An allergy is a condition in which the body reacts poorly to a substance that is harmless in similar amounts to most people. Dust, pollens, specific foods, and animal dander do not cause a problem in a normally functioning body.
When evaluating the cause of allergies, I begin with identifying food allergies or intolerances. Continuing to eat foods we are individually and genetically incapable of handling will aggravate existing allergies or make us susceptible to other allergies. Our bodies can only handle so much of an inflammatory burden before it over reacts.
The most common food allergies are wheat (gluten), corn (zein), dairy (casein), and soy. The next most common are peanuts, eggs, tomatoes, chocolate, and beef. In my experience, everyone is intolerant of at least one of these foods. The next time you’re in the office, I encourage you to remind me and I’ll do a quick test to see if we can identify your food allergy!
Identifying and eliminating the offending food from your diet can allow dramatic improvement in health. I have seen gluten be responsible for gut issues, achy joints, arthritis, colitis, irritable bowel, high blood pressure, and damp or sweaty hands. Corn frequently causes neurological symptoms like headaches, migraines, tics, etc. Dairy (casein) is often the culprit with skin problems like eczema, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and ear fluid and infections. Soy is a strange protein that I do not recommend humans eat. It can be the cause strange and unusual symptoms.
Test yourself! Eliminate the suspected food allergen COMPLETELY for 2 weeks then reintroduce the food and watch closely for your reaction over the next 7 days.
Immediate histamine reactions (within hours up to 1 day):
- burning, red teary eyes
- mood changes/irritability
- nausea, cramps, diarrhea
- difficulty concentrating/brain fog
- restlessness, difficulty sleeping
Delayed immune responses (2 to 7 days later) include:
- colds and flu
- colored phlegm (mucous), inflammation of mucous membranes
- skin itching, irritation, dryness/eczema
- rashes and hives
- increased inflammation and pain, elevated blood CRP
- achy body
- nausea and vomitting
Often answers to our health challenges are simpler than we have suspected. Basic food allergies are the result of genetic predisposition, blood types, and unique metabolisms. Reducing the inflammatory burden on our bodies will lengthen out lives, reduce discomfort, and reduce the burden on our immune system so it can be more active in protecting us from more important issues.