Can Food Allergies Be Cured?

Friday Apr 17 | BY |
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cure food allergies
What Goes On Inside Effects How You React To The Outside

 

Eight foods account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions. The “big eight” are: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Even trace amounts of these eight foods can cause a reaction severe enough to send someone to the emergency room.

Unlike food intolerance, which builds over time or requires eating a large amount of the offending food to cause an uncomfortable response, food allergy is a serious medical condition.

An allergic reaction to food can affect breathing, cause rashes, trigger painful gas and bloating, and cause vomiting and diarrhea. At their worse, food allergies can cause an anaphylactic reaction, a life-threatening condition requiring emergency medical intervention.

Increasing numbers of children have food allergies. It used to be that 1 in every 13 children, or about 2 in every classroom, had allergies. But, in the last ten years, scientists at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia found that 10 percent of 12-month old infants had clinically confirmed food allergies. Similar statistics apply to Great Britain and the United States. The Center for Disease Control reported that childhood food allergies increased by more than 50 percent since 1997.

Allergies Are More Common Because Of Modern Lifestyles

No one knows why exactly why allergies are getting more common and more severe, but there are several theories. According to the “hygiene hypothesis,” in a not too distant past our immune systems were more attuned to our natural environment. Children played in real dirt where picking up parasitic worms was part of growing up. Once upon a time, as goes the hypothesis, along with a wide array of microbes and a richer probiotic microbiome, allergies were rare. Our gut microbiome was highly diverse, and our immune systems more finely tuned.

Other theories associate over use of antibiotics in infancy that cause partial sterilization of the gut as the immune tipping point from a microbiome favorable to living on Earth to one that is allergic to life.

The Western processed food diet also plays a significant role in disrupting a child’s microbiome. Feeding infants manufactured formula made from cow’s milk or soy can cause mild symptoms like colic to severe allergies. Many formulas contain wheat flour and fructose, both food associated with food intolerance.

Since mild symptoms may go undetected, undiagnosed food sensitivity is common in infants consuming baby formulas. Medical researchers have found that formula fed infants in developed nations had increased risk for having ear infections, severe lung infections, eczema, asthma, and obesity in childhood, and increased risk for diabetes when older.

Over time, these unnatural, refined, overly sweet foods cause disruption of the body’s internal balance. Breast feeding and blending real food is by far healthier for infants.

For whatever the reason, which I’m sure is a combination of being antiseptic clean, taking too many antibiotics, and eating too much refined foods, modern kids have disrupted gut microbiome, and they have more allergies.

More Is Better

We harbor at least 400 different kinds of bacteria in our gut. What if antibiotics killed off several kinds and refined foods starved out a few more? Could our immune systems function well enough if we had 300 species? It’s not just the number of bacteria that count, it’s also the right kinds.

Researchers also found that allergic children have a different microbiome makeup than kids without allergies. Those with allergies have more Clostridium species and less Barteroides.

The solution seems too simple.

When it comes to allergies, certain gut bacteria are more important than others. Researchers found that giving Bacteroides fragilis improved food tolerance. Even having enough of the common probiotics of childhood like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria species are associated with fewer allergies.

Allergies of all types seem to cluster together. Children with food allergies are up to 4 times more likely to have other allergic conditions like asthma or eczema, as well as other allergies like to cats or pollen.

Sometimes, children “out grow” their allergies. As they get older, their immune system stabilizes appearing as if they were cured.

But, it’s not just kids that react to foods. As people age, their immune systems falter. The once enjoyed whole-wheat toast with breakfast now causes abdominal bloating and cramps.

What Can You Do?

Avoid Allergic Foods: For severe allergies to the top most allergic foods, the best choice is to never eat those foods that cause a reaction.

Avoid Peanuts: Since peanut allergy is the most prevalent food allergen, for sensitive children and adults, skipping the peanut butter makes sense.

Take Probiotics: The first line of defense against food allergies is probiotics. They also are known to help reduce the symptoms of autism. Much of the research has focused on Bacteroides fragiles. Unfortunately, a product containing this probiotic is not yet available for consumers.

Infant probiotic formulas typically contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species, along with prebiotics. Researchers found that supplementing you and your children’s diet with these simple probiotics helps reduce food allergies.

Kids Probiotics:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Lactobacillus paracasei
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium breve

Don’t Forget Prebiotics. Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that promote probiotic growth in the gut. The most commonly used prebiotic are fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a kind of fructan. Unfortunately, many people are sensitive to fructans so FOS is not a good choice for fructan-sensitive people or kids. The best way to get healthy prebiotics is from your diet.
Top 10 Prebiotic Foods:

  1. Chicory Root
  2. Jerusalem Artichoke
  3. Dandelion Greens
  4. Garlic
  5. Raw Onion
  6. Cooked Onion
  7. Asparagus
  8. Wheat bran
  9. Wheat Flour
  10. Banana

Prebiotics add fiber. All vegetables and fruits are fiber rich, as are whole grains and dried legumes. A plant-based diet provides enough fiber, but to replenish the gut microbiome you may need a prebiotic and probiotic supplement.

The cure for food allergies may be as simple as eating more natural foods, freshly prepared, not over cooked, picked right from the garden where the soil itself adds friendly bacteria diversity to your body.

Dr. J. E. Williams

J. E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM

Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

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1 COMMENT ON THIS POST

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  1. June Hanson says:

    You summed up the answer, with final statement. More allergies are prevalent, than ever before. Too busy for natural foods. Fast foods, synthetic foods, TV dinners, chips. Fresh veggies and fruits have disappeared from our meals. Our super markets, TV ads, make lifeless foods so attractive. Calling them healthy and fat free. They make them so tasty, that natural foods, taste bland. If we go to a salad bar, things look so green, they must be healthy. Instead, they are loaded with chemicals, preservatives to make them look good, not wilted but crispy. Others are loaded with unhealthy vegetable oils, keeping them so juicy looking. Veggies can be loaded with sugar, never mind all that sweet fruit.

    Stay with all natural foods, local if possible, responsibly farmed. Back our farmers. Teach our children the excitement, of seeing food growing and how to have even a little garden, that is all their own.

    Strengthen our immune system, so we can fight off allergies. Take probiotics, unsweetened yogurt. Put your own fresh fruit in it.

    Thank you, Dr Williams for your timely blogs, because You, care.

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