Saturday, March 22, 2014

Exploring Food Intolerances

There are many tools to support mind and body wellness.  Often overlooked in our modern society is that food is what has always nourished and sustained us.  As a species, we thrived with the diet that was adopted by our Paleolithic ancestors and our brains grew. (See the DVD “In Search of the Perfect Human Diet.”).   In our modern, fast-paced life what passes for food is altered, and so is our health.  To understand and regain our health, we require not only the help of medical experts, but also nutrition specialists. 

Here is a brief description of what happens when a person has a food intolerance.  If a person eats a food that is not suited to them, they cannot fully digest it.  The undigested food irritates the digestive tract, creates an inflammatory response and degrades the functionality of that system.  As more food is eaten, the suboptimal digestive tract allows it to pass through the intestines and enter the blood stream without being properly digested.    This alerts the immune system in an attempt to clean up the food immune complexes (FIC) that are not supposed to be there.  When the FIC’s get into circulation, they can land virtually anywhere outside the digestive tract and cause inflammatory/immune reactions at that site.  This is why food intolerance symptoms are so vast, and why family members often don’t recognize that the same issue may be the reason for many different types of disease or imbalances.  It is known that a food intolerance can lead to autoimmune diseases later in life. 

The brain needs nutrients to function properly, and its function can be hindered when something toxic enters it.  Gluten is problematic to the body and brain function; how that manifests may look different in individuals even in the same family.  Nonetheless, the basics that the brain requires are universal, and the Standard American Diet lacks these.  For instance, omega-3 essential fats such as fish oil are commonly lacked in today’s diet and are crucial for brain function.  See other articles in my blog and the resources listed below for tips about brain health. 

A person does not need to be Celiac to experience significant problems from gluten.  They can be simply gluten intolerant and have any one or number of difficulties such as learning and behavior disorders, unbalanced moods, digestive distress, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory reactions, etc.  There can also be multiple food intolerances.  The major foods that cause problems for people are ALL grains (but gluten-containing ones especially) corn (a grain), all dairy products, eggs, and yeast.  Testing for antibodies against these foods can be done, as can genetic testing for gluten.  These antibodies are the immune response when the body is overloaded, and they indicate that the body is attacking some part of itself.  Antibodies show up most reliably in the stool or saliva.  Blood tests for antibodies can show false negatives if the right tests are not done for that individual.  I recommend people work with a Nutrition Therapist, Naturopathic Doctor, or a Chiropractor that regularly test for food intolerances.  U.S. residents can work with Entero Lab directly.

References you can explore include:

Dr. Mark Hyman wrote “Ultra Mind Solution”

Dr. David Perlmutter wrote “Grain Brain”

Living Without is a magazine for those living gluten free.

Dr. Tom O’Bryan works mostly with and is an educator about gluten intolerance.

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