Intestinal Health and Food Allergies

Sue P: Early this year, I decided to go off sugar. Lo and behold, once I got off sugar, I realized other foods were making me feel rotten. They include all yeasts, molds, and fermented foods, but also others: milk, soy, citrus fruit. Anyway, I went to an allergist who did the traditional tests, and said I am allergic to molds. He refused to do the ALCAT testing for other allergies because he said it “isn’t science,” even though my PPO will pay for it. And he said usually those tests tell people they can’t eat anything. However, I want to take the tests for find out what I can eat. I need help with my food allergies and don’t know where to turn.

Polly: I took a blood test and was allergic to every food. The foods that I was most allergic to on the test were the foods that I had eaten that week. Things like barley and tangerine that I rarely eat showed up as highly allergenic just because I had rotated them into my food plan that week. Big deal! It didn’t tell me anything. There was nothing done about it either. I was just told to avoid those foods.

However, if you decide to do these tests, the best results are usually obtained after you have removed the main allergens or problem foods. Be aware that there will be foods that you should avoid that you are not allergic to. They will not show on the test. You need to be the detective. For those interested, there are many labs that will do an IgG food allergy blood test — Great Plains Lab, KS, 913 341 8949, Great Smokies Lab, NC, 800 522 4762, Immuno Laboratories, FL, 800 231 9197, Meridian Valley Lab, WA, 253 859 8700, and MetaMetrix, GA, 800 221 4640.

There are many things that I feel could help you deal with the food allergies and reactions.

1) Keep a diary. Notice if a pattern develops with any one food. Look for emotional as well as physical reactions. Be aware that some reactions may not appear for 24 to 72 hours after ingestion of the offending food, or longer if you are constipated. Then there are more subtle reactions. It took me a couple of months to realize that avoiding potatoes was helpful. I wasn’t allergic to them, but the yeast in my body liked them. Similarly, anyone with Clostridia bacteria should probably avoid wheat, oats and casein (a protein found in milk.) [1] Once in a while, you will be sensitive to certain combinations of food, so watch for that too.

2) Be particularly wary of any food that you crave or eat large quantities of. That is an indication of a possible problem with that food. The usual allergens are wheat, corn, eggs, chocolate, and/or milk products.

3) Nightshade plants seem to be a problem for some people with arthritis. Nightshade plants are bell peppers, chili, pimento, paprika, cayenne, eggplant, tobacco, and potatoes but not sweet potatoes and yams.

4) If you have yeast overgrowth, you are more likely than most to be sensitive to yeasts, mushrooms, vinegar, and cheeses. But you can eat these if you aren’t sensitive to them. In particular, if vinegar doesn’t bother you, you might consider using apple cider vinegar on you salads. Some people have found it helpful because vinegar, being an acid, kills yeast and bacteria, and can support the stomach acid levels.

5) Be careful about MSG, modified food starch, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. You are more likely than most to react adversely to these.

6) If you are mercury poisoned, you are more likely than most to be sensitive to foods with a high sulfur content, like eggs, milk, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, onions, garlic and coffee.

7) Some people are sensitive to certain colors in their vegetables. It isn’t necessarily an allergy, but an inability of the liver to deal with certain colors.

8) If aged cheese (not cottage cheese or cream cheese), wine, Brewer’s yeast, and chocolate give you a headache, then you might be reacting to the tyramine in these foods.

9) Be aware that you might react differently to vegetables and fruits that have been genetically altered. Organic fruits and vegetables are not supposed to be genetically modified. In Europe, genetically engineered food is labeled. However, if you live in the USA, it is hard to tell when you are eating genetically engineered food. There is no requirement to label it as such. See http://www.truefoodnow.org/index.html

10) Elimination diet. I’ve not tried this, but others say that this is a good way to uncover food allergies. You go on a diet with foods that are generally considered non-allergenic and then, after a few weeks, you start adding in one food at a time and observe your reaction.

11) Rotation diet. This means eating a particular food no more than once every three or four days. You might try the rotation idea, but personally, I found it big hassle to keep track of the foods. With most meals, I was left with only one or two things to eat. Instead, I seemed better off when I ate as large a variety of foods as possible at each meal. If you mix vegetables and meat at each meal, then it will be more acid/alkaline balanced. When this happens, I believe you are less likely to have an allergic reaction.

