Is food making you sick? It goes beyond fast food and junk food. To the public’s surprise, many people are reacting to ordinarily healthy foods like carrots, spinach or broccoli? We are approaching epidemic levels of patients suffering from chronic inflammation associated with the foods they are eating which in turn causes chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Conditions may also include autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Sarcoidosis, Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, thyroiditis, and Multiple Sclerosis. People have no idea that may be reacting to certain foods that would generally be thought of as healthy foods. What makes it even more difficult is no two patients react to the same foods. Food allergies can range from mild to life-threatening. Some patients from the Temecula and Murrieta areas have come into Hoyt Integrative Health wondering if they had a food allergy, and it turned out to be a food intolerance or a sensitivity. What is the difference? We hope this helps you understand the difference between the three, how to recognize a true life-threatening food allergy and how to get properly tested.
Common Food Related Symptoms Include
Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, stomach aches, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, headaches, runny nose, sinus and pulmonary congestion, asthma, sore throat, canker sores, gagging, brain fog, heart palpitations, fatigue, joint pain, gout, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, increased blood sugar, limb or stomach cramps, neuropathy, numbness, dermatologic changes such as rash, acne, and hives.
Food intolerance can cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and nausea. This condition often happens when your body lacks an enzyme that is required to digest a certain food. One of the most common types of intolerance is to dairy products, or specifically lactose. With an intolerance, you may find you can ingest small amounts and be okay. This is not the case with a food allergy.
Sensitivity to food is different as it involves other parts of the immune system- mainly immunoglobulins G and A. It can have a delayed response, taking days to weeks to show up! This can make it difficult to identify which food you are reacting to. Symptoms can be vague and impossible to decipher without specialized testing which exceeds the ordinary panels of our local labs.
With food allergies, your body sees the food as a harmful substance and it will produce histamine in order to attack the substance. The response is immediate and can cause itching, hives, rashes, swelling and tingling in your mouth and throat, ears or eyes. You may also experience wheezing, heart palpitations, dizziness or fainting, and possibly stop your breathing. When this happens, it is important that you see a doctor immediately. Your body is fighting what it considers to be an enemy and it will work hard to rid you of it but often there will be collateral damage and even anaphylaxis such as with a walnut or shrimp allergy that lands you in the ER. When your body feels it is being attacked by something harmful, it produces a chemical called immunoglobulin E to attack the substance. We aren't always certain why some people have this reaction but we do know that an overburdened immune system, an unhealthy gut, candida, past infections, hormone imbalances, family history, and several other compromising factors, frequently contribute to or are associated with the allergies. Children can sometimes outgrow a food allergy but other times it is something that will last a lifetime. People with asthma or other allergies are most susceptible to food allergies.
What You Can Do
In the case of true allergies, once you have been properly diagnosed, it is important for you to avoid ingesting anything that has that food in it. This means you will need to read all food labels. You will also need to make others aware of your allergy in case you accidentally eat something and your throat swells where you can't explain what is happening. Wearing a bracelet that lists your allergy is a good idea, especially if your reaction is likely to be severe. Your doctor might also be willing to give you an Epi-pen, which contains a ready dose of antihistamine. In any case, having antihistamine handy at all times is a good idea. When eating out, make sure you discuss your allergy with the waiter in order to make sure the food you order is safe to eat. There are strategies for testing and recovering a tolerance to food to overcome your health conditions associated with food intolerance, sensitivities and allergies. Many patients have no outward manifestation that food is a part of their chronic health concerns.
Local Healthcare for Food Allergies
Call Hoyt Integrative Health at (951) 973-0773 if you have a chronic condition which you think may be food-related. If you live in the Temecula or Murrieta areas, visit our office and our staff can speak with you about ways to stay safe.