Food Allergies, Sensitivities, Intolerances and Adverse Reactions
Some Allergy Statistics:
- About 10% of the population has food allergies.
- Between 10-35% of the population feel they have food sensitivities.
- Non-secretor blood types have more reactions to foods and chemicals than secretor types.
- Some foods can cause painful problems days after eating so they are difficult to track down, even with food diaries.
- From 1998–2000 to 2007–2009, the percentage of children who were reported to have a food allergy during the preceding 12 months increased from 3.5% to 4.6%, and the percentage who were reported to have a skin allergy increased from 7.3% to 10.7%.
Before I became adept at figuring out the core cause of my allergies through muscle testing I used food diaries, elimination diets and skin testing but muscle testing is so much easier!
Although I’m going to try to define food allergy, food sensitivity, food intolerance, multiple chemical sensitivities and adverse reactions these terms are commonly used interchangeably because the body often responds in more than one way with allergies. Core causes of these reactions are not that easy for the medical system to determine even with RAST tests, pin prick allergy tests and elimination diets. This is an area where muscle testing shines.
Food Allergies are defined as an immunologic response occurring when the immune system goes awry releasing IgE antibodies that bind to a protein within the offending food causing the release of histamines. This type of reaction is bad, and if the food allergy is severe, can be life threatening. Examples of IgE food allergies would be peanut allergies, but the top triggering foods causing IgE food allergy reactions also include milk products, eggs, tree nuts, wheat, fish, shellfish and soy.
Food allergy responses affect all the organ systems of the body and can include specific symptoms such as itchy eyes, mouth tingling, itchy gums, swollen lips, blood blisters under the tongue, blurred vision, dizziness, digestive cramping, hives, hemorrhoids, asthma, chest pain, nose bleeds, runny nose, dry or tight throat, hoarseness, hives, swelling, fever, coughing, wheezing, breathing problems (including asthma and the life-threatening anaphylaxis), vomiting, diarrhea, headache, loss of consciousness and irregular heartbeats or a raise or lowering of the blood pressure or pulse just to name a few.
Reactions usually occur within seconds but some foods take up to 36 hours before symptoms show up (like in the case of headaches and certain food chemicals.) Even trace amounts of foods can be responsible for food allergies so it’s not like you can just remove the offending food from the dish when they’ve been cooked into it. Children can grow out of food allergies but often the allergy will manifest later on in life as eczema, asthma, sinusitis, migraines or colitis.
Food allergies are often inherited.
“Although reasons for this are poorly understood, the prevalence of food allergies and associated anaphylaxis appears to be on the rise” states the CDC.
Poorly understood? Boy, I don’t understand this with all the chemicals used in the production of foods, the eating out in fast food restaurants and the lack of cleansing fruits and vegetables in the American diet. Gee, I thought it was obvious. Sorry. As you can see this is a hot button for me.
Food Sensitivities are similar to food allergies but reactions are slower to come on. The immune system is still involved but different immunoglobulins released from specific white blood cells are involved (IgA, IgG and IgM.) Food sensitivities often manifest into chronic conditions such as arthritis, chronic fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia, GERD, sinusitis, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fetid gas, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and rashes.
Food Intolerances: With food intolerances the immune system is not involved and reactions are not life-threatening but they are none-the-less annoying. Symptoms of food intolerance include indigestion, fatigue, bloating, migraines, emotional changes, memory problems, ulcers, diabetes, obesity, epilepsy, accelerated aging, multiple sclerosis, acne, high blood pressure, depression, psychoneurosis, canker sores, irritability, total exhaustion after eating, impaired decision making abilities, constipation and IBS.
Digestive symptoms are the most common system affected by food intolerance. Imbalanced gut flora with associated yeast or candida are often part of the problem. The most common example of a food intolerance is lactose intolerance. Here, the body can’t break down the lactose and it affects they body with symptoms such as abdominal cramping and diarrhea. The funny thing about lactose intolerance though is that the process of pasteurization breaks down the lactase enzyme used in the digestion of lactose so this makes the dairy product a bigger problem than if the milk were ingested raw.
Multiple chemical Sensitivities fit into the food intolerance category. It’s my philosophy that many people are not intolerant to foods as much as they are intolerant to the sprays and chemicals used in growing these foods. I’ll be delving into this deeper in my next newsletter.
An adverse reaction to a food is any troublesome reaction after ingesting a food. This could include food poisoning or toxicity—like eating a tainted food or a poisonous mushroom or too much of a food that has tipped your body in the direction of a negative reaction.
Muscle testing works best for determining food allergies. Once you learn this technique you’ll have it always and even if the foods you eat now are modified somehow in the future you can determine what component is causing problems. We can also use food allergies to test which supplements or homeopathics will work in helping with the detoxification process which cuts out days of agony.
Case Study: How to determine what a person is allergic to.
I’ve been blessed with allergies, sensitivities and intolerances all my life. The last couple decades I’ve become multiple chemical sensitive as well so I’m going to go through some of the questions I use to figure out what has caused reactions in people. I’m hoping this will help you at home with your own exploration into food allergies.
These are some of the questions I ask my body when testing for food allergies:
- What have I changed in my diet or in my environment lately? (I muscle test each thing I’ve added or tried in the last week and muscle test if it is one of these things.)
- Was it something that I ate? Drank? Or was it something I breathed in?
- Was it a fruit, vegetable, carbohydrate, protein, oil/fat. If yes, then I would go to the specific lists on these food items listed in the Exam Forms section of the website or just ask more questions to narrow it down. Most people can remember what they ate the day or two before if they are calm and relaxed. When they talk to me on the phone, however, often they will have what we call “psychic amnesia” but they will usually email me a day or two later with a list of foods they’ve remembered and I can test from that list.
- If it was something I breathed in, was it indoors or outdoors? In my house, at work, or somewhere else?
- What time did the exposure occur? What day?
- What was I doing at the time? (You’ll have to come up with a list here and ask yes/no questions for work, school, sleep, social event, etc.)
DIY Allergy testing. So what if you can’t muscle test? There is another way to test for allergies and it has been around since 1956. It’s called The Pulse Test (See link below) and it involves taking your pulse 30 minutes after eating a food you think you’re allergic to. If your pulse rate increases 12 beats above your normal resting pulse (or above a pulse rate of 85 beats/minute) you can be pretty sure you’re allergic to the food.
Comments and quick tips I’ve learned over the years on food allergies:
- Your best bet for determining what you are allergic to and for treating yourself involves muscle testing.
- When in doubt, eliminate any and all processed foods.
- Eat whole, organic or unadulterated foods.
- Keep things simple. Don’t have a huge variety of foods each day.
- And just a side note here? If you’re a student and you need your brain to function at top capacity please eat your vegetables. Vegetables (cooked and raw) will help detoxify your system, eliminate depression and help you to think clearly. It’s just something you have to do if you want to be successful.
Helpful Links and References on Food Allergies:
- Pulse Testing for Allergies: http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/pulse-testing-for-allergies.htm
- Statistics on food allergies in youth: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6011a7.htm?s_cid=mm6011a7_w
- Food allergies in school age kids: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/foodallergies/
Family and School responsibility in managing food allergies in school: http://www.foodallergy.org/page/food-allergy–anaphylaxis-network-guidelines