Originally published November 14 2009
What Your Doctor did Not Tell You about Food Intolerances
by Alex Howard
(NaturalNews) Allergies are a condition in which the immune system over-reacts to a substance that is not normally harmful. They can be tested by a doctor and are far less common than intolerances. Intolerances tend to develop due to other imbalances in the body, especially in the gut. Doctors tend to be unfamiliar with intolerances. Intolerances can be treated by balancing the underlying problems in the body and the gut. People can develop allergies or intolerances to foods, chemicals, moulds, dust, animals, rubber, certain metals, and prescription drugs.
What are Intolerances as Opposed to Allergies?
Symptoms of intolerances can include the following:
What Causes Intolerances?
Intolerances are associated with changes in the environment of the gut which can change the reaction of the immune system in general. In order to effectively deal with intolerances, the foods need to be avoided and the immune system and gut need to be strengthened, since they are at the root of intolerance.
Everyone has good bacteria in their gut which is important in managing the immune system and in promoting immune tolerance. Our gut also has a mucous lining which allows the good bacteria to adhere and stick to the gut lining. It also manages the immune response. When this mucosal lining becomes depleted, good bacteria can also diminish. Additionally, excess bad bacteria can then flourish, and the immune system can become chronically over-reactive. This is known as a pro-inflammatory condition, which increases the release of certain molecules by the immune system called cytokines. Cytokines make us feel groggy, experience pain and tiredness, or have headachy and flu-like systems. Many people do not realise that it is not the food which makes us feel bad. When we have a food intolerance, in fact, it is the immune system response and release of cytokines.
Intolerances have been linked to leaky gut syndrome for many years now. This is a state where the junctions between the cells of the gut lining become wider than they should be, allowing food and other particles into the blood stream which should not be allowed through. This in turn causes an immune system response. Leaky gut is part of the disruption of the gut ecology in general, and can result from over-growth of bad bacteria and from a reduction in the mucosal stomach lining.
What factors can disrupt the health of our gut ecology?
Chronic emotional and mental stress reduces a healthy immune response in the gut, and it reduces important enzymes, which digest food correctly, leading to overgrowth of bad bacteria and a leaky gut. An excessively sugary or poor diet feeds bad bacteria in the gut leading to immune disruption. Antibiotic usage lowers good gut bacteria. Toxins and pollution (e.g. heavy metals and pesticides) deplete the body's detox systems, which in turn overwhelms the immune system, causing overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut.
Increase Intake of:
-Cabbage, papaya, and liquorice tea which are all gut healing
-Fiber in vegetables, lentils and beans
-Oily fish, nuts and seeds as these contain essential fatty acids
including omega 3 and 6, which promote a healthy mucosal gut lining
-Drink 12-16 glasses of pure water per day.
About the authorAlex Howard is author of "WHY ME? My Journey from M.E. to Health and Happiness" and founder of The Optimum Health Clinic, an award winning clinic specialising in M.E./C.F.S./Fibromyalgia based in Harley Street Clinic, London, UK. The clinic has treated over 5,000 patients with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia in over twenty-five countries around the world, and is currently running a two year clinical trial in conjunction with two top universities. A free information pack, including a 75 documentary about the clinic and its work, can be ordered from www.FreedomFromME.co.uk
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