FOOD ALLERGY RESCUE
CERTAIN SUPPLEMENTS MAY EASE FOOD ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCES
Digestive complaints affect nearly 100 million Americans. In most cases, the symptoms reflect disturbed digestive function or food intolerance rather than an underlying disease. Functional gastrointestinal disorders include occasional indigestion or heartburn, dyspepsia, excessive flatulence, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Supporting digestion with the help of digestive enzymes and other natural approaches is often the best route to eliminating these bothersome (and sometimes embarrassing) symptoms.
WHAT CAUSES FOOD ALLERGIES?
A food allergy or food intolerance occurs when there is an adverse reaction to the ingestion of a food. In a classic food allergy, the immune system is involved, producing a true allergic reaction that can potentially result in severe symptoms—including anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that impairs breathing. In a food intolerance, the immune system is not involved; symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems.
A classic food allergy occurs when an ingested food molecule acts as an antigen—a substance that can be bound by an antibody. Antibodies are the protein molecules made by white blood cells that bind to foreign substances, in this case, various components of foods. Allergic reactions can be delayed or immediate. Immediate allergic reactions can be quite serious and potentially life-threatening, as food antigens bind to specialized white blood cells that release histamines, which cause swelling and inflammation.
With food intolerances, the root cause often is an inability to digest certain foods due to a lack of certain digestive enzymes. For example, approximately 65 percent of adults have a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose, a sugar in milk and milk products, is broken down by the enzyme lactase, produced in the small intestine. If the lactose is not broken down by the enzyme lactase, it can produce a lot of
gastrointestinal symptoms especially gas, bloating, cramping pain, and diarrhea. Taking supplemental lactase can help with lactase digestion and allow people with lactose intolerance to eliminate symptoms of food intolerance.
There are a variety of dietary approaches to deal with food allergies and intolerances. For example, an allergy elimination diet is one popular method in which commonly eaten foods are eliminated and replaced with either hypoallergenic foods or foods that are rarely eaten. e individual stays on the elimination diet for at least one week. If the symptoms are related to a food allergy or intolerance sensitivity, they will typically disappear by the
fth or sixth day of the diet. If the symptoms do not disappear, it is possible that a reaction to a food in the elimination diet is responsible. In that case, an even more restricted diet must be utilized.
After the elimination diet period, individual foods are reintroduced every two days. Methods range from reintroducing only a single food every two days, to reintroducing a food every one or two meals. Reintroduction of an offending food will typically produce a more severe or recognizable symptom than before, allowing for easy identi cation of a food allergy or intolerance.
A popular diet to help deal with common digestive disturbances is the low FODMAP diet. is diet focuses on eliminating certain foods known to cause excessive gas, bloating, and changes in regularity. FODMAP is an acronym for:
Fermentable – foods that are quickly broken down (fermented) by bacteria in the large intestine.
Oligosaccharides – “oligo” means “few” and “saccharide” means sugar. ese molecules are made up of individual sugars joined together in a chain. Beans are a common source of oligosaccharides.
Disaccharides – “di” means two, so a disaccharide is composed of two sugar molecules bonded together. Sucrose is a disaccharide.
Monosaccharides – “mono” means single, so a monosaccharide is a single sugar molecule. Fructose is a monosaccharide.
Polyols – these are sugar alcohols often used as sweeteners. Some examples are xylitol, maltitol, and erythritol.
A low-FODMAP diet refers to a temporary eating pattern, usually 7 to 10 days, that has a very low amount of FODMAPs. It is used in clinical medicine to relieve digestion-related symptoms such as gas, bloating, and irregularity in people dealing with: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Other forms of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (FGID) Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) Certain autoimmune conditions/diseases like (potentially) rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or eczema Fibromyalgia or other health issues you’ve noticed are triggered by certain foods Frequent migraines that appear to be triggered after certain meals
Here is a list of some common foods and ingredients that are high in FODMAPs. To follow a low FODMAP diet avoid these foods for 10 days:
Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, leaks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, shallots. Fruit: Apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, cherries, canned fruit, dates, figs, pears, peaches, watermelon. Dairy products: Milk (from cows, goats, and sheep), ice cream, most yogurts, sour cream, soft and fresh cheeses (cottage, ricotta, etc). Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans. Wheat: Bread, pasta, most breakfast cereals, tortillas, waffles, pancakes, crackers, biscuits. Other grains: Barley and rye. Beverages: Beer, forti ed wines, soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup, milk, soy milk, fruit juices. Sweeteners: Fructose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol.
MEET THE EXPERT: Nathan Matusheski, PhD, is a Scientific Leader, Nutrition Science & Advocacy, with DSM Nutritional Products.