Food allergies have become very common. Quite often the person is not sure what food produces the reaction, because the reaction may be immediate or delayed.
Food allergy or intolerance can produce migraines, fatigue, PMS, painful joints, itchy skin to depression, hyperactivity, hallucinations, obsessions and other psychiatric and neurological manifestations. However, the most immediate and common symptoms in the vast majority of patients are digestive problems: pain, diarrhoea or constipation, urgency, bloating, indigestion, etc.
In some cases, elimination of a trigger food helps. However, the majority of patients find, that as they eliminate some foods, they start reacting to other foods, to which they did not seem to react before. The whole process leads to a situation where the person finishes up with virtually nothing left to eat.
We need to look deeper, at what causes these food intolerances. In order to understand it, I would like to share a case history of one of my patients.
Stephanie S, 35 years old asked for my help in “sorting out her food allergies”. A very pale malnourished looking lady, (weight 45 kg with height 160cm) with low energy levels, chronic cystitis, abdominal pains, bloating and chronic constipation. She was consistently diagnosed anaemic all her life.
We have to look deeper and find the course of the patient’s malady. In order to do that we have to examine Stephanie’s health history.
Stephanie had to take a long course of antibiotics for acne at the age of 16. That is when she got pronounced digestive problems: constipation, bloating, abdominal pain and lactose intolerance, indicating that her gut flora got seriously compromised.
From the age of 14 Stephanie has been taking contraceptive pills for many years. Contraceptives have a serious damaging effect on the composition of gut flora, leading to allergy and other problems, related to gut dysbiosis (microbial imbalance).
And when this gut flora is damaged despite adequate nutrition we develop vitamin deficiencies. Restoring the beneficial bacteria in their gut is the best way to deal with those deficiencies, particularly vitamin B deficiencies.
For Stephanie’s complete history please visit the website http://www.gaps.me/food-allergy.php
Let us discuss some of Stephanie’s complaints.
Anaemia – Patients like Stephanie cannot absorb essential vitamins and minerals from food. On top of that people with damaged gut flora often have a particular group of pathogenic (potentially disease causing)bacteria growing in their gut, which are iron-loving bacteria, which consume dietary iron, leaving the person deficient. Unfortunately, supplementing iron makes these bacteria multiply rapidly, bringing unpleasant digestive problems and does not remedy anaemia. It has been shown in a large number of studies all over the world, that just supplementing iron does not do much for anaemia.
The pathogens in the gut – Unfortunately, every course of broad – spectrum antibiotics removes the good bacteria, which leaves Clostridia uncontrolled and allows it to grow. Different species of Clostridia cause severe inflammation of the digestive system and damage its integrity, leading to many digestive problems and food intolerances.
Food “allergies” and intolerances – Normal gut flora maintains gut wall integrity through protecting it, feeding it and insuring normal cell turnover. When the beneficial bacteria in the gut are greatly reduced, the gut wall degenerates. At the same time various opportunists, when not controlled by damaged good bacteria, get access to the gut wall and damage its integrity, making it porous and “leaky”. Partially digested foods gets through the damaged “leaky” gut wall into the blood stream, where the immune system recognises them as foreign and reacts to them.
This is how food allergies or intolerances develop. So, there is nothing wrong with the food. What is happening is that foods do not get a chance to be digested properly before they are absorbed through the damaged gut wall. So, in order to eliminate food allergies we need to concentrate on the gut wall. In my clinical experience, when the gut wall is healed many food intolerances disappear.
How do we heal the gut wall? The most important intervention is the appropriate diet. A very effective diet with more than 60 years of an excellent record of helping people with all sorts of digestive disorders, including such devastating ones as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This diet is called Specific Carbohydrate Diet or SCD for short.
Dr. Haas treated over 600 patients with excellent results: after following his dietary regimen for at least a year there was “complete recovery with no relapses, no deaths, no crisis, no pulmonary involvement and no stunting of growth”.
Elaine Gottschall, desperate to help her little daughter, who suffered from severe ulcerative colitis and neurological problems, went to see Dr. Haas in 1958. After 2 years on SCD her daughter was completely free of symptoms, an energetic and thriving little girl.
Over the years I have developed a GAPS Introduction Diet for the more severe end of the spectrum. I find that the Introduction Diet is particularly effective in food allergies, as it allows the gut wall heal quicker. The Introduction Diet is structured in stages. Unless there is a dangerous (anaphylactic type) allergy to a particular food, I recommend my patients to ignore the results of their food intolerance testing and follow the stages one by one.
The Introduction Diet in its first stages serves the gut lining in three ways:
- It removes fibre. Only well-cooked vegetables (soups and stews) are allowed with particularly fibrous parts of the vegetable removed. No starch is allowed on the GAPS diet, which means no grains and no starchy vegetables.
- It provides nourishment for the gut lining. These substances come from homemade meat and fish stocks, gelatinous parts of meats well-cooked in water, organ meats, egg yolks and plenty of natural animal fats on meats.
- It provides probiotic bacteria in the form of fermented foods.
As the gut wall starts healing, the patients find that they can gradually introduce foods, which they could not tolerate before. When the Introduction GAPS Diet is completed, the patient moves to the Full GAPS Diet.
SOURCE: Food Allergies By Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride http://www.gaps.me/food-allergy.php
Published in: Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, First Quarter, 2009, Vol 24, 1, pp.31-41 For References please see the website.
For more on pathogenic and beneficial microbes, please refer to my Post: How Did I Get Gut Issues? https://2healthyhabits.wordpress.com/?s=How+Did+I+Get+Gut+Issues%3F
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