Functional Medicine – Food Sensitivities
Food sensitivities are very common in our society, although most people don’t know if they have any. One of the best ways to discover your food sensitivities is to do a food elimination diet. You do this by removing a food from your diet for a minimum of six weeks (120 days is best), then reintroduce the food and see how you feel. Some of the most common food sensitivities are: gluten, wheat, dairy, corn, soy, and chocolate, but it could be any food.
Food sensitivities have been associated with some diseases. A study on multiple sclerosis, published in Neurology 2001 states, “The authors describe 10 patients with gluten sensitivity and abnormal MRI. All experienced episodic headache, six had unsteadiness, and four had gait ataxia. MRI abnormalities varied from confluent areas of high signal throughout the white matter to foci of high signal scattered in both hemispheres. Symptomatic response to gluten free diet was seen in nine patients.” This study shows that 9 out of ten patients diagnosed with abnormal brain MRI’s diagnosed with M.S. showed dramatic improvement with a 30 day gluten free diet.
Dimentia is has been linked to gluten allergies. Lancet 1999 stated “High levels of circulating antigliaden antibodies (gliaden is a protein sub fraction of gluten) were found in 57% of patients with neurological dysfunction and early stage dementia.
According to the European Journal of Gastroenterology 1998, “celiac disease patients (a gluten allergy) have a ten times increase of auto immune thyroiditis.” If you have autoimmune thryroiditis, but you don’t have celiac disease, it’s a safe assumption that you have a gluten sensitivity and it should be completely eliminated from the diet.
Type 1 diabetes has been associated with a dairy sensitivity. The New England Journal of Medicine, 1992 states, “Studies have suggested that bovine serum albumin is the milk protein responsible for the onset of diabetes… Patients with insulin- dependent diabetes mellitus produce antibodies to cow milk proteins that participate in the development of islet dysfunction… Taken as a whole, our findings suggest that an active response in patients with IDDM (to the bovine protein) is a feature of the autoimmune response.” According to Diabetes, June 2000 “high level consumption of cow’s milk during childhood.
A lack of stomach acid has been associated with food sensitivities. A study of the use of medications to reduce stomach acid has been found to increase food allergies. The FASEB Journal, 2005 stated, “we have demonstrated that anti-ulcer drugs, such as H2-receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors, promote the development of immediate type food allergy toward digestion-labile proteins in mice…Thus, the relative risk to develop food-specific IgE after anti-acid therapy was 10.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.44-76.48).” Medications will do this but if your body doesn’t produce it’s own stomach acid you will increase your risk of food allergies.