Food Sensitivities, Allergens & Inflammation

Inflammation is arguably one of the largest instigators of weight gain, inability to lose weight, and several digestive issues, among other health issues. Let’s look at two specific causes of inflammation: food sensitivities and allergens.

It’s important to understand the similarities and differences between the two terms, because, while food allergy and food sensitivity are often used interchangeably, they are not the same.

 

Inflammation Caused by Food Allergy:

A food allergy is an immediate reaction to a food seen as an invader by the immune system. This causes a response from our IgE immune cells which create a cascade of events in our bodies that can cause anything from hives, to anaphylactic shock, to stomach pain.

Inflammation Cased by Food Sensitivity:

A food sensitivity is a delayed response occurring when a food is seen as invading the immune system. This causes IgG immune cells to react, creating an inflammatory cascade to occur. The list of potential food sensitivity symptoms is long and can include any of the following: Migraine headaches, eczema or acne, joint pain, intestinal gas/pain, general fatigue and foggy thinking, as well as irritable bowl syndrome.

Although the immune system sees both an allergen and sensitivity as an invader, our IgG immune cells (from sensitivities) cause a delayed response that may not expose itself for 1-7 days. Not only are sensitivities often under diagnosed, but additionally, some symptoms aren’t debilitating enough to keep us home from work, school and life, however over time the undiagnosed food sensitivity (a.k.a. long-term inflammation) will manifest itself.

After constant inflammation and exposure to an invader/food, here’s what can happen:

  1. Excess weight: This state of inflammation promotes insulin resistance (among other things), which promotes obesity/fat storage. With insulin resistance our cells stop responding to insulin (the hormone in charge of getting the glucose, or sugar, we have digested from our blood into our cells). We want balanced blood sugar so that insulin can work properly. When it doesn’t, we stop using the glucose efficiently, and can start storing it as fat.
  2. Leaky gut: After constant exposure to a poor diet or an invader, the bacteria in our gut can become imbalanced. Bad bacteria can begin to outnumber healthy bacteria after feeding off of the invading food, and this produces an imbalanced gut ecosystem. Toxins are produced from bad bacteria, and these toxins can attach to immune cells. They then damage gut lining (creating a “leaky gut”) and then toxins and other foods from your gut can travel into your blood stream, only to be recognized further as an invader of the system. This promotes more inflammation/adverse symptoms.

We have had several clients identify food sensitivities and concurrently lose weight alongside this discovery. One of our clients recently identified a dairy sensitivity, and not only has she lost a considerable amount of weight since then, but she has also experienced mental clarity, increased energy and mood, huge improvements in her skin, and decreased bloating/overall inflammation. Although it has not been an easy process, she continues to avoid dairy, and continues to see her physical and mental health improve daily.

 

If you would like to read more, here’s a related article about foods which can cause inflammation.

 


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