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Food Sensitivities & Gut Health

 

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Is it a food allergy or sensitivity?


The word “allergy” is confusing because many people use it as a fully encompassing generic term for true allergic reactions and nonallergic adverse reactions, also called sensitivities or intolerances.
Immune reactions can result from the different types of food allergies or food sensitivities you may possess. The most common foods causing allergic reactions are peanuts, soy, wheat, shellfish, fish, milk, eggs and tree nuts. Once identified, we recommend eliminating those problematic foods from your diet.

Food allergies are divided into two major categories: immediate and delayed.

When immediate food reaction occurs, sufferers experience symptoms within hours of having ingested the food. Symptom onset is rapid and may include tingling of extremities, wheezing, coughing, tightening of the throat, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Sometimes in cases where nuts, shellfish, fish, and peanuts have been eaten anaphylaxis can occur.

Immediate food reaction is a fixed food allergy. The food to which you are allergic will almost always provoke an immune reaction when ingested. In immediate reactions the body over produces what is called Immunoglobulin E antibodies, (IgE). IgE binds to allergens and and triggers an allergic response to any substance it sees foreign. Often, the reaction isn’t severe the first time, rather it is the second time of exposure that the acute reaction can occur.

A food sensitivity, as opposed to a food allergy, happens gradually and isn’t life threatening. Symptoms of a delayed food allergy can take up to 72 hours to appear. This type of immune response is mediated by the IgG antibody, which is the largest circulating antibody in our immune system and can cross the placenta from mother to child.  IgG antibodies are the most common form of immunologic mediated food responses. It can be difficult to identify the offending food since we eat so many foods that go through different processes and have many ingredients. It is estimated that 20% of the population have an adverse reaction to a certain food.

Food sensitivities may be caused by many factors such as stress, infections, overeating, artificial preservatives, additives, molds, pesticides, antibiotics, and environmental pollutants. Unidentified food sensitivities can then contribute to many chronic health conditions: including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, autism, ADD/ADHD, eczema, chronic ear infections, gut malabsorption, insomnia and many others.

Alletess Medical Laboratory uses state of the art technology to identify the offending foods in your diet. Many times the foods we eat frequently and seem healthy are contributing to our health problems. At Alletess Medical Laboratory we provide a four-day rotation, elimination diet called the Wellness Plan. This customized plan is compiled directly from your test results and a nutrition questionnaire. Elimination of the offending foods and desensitization (allergy drops) can improve many health problems and lead to a better quality of life.

 

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Gut Immunity

The gut microbiome has revolutionized the understanding of the digestive tract in health and disease.
The integrity of the gut is paramount to overall optimum health. Healthy gut flora has been shown to influence immune system development, mood and behavior, brain development as well as body weight, insulin production, metabolism and inflammation. However, poor diets or diets high in carbohydrates and saturated fats have been shown to shift the gut microbiome to a proinflammatory state.


Digestive troubles such as bloating, diarrhea, IBS, stress, heartburn and stomach pain are symptoms of an unhealthy gut. Identifying inflammation in the gut can be life changing because it is a condition that can be addressed with diet modification, probiotics, enzymes, herbs and nutrients. When the small intestine is leaky, tiny holes in the intestinal lining allow undigested food to pass through. This triggers an immune response resulting in the release of antibodies and cytokines. Leaky gut also stresses the adrenal glands. It disrupts hormones in the body leading to symptoms of PMS, migraines, high and low cholesterol and blood sugar issues.


Leaky gut can contribute to weight gain, obesity, shifting of insulin levels and diabetes. This occurs in combination with an imbalance of healthy bacteria that live in the intestines. Having too few healthy bacteria, along with permeability in the intestinal lining results in inflammation. Gut dysbiosis slows down metabolism which can cause weight gain and other health issues.


Research has shown that leaky gut is involved in the development of autoimmunity. When holes in the intestinal lining develop the immune system begins to react to substances that it usually would not attack. In the case of Celiac Disease, the immune system begins attacking enzymes that help to repair intestinal cells. Other types of autoimmune conditions can result including, Lupus, Multiplesclerosis, Hashimoto’s and/or Rheumatoid arthritis. Other contributors include overuse of antibiotics, antacids, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Genetic research is helping us understand that, while the type of autoimmune condition that develops is genetically determined, it is the gut microbiome alteration that is getting the process started.


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The mission of Longevity Wellness Centers is to demystify the processes of aging and provide the tools and knowledge people need to live the life they have imagined.
 
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Longevity Wellness Centers
Dr. Patricia Petitt, D.O., M.P.H., FAARFM, ABAARM
11921 Freedom Drive, Suite 550, Tower Two
Reston, VA 20190
drpetitt@longevitywellness.net
 
 
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