Food sensitivities and allergies are abounding in modern society.
We all need to eat to live. But sometimes, eating something can be deadly at worst, or annoying at the least. A 2013 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that between 1997 and 2011, food allergies in children increased by 50 percent. The number of individuals experiencing food allergies and sensitivities is undeniably growing, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE; foodallergy.org).
Although FARE asserts that as of yet, there’s no clear reason why this is the case, several compelling theories abound that may certainly help practitioners to assess more accurately and provide more customized solutions.
Dr. Frank King, founder and president, King Bio of North Carolina believes that food issues have risen because all allergies have been on the rise. “Allergies are cumulative; they snowball. I see one major cause: toxicities.”
Dr. King elaborated that more than 80,000 man-made chemicals and other elements (such as electromagnetic and radio frequencies) wreak havoc in the human body, making it much more vulnerable to developing specific food intolerances and reactions. Many of these chemicals have indirect influence on food intolerances. Research has demonstrated that some of these common chemicals are hormone disruptors and immune suppressants, pointed out Christopher Hobbs, PhD, director of integrative science at Rainbow Light in California. “Hormones, such as estrogen, alter the activity of neurotransmitters and immune processes.”
Hobbs added that airborne irritants (and in many, allergens) such as pollen, dust, mold spores and car exhaust can activate immune responses resulting in hay fever, or chronic allergic rhinitis. He clarified, “Many of the same immune triggers and messengers that are activated after exposure to air pollutants, such as IgE, are also associated with food allergies.”
Food issues, said Dr. King, are exacerbated in those who eat a nutrient and fiber-depleted diet, ingesting instead high sugars and carbs, creating an internal atmosphere friendly to candida overgrowth. Candida releases its own mycotoxins, and can cause leaky gut, which then allows further toxins and anti-nutrients to course throughout the body.
Hobbs agreed, “Processing and cooking proteins can change their chemical structure, becoming more likely to trigger an immune response, since our immune system recognizes them as ‘foreign.’ Key to all this is that approximately 60 percent of human immune tissue resides in the gut, where it constantly monitors ingested foods for pathogens or foreign and possibly toxic chemicals. Therefore, impaired digestion from lack of fiber and beneficial phytochemicals may also lead to food sensitivities.”
Additives and preservatives can certainly create intolerances. For example, said Robert Kachko ND, LAc of InnerSource Health, New York, people of all ages are beginning to react negatively to added hormones and elevated casein content of conventional dairy products. “We see this very often in children who are hyperactive or suffer from chronic ear infections, eczema, asthma etc., in addition to allergies. Some of the most common food additives which can serve as allergens include sulfites, aspartame, parabens, tartrazine, benzoates, nitrates/nitrites and BHT/BHA.”
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS (aka The Nutrition Myth Buster) said he believes that food issues have a two-fold cause, first being GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in foods such as corn and soy, which are increasing in widespread availability as they are included in numerous packed and processed food products. These products, he said, “have never been in the human diet and contain novel compounds that our bodies don’t recognize and treat like foreign invaders. This causes widespread inflammation and can, over time, cause a general weakening of the gut wall (also known as leaky gut). When our normal gut integrity is disrupted like that, it’s like doing aerobics classes with a hairline fracture in your tibia—even normal movements are likely to cause injury because you have a weakened system.”
The second he sees is gluten or wheat in general, but, he observed, many say that these have been around for years, so why now? The wheat typically consumed in modern times bears little resemblance to the wheat of yore. “Today’s wheat is a kind of mutant wheat called dwarf wheat, and, as Dr. Davis pointed out in his book, Wheat Belly, it is a very different grain than what was consumed, say, 100 years ago.
Dr. Kachko also pointed to systemic inflammation as playing a role in creating sensitivities, intolerances or allergies to foods. “When the body is systemically inflamed, the immune system plays a vital role in that inflammation and thus becomes more responsive to all things they come into contact with that are foreign to their bodies. This sets the stage for allergic over-activity, even in response to things that have not been allergenic typically in the past,” he explained.
“Add to all this the population’s gradual constitutional weakening due to all these toxic stressors and more, and you have a perfect storm contributing to the increase of allergies and sensitivities,” emphasized Dr. King. “Sadly, each generation becomes more susceptible to toxins, allergies and sensitivities … unless the tide is turned by using homeopathic medicine proactively.”
Dr. Kachko recommended the following protocol to successfully provide support for clients/patients with food issues: eliminate allergens, repair immune tolerance mechanisms, reduce immune hyperactivity, reduce inflammation, repair gut mucosa and reintroduce proper gut flora. Supplements he likes to recommend include vitamin C, quercetin, hesperidin methyl chalcone, stinging nettle, NAC and butterbur. “Meanwhile,” he observed, “studies are underway to determine if oral, sublingual or epicutaneous immunotherapy is safe and effective for food allergies, with some promising results. ”
Dr. Bowden’s protocol is also multi-phased. First, he ensures the client/patient starts eating an anti-inflammatory diet—such as apples, onions, “tons of” fish and fish oil, a high amount of vegetables, fruits and beans, “and a ton of fiber. Nearly no one gets enough fiber these days, and a fiber supplement—like SunFiber—is a wise addition to a daily shake. SunFiber is mostly soluble fiber, which is precisely the kind that gut bacteria feed on,” he recommended.
