Allergies are an over-reaction of the body’s immune system to a specific component, usually a protein.
Proteins may be from foods, pollens, house dust, animal hair or moulds and are known as allergens. The word ‘allergy’ means that the immune system has responded to a harmless substance as if it were toxic.
Food intolerance on the other hand is a pharmacological reaction experienced after eating or drinking; it is not an immune response and is more common than food allergy. Food intolerance has been associated with asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)..
The Liver records allergy triggers first, then the parasympathetic nervous system, including the Vagus Nerve. This information is then carried by the bloodstream, to every part of the body.
The Vagus Nerve, which is the 10th cranial nerve, commences at the base of the brain journeying through the eyes, ears, sinuses, neck, throat, bronchial tree, lungs, across the stomach and finally the pancreas.
Just observing the journey this nerve travels will allow you to see how many susceptible areas of the body that are prone to allergy triggers. The Vagus Nerve is hugely involved in allergy responses.
Food Intolerance Symptoms Are:
- Rapid breathing
- Burning sensations on the skin
- Tightness across the face and chest
- Allergy-like reactions due to histamine and other amines in some foods
- Asthma from food containing benzoates, salicylates, MSG and sulphite derivatives.
Food Allergy Symptoms Are:
- Itching and burning and swelling around the mouth
- Runny nose
- Skin rash and hives, eczema, urticaria (skin becomes red and raised)
- Diarrhoea, abdominal cramps
- Breathing difficulties, including wheezing and asthma
- Vomiting, nausea
- Life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Following Sites Of The Body Can Be Targeted By A Reaction To Food:
Eyes – itching, watering
Nose – stuffiness, sneezing
Mouth – itching, swelling
Throat – swelling
Digestive system – stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating, cramping
Skin – rashes, such as hives (urticaria) or atopic dermatitis/eczema
Lungs – asthma, more common in children than adults
Central nervous system – headache, migraine, irritability, fatigue, convulsions.
Anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, is an allergic reaction that needs urgent medical attention. Eggs, milk, peanuts, sesame, shellfish, berries, MSG, bee pollen, and soy are common anaphylactic allergens, so are some medications and insect bites.
Within minutes of exposure to the allergen, the person’s airways can swell to the point of suffocation. To prevent severe injury or death, the person often needs an injection of adrenalin, which can be intramuscular. Home kits of professionally prepared adrenalin needles are available from chemists.
The Symptoms Of Anaphylactic Are:
- Itchy palms and soles, hives
- Tingling and warmth
- Asthma, wheezing and breathing difficulties
- Swelling of the face
- Drop in blood pressure.
Statistics indicate that children who have one family member with asthma or eczema have a 20-40% higher risk of developing allergy; with two or more family members with allergies then the risk increases to 50-80%.
Prenatal – there is no conclusive evidence that allergen avoidance in pregnancy is beneficial. Exposure to allergens in gestation may help promote immune tolerance.
Postnatal – exclusive breastfeeding during the first 4-6 months appears to protect against the development of allergy and helps to enhance immune activity. Exposure to cigarette smoke, house dust, mould and animal hair and early introduction of solids can increase the risk of developing allergies.
Soy Milk Versus Cow’s Milk Formula
Studies have shown that use of soymilk formula instead of cow’s milk formula does not prevent the development of allergies in children. Hydrolysed formula (such as Alfare, NAN HA, Pepti-Junior, Neocate) is cow’s milk based and has been processed to break down most of the proteins that cause symptoms in infants who are allergic to cow’s milk.
They reduce the risk of developing eczema and cow’s milk allergy in infancy and early childhood. However goat’s milk is highly recommended and less likely to cause gut irritation and allergies and has a closer affinity to human breast milk than other milks.
Foods That Can Trigger Allergies:
- Cows Milk
- Other nuts
- Grains such as wheat, oats, rye and millet
- Oysters, mussels, clam, squid and octopus
- Crustaceans – lobster, prawn, crab, shrimp
- Fruit, berries, tomato, cucumber, white potato or mustard
- All/any preservatives/colouring/flavouring/additives including MSG
- Foods causing intolerance reactions in sensitive people include:
Dairy products, including Cows milk, cheese and yoghurt
- Chocolate/cane sugar
- Egg, particularly egg white
- MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- Food additives/colouring/preservatives
- Strawberries, citrus fruits and tomatoes
- Wine, particularly red wine.
An intolerance/allergy trigger can manifest when someone is eating the same food constantly every day over a lengthy period of time.
Habitually eating your favorite food too often over a lengthy period of time causes the digestive system to become intolerant to that particular food and unpleasant symptoms may occur.
If any of the foods mentioned trigger a reaction, then you must eliminate the culprit food from your diet, often forever, but sometimes one can re-introduce the food back later, on an occasional basis.
I recommend you consider seeing a health professional/naturopath who can help you and also work on strengthening the digestive function with herbal or homeopathic remedies.
Disorders like IBS, headaches, hay fever, sinus, skin allergies etc can benefit greatly with natural therapies and on occasions the culprit food can be re-introduced occasionally, but many people get use to not having the food and are happy not to eat it again!
Food sensitivity testing is performed by a number of different clinics. Cytotoxic Food and Chemical sensitivity testing are often tests I refer to any clients I see.
These tests offer a much broader range of food groups and give the practitioner a clearer picture as to how to treat the person with herbal/homeopathic remedies. In all cases the liver must be treated and entire gastrointestinal tract to achieve optimum results.
Best to seek professional help rather than struggle with self prescribing so correct remedies can be given relevant to your assessment.