Food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances can develop later often due to a weakening of the intestinal lining that leads to an increase in space between cells in the intestinal tract, called leaky gut. Those spaces allow for the passage of food particles, bacteria, viruses, and all that triggers inflammation.
If you have a food sensitivity or allergy, your immune system identifies that food as an invader. Your body thinks it needs to protect you and produces antibodies to do so. While the immune system plays a role in both food sensitivities and food allergies, the food reaction will recruit different immune cells and then lead to a different immune response and resulting symptoms. For allergies, IgE antibodies send messages to other immune system cells that cause an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, which be fatal. With food sensitivities, the body produces igG antibodies, which can lead to more subtle and longer lasting effects.
Food intolerances, on the other hand, mainly affect the digestive system (though symptoms can be wide-ranging). Intolerances often lead to micro-inflammation in the intestinal tissue, which can also affect other systems of the body and may explain why an intolerance shows up as “unrelated” symptoms such as nasal congestion, brain fog, fatigue, etc. The good news is that working to improve the integrity of your gut through a customized protocol for your unique body WILL enable you to digest a wider variety of foods without digestive issues. A few examples of ideas to get started are listed below -
-Removing inflammation is the first step to improving gut integrity. A weakened gut barrier causes molecules to leak through creating those “leaky gut” symptoms. Common allergens include dairy, wheat, sugar, vegetable oils, soy, eggs, GMO crops and processed foods. Try cutting out foods that may be triggering your symptoms for at least 4 weeks before re-introducing them to monitor any reactions.
-Consume collagen rich foods (contains the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline that are needed to repair and rebuild your gut lining) such as bone broth and bone in, skin on meats.
-Consume prebiotic (such as asparagus and oats to feed the good gut bacteria), probiotic (pickled veggies, coconut yogurt, kefir), and fiber rich foods (non-starchy veggies) daily.
-Eat healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, avocados, grass fed red meats, wild caught fish. N-butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, helps feed the cells that line the gut and help them heal. Your gut bacteria can produce more n-butyrate if you feed them soluble fibers in fruits and vegetables.
-Get regular movement (this can be as simple as a 15 min post meal walk). Exercise improves the transport of oxygen within the body and through the digestive tract helping to promote the presence, activity, and diversity of gut microbes—especially the ones that produce the gut-healing fatty acid n-butyrate.