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Allergies, Intolerances and Sensitivities

Food Allergies, Intolerances and Sensitivities can significantly reduce a person's quality of life, causing symptoms that can range anywhere from inconvenient and uncomfortable, to severely debilitating and even life threatening.

There's a lot of confusion around the terms Allergy, Sensitivity and Intolerance, and what they actually mean… Many people use these terms in different ways, but for us, these are all terms used to describe when someone has an adverse reaction to something when it’s ingested that might be totally fine for other people.

However, there are distinct differences between Allergies, Sensitivities and Intolerances, that we will break down throughout this article.

What Are Allergies?

We define Allergies as a fairly strong and immediate immune response reaction, mediated by igE (immunoglobulin E) antibodies. These igE antibodies are deployed quickly to search and destroy the foreign object that has entered your body and is deemed to be a threat (even though perhaps it isn’t). This quick response means that symptoms tend to be noticeable almost immediately, usually within a few minutes.

Two of the most common Food Allergies are:

  • Celiac - a true, but fairly rare Allergy to Gluten that can be extremely debilitating for those who have it

  • Egg Allergy - one of the most common allergic reactions in children

Other common Food Allergies include: milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and some fruit and vegetables.

Symptoms of Allergies can range from itching or hives, runny nose and sneezing, to a more severe, life threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock) - where a person has difficulty breathing (wheezing), a fast heartbeat, clammy skin and can suffer collapse or a loss of consciousness.

Although most people develop Allergies early on (as a child or in their earlier adult years) Allergies can actually develop at any point in your life. With this in mind, we think it’s extremely important to find out your Genetic tendency towards certain types of allergies, to discover what might be potentially harmful to your body.

What Are Intolerances?

We define Intolerance as a slower, less severe immune response reaction to a foreign substance that has entered your body and is deemed to be a threat (but perhaps shouldn’t be). Intolerances are mediated through a different type of immune system antibody called igG (immunoglobulin G). The effect of a Food Intolerance tends to be less immediate and severe than Allergies.

In fact, the response can be so slow that it can slip under people's radars, resulting in them eating foods they are intolerant to every day (or even every meal), without noticing their digestive issues, sinus congestion, headaches or other symptoms are directly linked to the food they are intolerant to, because intolerance symptoms can take as long as 2-3 days to manifest, making it very hard to make a connection between the symptoms, and the food that may have been ingested several days before!

Other symptoms that Food Intolerances can produce range from abdominal pain, bloating and wind, to diarrhea, sinus congestion, fatigue, headaches, skin rashes and itching.

Common Food Intolerances

There is a Genetic component to whether we develop food intolerances, the most common being Gluten Intolerance, Dairy Intolerance, and Lactose Intolerance. It’s a common misconception that Dairy Intolerance and Lactose Intolerance are the same thing, however, the difference is that Lactose Intolerance is a reaction to the sugar molecule in dairy food, but Dairy Intolerance is a reaction to the protein molecule (Casein).

Discovering your Genetic tendencies is extremely important so you can tailor your diet to the foods that suit you best. For example if you’re Lactose Intolerant you may be able to eat butter and hard mature cheeses (such as brie, parmesan and feta) because they have low lactose (milk sugar), but if you are Dairy Intolerant you may be better suited to butter, ghee and cream, due to their lower casein (dairy protein) content.

Less Obvious Intolerances

Another type of Intolerance that is still controversial and relatively unknown (not mainstream), but has rapidly growing scientific evidence to support it, is Lectin Intolerance [1] . Lectins are components found predominantly in plant seeds.

It is thought that seeds like nuts, seeds, grains and beans have chemicals in them, called Lectins, that trigger an Intolerance response by the immune system of the animal that eats them, and that there is some kind of intent by the plants to prevent us from overeating their seeds.

Another type of Intolerance that is still somewhat unknown is Mold and Mycotoxins (the toxic byproduct of mold), but Food Mold Sensitivity is more common than people think. Of course, molds are not just a problem when we eat them, they are also toxic if we breathe in their spores or mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are extremely small particles released by molds to fight other microorganisms like bacteria, fungi and indeed, other molds. Mycotoxins are highly toxic to humans. Most people can process them (despite their toxicity) but some may have a Genetic predisposition to really struggle processing the toxic mold particles.

Supporting Your Immune System to potentially reduce Allergies and Intolerances?

Because Allergies and Intolerances are caused by an immune system dysfunction, supporting the immune system can potentially help reduce symptoms. The first nutrient we recommend is Vitamin D, because optimal levels can help to increase the anti-inflammatory and decrease the pro-inflammatory constituents of the immune system [2], therefore potentially reducing the scale of the allergic response.

It’s vital to take Vitamin K2 alongside Vitamin D3 for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that it's much safer to take higher doses of D3 with K2, because too much D3 by itself will pull calcium out of your bones, leading to lower bone density and potentially even excessive blood calcium, which can also lead to calcium being deposited in your arteries (vascular calcification, or hardening of the arteries).

