Treating The Digestive System : Food Allergies and Intolerances
A 28-year-old woman came into my office with complaints of fatigue, severe gas and bloating, foggy head, alternating diarrhea with constipation and a history of travel in 3rd world countries. My first thought was that she had picked up some form of parasite and this was causing some inflammation in her digestive system. The chronic long term inflammation had then caused her to develop food intolerances. I decided to run a complete digestive panel with microbiology and a food allergy panel.
Food allergies and intolerances are the cause of a wide range of health concerns that I see in my office. Food intolerances and allergies can manifest as digestive problems such as gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea to more severe cases of irritable bowel. What most people do not know is that food intolerances can also be the underlying cause of sinus congestion, joint pain, depression, chronic poor immunity, and skin problems. What causes a person to react to foods that are commonly found within our diets? Certainly we know that part of the problem is an inability of a person’s system to respond normally to an offending food such as dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, and citrus.
The imbalance can be due to a compromised digestive system for example an imbalance of microbial flora (bacteria, parasites or yeast); lack of hydrochloric acid or digestive enzymes, and inflammation. Immune, neurotransmitter and hormone imbalances are also implicated in digestive disorders relating to food allergies and intolerances. A healthy intestinal lining allows nutrients to enter into the body and prevents toxins from being absorbed into the blood stream. If this mechanism is damaged and the intestinal lining becomes inflamed the lining becomes hyper-permeable allowing undigested food particles and toxins to enter causing allergic reactions and inflammation elsewhere in the body.
Her tests came back with no parasites or bacterial imbalances however an unusually high amount of yeast was found in her stool. Her food allergy testing came back revealing strong sensitivities to yeast, milk and wheat. I asked her to avoid the foods that showed up on her allergy testing, placed her on a candida protocol and gave her digestive support. One month later she commented that she felt like her “old self”, her energy was back, her bowel movements had improved and her head felt clear. I recommended that she continue to avoid the foods for another 3 months, stopped her digestive support and candida supplements. Three months later she called to inform me that she felt completely back to normal and was able to eat small amounts of the foods with no reaction.