Written by Dr. Millie Lytle. A true food allergy generates life threatening histamine type 1 release, most understood by bronchial swelling and throat closing over, in the case of shrimp or peanut exposure. There are also lesser-known allergy signals in the intestines, called Histamine 2 receptors.
Allergies from foods and ingredients such as gluten, known as Celiac Disease, can trigger a complex set of immune markers measurable in the intestinal tissues and blood leading to diarrhea and malabsorption.
Up until a year or two ago it was thought that only 1% of the population is allergic to gluten and should eliminate all sources. But new evidence and understanding are looking to food sensitivities, a set of inflammatory processes that haven’t progressed to true allergies, yet are still cause disease. Instead of full blown Celiac Disease, a process called Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) means that a person feels better when they go off gluten, even though they don’t fit the criteria for Celiac Disease. People with NCGS may go onto to develop Celiac or may not, but can help themselves feel a whole lot better in avoiding it.
It’s been shown that a substantial number of people living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Fibromyalgia and Mood Disorder also experience improvements in their conditions when withdrawing gluten permanently from the diet.
Scientific studies have indicated that up to 20% of people may benefit from eliminating gluten, contained most commonly in wheat and other grains such as barley, spelt and rye.
A Gluten-free diet has been a hot trend this year, but gluten is not the only culprit. There are any number of potential foods and ingredients that cause health problems. Many common food sensitivities emerging in the population are
- peanuts, even without anaphylaxis
- dairy and milk
- tree nuts
- raw apples
- white potatoes
- fermented foods
In other words, not just white bread, sodas and MSG, but otherwise healthy foods may be making you sick. Take this questionnaire to see if you need to pay more attention to what you eat. Plus food sensitivities can accumulate. Like any histamine reaction, it lasts up to 10 days so if you are exposed to more than one offending agent (from food or the environment) within that time frame you are more likely to develop a chronic reaction. Being exposed to two or three mild sensitivities in a single day may cause a bigger reaction than only being exposed to one. For instance, if you have seasonal allergies and you eat dairy, your histamine reaction may be worse than if you hadn’t eaten dairy. If you get heartburn with tomatoes and you get an itchy tongue with eggplant, you could be far worse on the day you eat that amazing tomato-eggplant dish.
FOOD SENSITIVITY QUESTIONNAIRE:
|COMMON SYMPTOMS||O = NEVER||1 = ONCE/WEEK||2=>TWICE/WEEK|
|Head and Mood Symptoms|
Symptoms may be worse after eating an offending food. A higher score increases the likelihood your symptoms are due to food sensitivities, but any score above zero could flag an underlying food issue. Check with a Naturopathic Doctor, or a Functional nutritionist who can put you on an elimination diet. An elimination diet is more effective than any allergy test, when it comes to food sensitivities.
Xox Dr. Millie
Millennia Ruth Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS
Founder of Eating for Meaning©
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