Most people who have true allergies know it – their eyes itch, they sneeze, or break out in a rash. Sensitivities or intolerances can be more difficult to detect as the symptoms are less obvious and sometimes don’t appear until a while after exposure. Allergies and chronic sensitivities can be the cause of many illnesses, including headaches, digestive disorders, PMS, respiratory and skin problems, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, and mood disorders.
An allergy is an abnormal reaction by the immune system to a normally harmless substance, and the body responds by releasing antibodies (IgE, IgG, IgA, IgC), and thereby triggering inflammation. A more mild reaction is referred to as a sensitivity or intolerance. Although less severe symptom-wise, sensitivities can slowly compromise your well being, and if undiagnosed and untreated, can have serious health consequences.
If your body is under stress from illness, a compromised immune system, or continued exposure to toxins, it can become over-burdened and more reactive to things that under more optimum circumstances would not bother you. Limiting exposure to foods and substances that weaken you is important for creating an environment in which your body's natural healing process can do its work.
Conventional medicine offers a variety of tests to identify allergies, although they are not always accurate. If you are looking for an alternative to traditional therapies, please read about The Cutler Method, below. You can learn more about Muscle Testing which is a great tool to help you to identify and then avoid those foods and substances which may be causing you problems.
Also check out these books, particularly Dr. Nambudripod’s Say Goodbye to Illness. She is the founder of NAET (Nambudripod’s Allergy Elimination Technique) which is an easy and painless way to eliminate allergies and sensitivities.
Say Goodbye to Illness
by Devi Nambudripad, A.P.
Winning the War Against Immune Disorders and Allergies:
A Drug Free Cure for Allergies and Allergies and The Food Allergy Cure
by Ellen Cutler, MD, DC
Tired or Toxic: A Blueprint for Health
by Sherry Rogers
For more information on specific allergies check out Cleveland Clinic's website :
More than 11 million Americans have diagnosed food allergies, and many more have food sensitivities. A food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful and creates antibodies to it. The next time you eat it, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals including histamines to protect the body. Reactions can range from mild to severe and can include rashes, hives, vomiting, difficulty breathing and swelling in the throat and mouth.
Food intolerance or sensitivity is more widespread and it is estimated that up to 20% of the population are affected, many who have no idea that food is the underlying cause of their illness. It is a digestive system response, and does not involve the immune system. An example would be lactose intolerance - this is when your body lacks the enzymes needed to digest products which contain lactose, as in milk, which can cause uncomfortable symtoms such as bloating, gas, etc. General symptoms of food sensitivities can range from cramps, bloating and nausea or diarrhea, to headaches or general malaise.
Foods that are not compatible or do not agree with your body may not cause symtoms that are immediate or readily recognized, but over time can create an environment in the body that can weaken the immune system. This makes it difficult to not only heal from illness, but can eventually create illness because the body is in a frequent state of imbalance due to continued exposure to substances that your body is not able to process and digest properly.
90% of all food allergies are caused by milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (cashews, walnuts, etc), fish/shellfish, soy and wheat. Another major trigger can be sugar which can cause an unbalanced chemistry in the body because of its effect on insulin. Sugar can create a rapid increase, then decline, of blood sugar levels and lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and loss of appetite control. Artificial sweetners can be just as bad as they are artificial substances that can add to your toxic load.
Diagnosis & Treatment:
To determine if you are suffering with food sensitivities ask your doctor about an MRT (Mediator Release Testing) which is a blood test that checks for reactivity of up to 150 different foods and additives. Also if you have more than 3 of the following symptoms it may be an indication that you are having some issues relating to food sensitivity:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Abdominal pain and/or cramping
- Gas and/or bloating
- Migraine or other chronic headaches
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain and/or weakness
- Trouble concentrating (brain fog)
- Hives and/or eczema
- Chronic congestion
- ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperacitivity Disorder)
A great source of information about food allergies, including recipes, books and frequently asked questions visit www.foodallergy.org (The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network).
Muscle Testing is a simple process that can be helpful in identifying foods which do not agree with your body. Any food or supplement can be easily tested to ensure that it is something that will strengthen and is compatible with your body...and help you to know which foods are weakening you and that you should avoid. The Muscle Testing link above will bring you to step by step instructions, but essentially muscle testing works by holding the food/item close to the body (chest area) and testing the impact this has on your overall muscle strenth. When something is compatible your muscles remain strong, when it does not agree with you it will be very apparent because you will experience muscle weakness.