Vitamin K2 works to put calcium back into your bones [3], as well as helping to keep your arteries clear. A balanced formula with both allows you to reap the anti-inflammatory and immune supporting benefits of Vitamin D3, while minimizing bone calcium loss and the potential for cardiovascular problems. We recommend our Vitamin D3 and K2 Formula for its perfect balance of these 2 nutrients.

It’s important to say that Vitamin D won’t cure your allergies, but could reduce the impact and effect of them. The same goes for Circumin (the main active compound in the yellow spice Turmeric), which countless studies have found to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent [4] that can help to modulate the action of the immune system [5].

Probiotics can also help to reduce symptoms of Allergies [6]. This is thought to be through their ability to reduce gut inflammation [7], as well as reducing the pro-inflammatory components of the immune system [8].

We also recommend the medicinal mushrooms - like those found in our Longevity Formula - Reishi, Chaga and Cordyceps, for their ability to help increase the level of anti-inflammatory components of the immune system [9,10].

What Are Sensitivities?

Although Sensitivities are less clearly understood, we define them as when the body has and inability or difficulty with processing certain ‘toxic’ substances within natural foods. When a Sensitivity occurs, there’s no immune system response, but more a situation where the body struggles to break down and safely excrete the compounds within the food that has been consumed.

Much like Intolerances, you may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating and wind, diarrhea, sinus congestion, fatigue, headaches, skin rashes and itching.

Has Histamine Intolerance Been Incorrectly Labeled?

We actually believe that Histamine Intolerance has been labeled incorrectly in the past, as it is actually a sensitivity… Histamine is a neurotransmitter that is made by our bodies and is used during an immune response (specifically to create inflammation around foreign objects)... but did you know that some foods actually contain Histamine?

Aged or fermented foods like cheeses, cured meats and pickled foods, all contain Histamine. This means eating them can cause an excess of Histamine to build up in your system if your body is not well adapted to breaking Histamine down and getting rid of it from the body, usually caused by a deficiency in the DAO enzyme which breaks it down, or down to too much histamine being produced within the body.

Some people have a Genetic variant where they struggle to break down the Histamine that their body creates - a deficiency of the DAO enzyme - making them more likely to have Allergies and Intolerances. This also means that if they ingest more Histamine via food, the situation is made worse. It’s important to find out if you have this Genetic variant, as it could be a major contributor to your Allergies, Intolerances and/or Sensitivities. Click here to find out more.

To conclude, Histamine Intolerance is actually a sensitivity, because it is a detoxification issue (too much builds up due to eating foods containing Histamine) as opposed to your immune system reacting to it thinking it’s a foreign invader (Histamine is naturally made in our body’s to help create inflammation during an immune response), as in the case of Allergies and Intolerances.

Have You Heard of These Lesser Known Sensitivities?

We think that Oxalate and Salicylate Sensitivities aren’t talked about as often as they should be, but both are toxins found naturally in many different plant foods. Despite being toxic, most human bodies are adapted to be able to be able to break down and process them pretty well, but some people (due to a Genetic variant) find it significantly more difficult to break down, detoxify and eliminate these toxins from their bodies.

If this is the case for you, you may have reactions to foods containing Oxalate and Salicylate without even realizing. Oxalate is taken to your kidneys to be removed from your body in urine. When there’s excess Oxalate in the kidneys, it can get left behind which leads to it bonding with calcium to create kidney stones and crystals (not pleasant, avoid at all costs) [11].

On the other hand, too much Salicylate can lead to temporary (or worsened) tinnitus (ringing in the ears) [12], abdominal pain, nausea and an increased breathing rate, so it really is important to understand how you’re Genetically wired, so you can reduce these foods if your body is not well adapted to handle Oxalate or Salicylate.

Another example of a Sensitivity is Caffeine. Some people are able to break down and detoxify Caffeine easier than others (again, due to Genetics) which means they are much less susceptible to Caffeine Related Anxiety. If you are more Sensitive to Caffeine, then reducing your intake of food and drinks that contain Caffeine (coffee, chocolate, certain teas, energy drinks etc) will have a big impact on your overall anxiety levels.

Why You Could Actually Be Sensitive to Carbohydrates

Here’s a fun fact: You can actually be Sensitive to Carbohydrates. The reason is because certain types of Carbohydrates, such as Fructose, need to be broken down and detoxified in the liver [13]. Fructose can be found to some degree in fruits, but in much higher quantities in sweet, processed foods.

Genetic variations mean each person is different in their ability to break down simple carbs, which you could say is not technically a Sensitivity, as it's only when moderate to high amounts of Carbohydrates are consumed, that a person may struggle to process them, due to their Genetics.

To support the body in detoxification, we recommend our Liver Support product, which contains Dandelion and Milk Thistle as well as many other nutrients and herbs to support detoxification as well as Colon Sweep, which supports the Detoxification Process by binding toxins in the intestines using bentonite clay, and then sweeping them through and out using Psyllium Husks.
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