March 03, 2014
Many people have sensitivities to certain food types, however not all sensitivities are equal. Generally, dietary problems are split into two categories – those that are triggered by an immune response, and intestinal-related food intolerance.
Immune system related sensitivities are a response to a protein that your body has taken a dislike to, and has determined is a harmful invader. Its common response is to create an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). The next time you encounter this protein, your immune system calls out the troops by releasing IgE antibodies to fight the incoming “bad” protein, and triggering the release of the powerful chemical Histamine. It is the release of Histamine in the skin, eyes and sometimes the respiratory system that causes the symptoms that sufferers are unfortunately familiar with.
While there are no cures for this kind of sensitivity, there is evidence that links them to gut health. A 2013 report by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found an almost two-fold increase in food sensitivities in children exposed to three or more courses of antibiotics between the ages of 7 and 12 months. The suspected cause of this was disruption to the gut flora. Good quality probiotics may be helpful in these cases. This is because of the immune system is influenced by certain bacteria in the gut – a strong immune system may help reduce overreactions to harmless food proteins.
Food Intolerance on the other hand, is a result of a chemical reaction within the digestive system. A common example is sensitivity to dairy products, known as lactose intolerance. Here, the body has insufficient quantities of the enzyme called lactase, which is needed to break down the lactose in dairy, resulting in bloating, excessive gas, and abdominal pain. Unlike food allergies, where sufferers are not able to consume any quantity of the food in question, people with intolerance issues may be able to consume small quantities food, such as milk in tea or coffee, and still not suffer significant symptoms. In cases of lactose intolerance, probiotics may help alleviate the symptoms by encouraging the growth of the beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, both of which can help break down lactose into digestible sugars.
If you have food sensitivities, it is recommended that you work with a food allergist or medical professional to determine the root cause – usually by an elimination diet, where suspect foods are taken out of your diet one-by-one until symptom free, and then gradually re-introduced to determine the root of the sensitivity. Make sure your discussion of food sensitivity includes the topic of quality probiotics such as Natren Healthy Trinity – a healthy gut will promote a healthy immune system and better digestive capability, and could lead to significant food sensitivity benefits.
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