptoms. It’s kind of like what you do with babies when you start them on solid foods, only in reverse. It’s way more accurate than any test and less expensive too.
To wrap this up:
So we have learned food allergies, are a swift and severe immune response, food intolerances are blatant digestive troubles, and food sensitivities are delayed immune responses. They all cause varying levels of symptoms and are a root cause for many chronic health conditions including autoimmune disease.
Thanks for listening to the Naturalistic Nurse Podcast, if you’d like to contribute to this podcasting effort of getting the work out about how to shift your practice to ditch the bandaid fix and shift to root cause resolutions that stick be sure and subscribe, rate and leave a review - I’d be oh- so grateful.