Digestion & FOOD ALLERGIES…Why so many people have them!

Did you know that FOOD ALLERGIES are MOSTLY THE RESULT OF BAD DIGESTION?  In today’s world, it is very easy to think of several people you may know with food allergies – maybe even yourself.  If you have ever wondered why this happens, let me explain it to you!

I can’t help but think how strange it is that food allergies seemed to come out of no-where.  I am in my mid-thirties and I can’t remember a single kid in any of my classes growing up with a food allergy or sensitivity.  Now it seems like EVERYONE has some type of allergy…peanuts, eggs, food dye, gluten, soy, dairy, corn and the list goes on and on! 

It is almost impossible to have someone over for dinner without asking ahead of time if they have anything they are allergic to.  Have you ever thought that it was strange how SO MANY CHILDREN suffer terrible allergies to food?   Doesn’t it seem even stranger how SO MANY PEOPLE IN THEIR ADULT YEARS ARE DEVELOPING FOOD ALLERGIES?  A lot of this is due to digestion or lack thereof….

Allergies word cloud

Yesterday, we journeyed all the way down the digestion tract to the beginning of the small intestine.  Today that is where we will start! Buckle up as we continue on the journey of digestion.

When we think of digestion, we only tend to really think about our stomachs because that is where we tend to experience symptoms the most.  You may be surprised to know that MOST OF OUR DIGESTION ACTUALLY OCCURS IN THE SMALL INTESTINE!  This is where a majority of the nutrients of our food get absorbed for use by our body.

Once the food in your stomach becomes acidic enough, the gatekeeper to your small intestine is triggered open.  If your stomach acid is low, like 90% of Americans out there, your gatekeeper to the small intestines will protest and keep closed for much longer than it should.  It does this to protect your small intestines.  The lining of your small intestines is fairly delicate.  It relies on the somewhat digested food arriving from the stomach to be acidic enough to trigger some hormones to be released to signal the pancreas to release bicarbonate to NEUTRALIZE the acidic food now in the small intestines. 

Once the food enters the small intestines, if it is not acidic enough from the acid in the stomach, the pancreas doesn’t get triggered to release bicarbonate – and the somewhat acidic food now BURNS the lining of your small intestines.  Just as you can get acid reflux in your esophagus, you can get burns in your small intestines.  However, there are no nerves in the lining of the small intestine, so you don’t usually FEEL these burns.  But these burns can be devastating to your intestines.  They can create problematic ULCERS and HOLES in the lining of your small intestines

When food enters your small intestine from the stomach, our amazing pancreas also is supposed to release ENZYMES to help digest most of the food that has arrived.  However, the pancreas only releases these enzymes if the food in your intestines has been neutralized enough with bicarbonate!  If it hasn’t be neutralized, the enzymes never make their way to your small intestines and your food doesn’t get digested!  This is when FOOD ALLERGIES can come into play!

Imagine….our delicate small intestines, filled with mildly acidic food that hasn’t been neutralized, now with ulcers and holes in it.  On top of that, large particles of undigested food sits there and starts to LEAK THROUGH THESE HOLES INTO OUR BLOOD STREAM!  This was never meant to happen!  This is known as LEAKY GUT.

Once the Immune System detects foreign particles in your blood, it immediately starts to launch an ATTACK.  A war is started and your Immune System remembers the substances that leaked through to your bloodstream and threatened your body.  Once you eat this food again, your body will immediately recognize what it remembered to be the ENEMY and it will launch another attack against it.  That is when you  will start to experience symptoms and allergic type responses. 

The intestinal wall may develop holes fast or it can develop holes slowly over time with continual assault on the lining.  That is why there are so many people DEVELOPING these FOOD ALLERGIES and SENSITIVITIES in their adult years.  It isn’t just children that we are seeing with these allergies.   (Did you know that if you suffer SEASONAL or ENVIRONMENTAL ALLERGIES that this is a sign that you also have FOOD ALLERGIES?  This is an entirely whole topic on its own!  A brief reason on why these are linked is due to your Immune System.  When your Immune System is tied up fighting food allergies, it isn’t available to fight environmental /seasonal allergies.  In holistic health, environmental allergies are almost always a sign of food allergies.)

Food can only be classified as a true allergy if it is PROTEIN based.  Gluten is the protein found in grains, casein is the protein found in dairy, eggs are obvious protein, as are seafood, nuts and soy….and so on and so forth.  However, you can have a FOOD SENSITIVITY to non-protein based foods such as a fruit or vegetable.  These are not allergies because they are not protein based, but your body still launches an attack on it non-the-less.  These non-protein food particles also leaked into your bloodstream through your LEAKY GUT and your Immune System “came to your rescue.”

Sadly, once a true FOOD ALLERGY develops (to a protein) it cannot be reversed.  That food will have to be avoided for the rest of that person’s life.  The good news is that FOOD SENSITIVITIES often times can be reversed.  This reversal process is one that takes time and the food needs to be avoided for several months in most cases. The intestinal tract needs to heal and the assault that has been going on needs to stop in order for this to happen. 

One food that is particularly healing to the intestinal lining is good old fashioned organic pasture-raised bone broth!  Think chicken soup without the meat, veggies and noodles!  You can make broth out of any type of animal based bones – beef, fish and/or poultry.  The intestinal lining tends to recycle itself over a 21 day period.  Once you stop assaulting it with your sensitivity/allergy it will begin to repair!  If you suffer from Leaky Gut, you would greatly benefit from having a cup of broth or two throughout the day.  I like to have a cup in the morning.  It is a nice warm start to the day and I know that I am supportingthe health of my intestines as well!   The GAPS Diet, by Dr. Natasha Campbell, is highly recommended as a healing diet for those suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome. 

As we wrap up food allergies and Leaky Gut today, I want to also stress this point…when Leaky Gut happens and there are food allergies or sensitivities, your body no longer gets nourishment from the food that you are eating.  That is tragic to your health and overall well-being.  That is why it is so important to have good Hydrochloric Acid production in the stomach….

Tragically, when people have low stomach acid (and remember that 90% of Americans do!) or even worse yet, are tragically placed on acid blockers, antacids and proton pump inhibitors (such as Prevacid) they are setting themselves up for Leaky Gut and for FOOD ALLERGIES!  Is it starting to make sense to you now why we are seeing so many people in society today with FOOD ALLERGIES?   Sadly, not only do people suffer from food allergies and sensitivities, they also suffer from undernourishment and lack of well-being when this happens.  This is why GOOD DIGESTION IS FUNDAMENTAL TO NUTRITION AND TO YOUR HEALTH.

Digestion is a north to south process.  What I mean by this is if you fix the stomach (north) with better acid production, the southern parts (intestines) will respond positively and often times fix themselves.  There is a true chain reaction when it comes to digestion.   By simply helping your stomach have ENOUGH acidity, you can PREVENT allergies and senstivities to food from ever happening.  This is the GOAL!

Stay posted for more on Digestion and FATS:  Why you may have GAS after eating that cheese…..

Blessings & health,

Jen

 

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