Hidden Food Allergies

Hidden Food Allergies

We are all familiar with the story of someone who eats peanuts and goes into anaphylactic shock. This is the very severe end of an obvious food allergy. The onset is immediate and life threatening. Not every food allergy in this category is as sinister but all have common characteristics such as, onset within an hour or two at most after eating. Reactions are confined to very specific food items. The body systems affected are the skin, gut and the airways. Only approximately 5%of the population are affected in this way.

So do the rest of us get off scot free? Alas no. One in four of us will suffer from some type of food sensitivity in our lifetime. These are the hidden allergies or food intolerances which can account for several conditions including allergic rhinitis {non seasonal} anxiety, asthma, ADHD, autism, bedwetting, bloating, depression, eczema, epilepsy {with history of migraine or hyperactivity} chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel diseases (crohns disease ,ulcerative colitis coeliac disease} middle ear infection, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep disorders(insomnia, sleep apnoea, snoring}.

When Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine”, I’m sure he never dreamt food could be thy poison! What happens in our bodies when we consume food which disagrees with us.?As already mentioned ,in a very small percentage of people, there is an immediate reaction known as an IgE antibody reaction.The antibodies lay in wait for the offending food on top of a mast cell and attack the food particle releasing a wave of histamine.When we experience a delayed reaction to food (taking anywhere from one day to a maximum of seven)we produce IgG antibodies.These little guys latch onto the intruder protein ,surround it and wait for a big eater cell called a macrophage to gobble it up.Problem is this puts the national guard, aka the immune system on red alert as it tries to mop up the crisis.

Each of us is unique in our reaction to food but the top offenders are cows milk,wheat, yeast, eggs, garlic, oranges, soya beans brazil nuts,almonds, corn ,hazel nuts,chilli peppers,sesame seeds sunflower seeds and peanuts. To determine if food is making you ill either eliminate the suspected allergens for a couple of weeks, reintroducing them one at a time and observe if symptoms improve or do a specific blood test.

Delayed IgG reactions to foods are very real but one may feel fine today and experience headaches tomorrow.One may have a craving for that very food and feel better temporarily after ingesting it. This is why proper investigation with a simple blood test may be vital.The best laboratories for this testing are the York laboratories(www.yorktest.ie)who send out a simple home testing kit.

We are indeed what we eat or what we don’t eat perhaps.A few simple alterations to diet can be life changing. Mind blowing isnt it?