Another option for those struggling with sensitivities is to consider a rotation diet, which is essentially rotating the foods you eat, particularly those foods that you suspect are not compatible with your body, so that you are not eating the same food for at least four days. This will help to ensure that it is completely removed from your system and to lessen your chances of developing new intolerances. This is difficult to do on a long term basis, but can be useful if done for a few months to give your system a break and better able to handle the load. I would suggest you consider continuing to rotate foods you find cause you problems for as long as possible, or eliminate them from your diet entirely. When reintroducing them do it slowly - eat small amounts and pay attention to any reactions, however subtle.
If you suspect you have a food allergy or intolerance also consider keeping a food journal for several weeks - record everything you eat, the symptoms you experience, and how long after eating the symptoms begin. This information may prove helpful to you and your healthcare provider in identifying foods which you are reacting to.
Also consider taking a Probiotic - which is friendly bacteria that not only promotes digestive health, but can aid in the absorption of nutients and enhance immune function. Therefore probiotics may help to reduce food sensitivities. Foods high in probiotics include live yogurt, Japanese miso, temeph and some cheeses. Also foods such as bananas, garlic and onions can help the body maintain levels of good bacteria in the intestines. One of my favorite probiotics is Jarrow Dopholis, which I like because it does not have to be refrigerated as many probiotics do. Keep in mind though that it is always best to keep any probiotic refrigerated for long-term storage. You will find this and other quality probitiocs at your local health food store, or visit www.bcn4life.com - the website of Beachwood Canyon Naturally, a company that we have used that offers high quality supplements at reasonable prices.
Sage Medical Laboratory does testing to identify foods that could be behind chronic health problems such as arthritis, irritable bowel, headaches, chronic fatigue and stomach problems. I have not personally used their services, but if you are interested there is more information on their website: www.sagemedlab.com, or you can call them at 1-800-491-9511.
With more than 3,000 chemicals added to our food supply and more than 70,000 chemicals used for other purposes, it is easy to understand why so many people are dealing with some type of health issue relating to chemical sensitivity. Our bodies were designed to eliminate these toxins, but constant exposure to the growing number of toxic substances found in our air, food, water and environment, can over-burden the body and it is no longer able to do its job properly.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is an illness with no known cause, though it is quite possible to be autoimmune deficiency triggered by chemicals in the environment. These chemicals can be found in foods, food additives, medications and mercury in dental fillings – even silicone breast implants. Triggers can be perfumes, scented products, solvents & cleaning agents, new carpet, car exhaust, air pollution, plastics, formaldehyde and cigarette smoke.
There is no known cure, but avoidance is an obvious way to reduce symptoms, unfortunately this is very difficult, especially when you are uncertain as to exactly what your trigger is. Muscle Testing is one way to try to detect what is weakening your body. It is also important to do all you can to strengthen your immune system and body in general…eat healthy organic foods; use cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning products, clothing etc that are free of chemical additives (see Natural Health Resources); and consider using a water and/or air filter in your home and office. Of course exercise and a good night’s sleep are also very important to everyone’s wellbeing.
Although it may require some detective work on your part, eliminating exposure to foods and substances that weaken your body can help to dramatically improve your health and well being.
Dr. Ellen Cutler, author of "Winning the War Against Asthma and Allergies", trains many healthcare providers in her unique method of treating allergies called, Bioset. This method uses energy medicine principles for testing how the body responds to various allergens and the ancient art of acupuncture to "desensitize" the body to those allergens. She trains healthcare professionals all over the world in this unique style of allergy elimination.
In the United States alone, ninety million people suffer from illnesses related to food and environmental allergies. Using detection methods that are very sensitive at finding subtle electrical imbalances in the body, testing for allergies has never been easier. Traditional methods of testing for allergies involves scratch and RAST testing using tiny needles in the skin and or blood testing which provides a snapshot of what someone is allergic to (roughly 100-200 items). Using Meridian Stress Assessment software in the Bioset method a practitioner is able to detect electrical imbalances related to over 30,000 allergens ranging from foods to mold spores. It is done quickly and painlessly.
Once a practitioner has determined what someone is allergic to, the treatment is rather simple. The patient holds energetically encoded vials which contain the substances that they are allergic to while doing some guided breathing exercises at the same time that the practitioner taps on each of the vertebrae of the spine (thus causing a brief interruption of the signals that the nerves along the spine are sending to the internal organs). This method is very much like re-booting your computer, turn it off for a few seconds and then turn it on and things are back to normal!
~ Tammy Bennett, AP