12) Cutting down on the gut inflammation will help get rid of the food reactions. This can be done by eating some roughage but not too much. A little fish oil and some emu oil might bring the inflammation down. Butter is soothing to the intestines. All the fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) have anti-inflammatory properties, and thus may also be helpful.

13) Taking probiotics can lessen the food allergies. People recommend that you start the probiotics after you have gotten the bacteria or yeast down with diet. Then you gradually add higher doses of probiotics.

14) MSM and Seacure will improve the health of the gut. This may help with the allergies. For the money, MSM is the best to start with. Seacure costs about $40 retail for a month’s supply. For $20 you can buy enough MSM for several months. Both are very good for improving the collagen of the intestines. Some people cannot tolerate the Seacure, possibly because it has a little rosemary in it. Some people cannot tolerate the MSM, especially those with heavy metal poisoning.

15) Vitamin A and the correct amount of zinc are very important for the health of the intestines.

16) The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) may help cut down the intestinal inflammation. It is worth trying. You will have to avoid all grains. However, there are some people who can go on a modified SCD diet, and eat brown rice or corn once in a while.

17) NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Techniques) is a rather strange way of getting rid of allergies. However, I spoke with a woman who finds it a godsend and uses it all the time to control her reactions to newly offending substances. After taking treatments from Dr. Nambudripad, eventually she learned to do it on her own. You wash your hands, then hold the offending substance or a glass vial containing the offending substance. Then you tap various acupressure points and also use an electronic device to stimulate some acupuncture points. Then you wash your hands again. You must avoid the offending substance for the next 24 hours. When you first start this treatment sequence, there is a specific order of substances that you treat, usually starting with B vitamins. Dr. Devi Nambudripad has a book called Say Goodbye to Illness, and a website at http://www.NAET.com .

18) A drug called sodium cromoglycate (Intal and Nalcrom) helps prevent food allergies, inflammation and leaky gut. The drug keeps mast cells from emptying their serotonin and histamine when presented with antigens. 200 mg is taken 4 times daily, 15 to 20 minutes before meals. (Without consistency, you can get yourself into trouble.) The drug also helps prevent migraines caused by food allergies. I wouldn’t rely solely on this. You have to implement other strategies too. (In the form of an over-the-counter nasal spray, Nasalcrom, this drug can be helpful in preventing airborne allergies and snoring. However, I tried the spray, and it didn’t help me.)

If all of the above fails to help, then you have to look at what might be causing your immune system to react adversely. Mercury or other heavy metals, toxins, Lyme or other infections can be the root cause of your problem. Even an injury to your spine could cause a paralyzed bowel syndrome, which could make it easier for yeast and bacteria to overgrow.

Mary W: The sodium cromoglycate is also called cromolyn sodium (a.k.a. Gastro Chrom), which has been around for a long time. I know someone who is basically allergic to all food who swears by it. You have to take it faithfully for 3-4 weeks before it kicks in. Apparently the most effective form is compounded which most MDs don’t know (surprise, surprise).

Mr. Generic: Get your doctor to order cromolyn sodium 400 mg by mouth, four times a day for 30 days, with two refills. It comes in a powder form. You mix 1/2 teaspoon (which contains 1600 mg) with a little hot water then dilute it with enough cold water to equal a quart. Then you drink a cup four times a day, 20 minutes before each meal. All the instruction will come with your order. It’s totally easy to use, just like drinking plain water. It’s tasteless and odorless. It’s lumpy when you put it in cold water, but melts readily in hot water. Not all compounding pharmacies make it. Your doctor can order it from:

Clark’s Pharmacy

15615 Bel-Red Road

Bellevue, WA. 98008

phone (425)881-0222

It will cost about $100 for a month if you purchase it from this pharmacy. Most insurance companies should pay for it if you submit a claim. However, check with them to get the procedures down correct, because some insurance companies are pretty picky about compounded substances. My naturopath says most people turn around in about 6 weeks. He is recommending a three-month course.

Sue P: I guess I’m wondering if you know of a good support group on the net for this kind of thing.

Polly: Besides the forum, you might want to join the SCD diet list or the Paleolithic diet list, or both. Both of these diets are probably close to what you need. Here are two SCD lists: SCDlist@ longisland.com, and [email protected] This is a Paleolithic website http://www.paleodiet.com. This site has more information on food allergies, http://www.foodallergy. org.

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