Two products Dr. Bowden also likes to recommend in these cases are Colon and Bowel Probiotic, and the BosMed Intestinal Bowel Support, both by Terry Naturally. Colon and Bowel Probiotic, he said, features “a really good blend of” active cultures, such as lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus rhamnosus, and bifidobacterium bifidum, “and it’s non-dairy based, so good for people with diet sensitivities. Plus, it is guaranteed to contain 20 billion live, active bacteria at the time of purchase.”
BosMed Intestinal Bowel Support is the second “must have” in Dr. Bowden’s food sensitivity banishing toolbox. He pointed out that in a couple of clinical studies comparing boswellia to drugs like mesalazine, boswellia was just as effective as the drug without the potential for side effects. Finally, he recommends prebiotics, notably Oligo30, which contains a broad spectrum of fibers that the gut bacteria feed on, such as FOS (fructooligosaccharides), resistant starch, and GOS (galactooligosaccharides).
Quercetin and vitamin C, along with vitamins B5, B6, magnesium, bromelain, licorice and peppermint oil, are featured in Rainbow Light’s seasonal Allergy Rescue. “Since many of the mechanisms are similar between food allergies and respiratory allergies, this product is worth trying for people with food allergies to reduce symptoms,” he suggested. “Most Rainbow Light products contain a digestive-enhancing blend containing high-quality ginger juice powder, digestive enzymes, and in some cases, probiotics that also serve to reduce the possibility of food allergies,” he added.
King Bio has formulated 33 homeopathic medicines in its practitioner-only line that specifically address the causes of a large number of allergic and toxic reactions. In more than 40 years of working with patients and 25 years of teaching CEU courses, Dr. King asserted he has devised simple ways for practitioners to discern and discover which remedies will help their patients. Because this area is so complex, “I teach how to go through the products, quickly muscle testing, along what I call ‘Allergy Alley’ and ‘Toxicity Trail.’ These products address everything from animal hair and dander allergies, to nuts and seeds, to heavy metal toxicity and outdoor air pollution,” he described.
Studies have shown that taking a homeopathic preparation of an allergen, for example, can help the body safely overcome the reaction. Homeopathic detox formulas from King Bio are formulated to release the poisons from the body, and then prevent them from building back up. For example, King Bio’s Heavy Metal Detox formula contains 26 ingredients. Some of those ingredients address toxic effects of aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.
“In addition to multiple ingredients for broad-spectrum relief, we also use multiple potencies, including the rare LM series in our practitioner-only line,” explained Dr. King. This combination approach is called contemporary homeopathy, and he asserted he has found it “profoundly effective” by allowing the body’s energy to resonate with the exact combination it needs to correct the problem. “It’s like cracking the code on a combination safe—and contemporary homeopathic medicine allows the body to shed toxins (and then to recognize them in the future and keep them out) in a way that nothing else can. That’s why I see contemporary homeopathic medicine as the planet’s greatest hope for safely combating allergies and toxicities.”
There are several supplements that help ease or smooth out symptoms of erratic food sensitivities.
According to Dr. Hobbs, ginger has been used for at least 2,000 years as a warming digestive aid that increases blood flow to the intestines, increases bile flow, and stimulates the production of other digestive enzymes, plus it also contains protein-digesting enzymes. He explained that many food sensitivities, intolerances and even allergies can occur due to the inability of the digestive tract to completely break down proteins and other constituents, leading to larger and more immunologically reactive macro-molecules.
Quercetin is a common ingredient in many Rainbow Light formulas, particularly Allergy Rescue, created to help reduce the symptoms of seasonal and air-borne allergies. Quercetin has been shown to suppress mast cell activation, a mechanism directly involved in allergic reactions to foods such as shellfish and dairy (milk and eggs).
Additionally, Dr. Hobbs noted, enzymes such as papain and bromelain have been utilized traditionally for centuries “to help enhance digestion and assimilation, reducing the possibility of unpleasant reactions to particular foods.”
According to Maday Labrador, Florida-based Enzymedica’s vice president of education, the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases clarifies that food intolerances involve the inability to produce the enzymes or sufficient amounts of the enzymes necessary to digest particular foods. Reducing or eliminating those trigger foods is often the first step to managing food intolerance—should those foods be easily and quickly identified. However, dietary changes combined with enzyme supplementation may certainly address the discomfort and provide complete digestive support. Enzymes that are commonly used, Labrador pointed out, include the enzyme lactase, for lactose intolerance. Specific proteases, including DPP-IV, target gluten and casein, while alpha-galactosidase provides digestive support for beans and vegetables.
“Commonly, with one intolerance comes another,” Labrador stated. Enzymedica’s Enzyme Science Intolerance Complex contains significant activity of the enzymes lactase, DPP-IV, cellulase, xylanase, alpha-galactosidase and additional enzymes in a single capsule. “Use of a broad-spectrum enzyme blend formulated for multiple food intolerances may help reduce food component particle size and lessen discomforts related to foods which contain lactose, gluten, casein, phenols, beans, grains and fibrous vegetables.”
The process of identifying the trigger foods, trying to eliminate them through significant dietary changes and creating a protocol for the client/patient to follow is not a quick solution. But it does have lasting outstanding results in dramatically improved well-being. And, doesn’t this make sense?