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If you eat foods that your immune system considers harmful to your body, the system immediately floods your blood stream with antibodies called IgE (immunoglobulin E) and a chemical called histamine meant to neutralize the offending foods. The combination of IgE and histamine produces classic, food allergy symptoms that include:
- Nasal congestion/wheezing
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Facial, tongue and throat swelling
Symptoms emerge typically within an hour of eating certain foods while severe allergic reactions occur within minutes of consuming a culprit food.
The U.S. FDA lists eight specific foods as the most common allergenic foods that require food packages containing any one of these ingredients be appropriately marked. These eight foods established by federal law as allergenic are:
- Almonds, pecans, walnuts (tree nuts)
- Cod, flounder and bass
- Shrimp, lobster, crab (crustacean shellfish)
Unfortunately, hundreds of different foods can cause allergic reactions that are often mistaken for other illnesses. Consequently, a food allergy may remain misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, forcing a person to struggle unnecessarily with debilitating symptoms.
Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease
A protein compound found in wheat, gluten provides the elasticity to dough that makes bread chewy after it is baked. People suffering from celiac disease experience severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping and nausea. Eating anything containing gluten provokes their immune system into attacking the small intestinal lining, which could lead to malnutrition, anemia and chronic fatigue if not diagnosed in time.
Gluten intolerance produces symptoms similar to celiac disease but they are not as severe. However, signs of gluten intolerance--back pain, depression, migraines and joint pain--are often misdiagnosed and treated wrongly. Consequently, people with gluten intolerance (or celiac disease) will continue suffering worsening symptoms while taking medication that is doing nothing for their health.
Lactose is a natural sugar found in dairy and milk products. For people unable to digest lactose due to the inability of their small intestine to produce lactase, consuming milk, cheese or butter causes distressing stomach pain, bloating, cramping and gas. In addition to the problem of having lactose intolerance correctly diagnosed, people with this disorder must learn what they can and cannot eat to avoid uncomfortable symptoms but still receive enough calcium to maintain healthy bones and teeth.
Dermatologists routinely treat acne with a combination of salicylic medications and UV therapy but fail to consider the possibility that food allergies may be causing inflammation and over excitation of sebaceous glands due to a reactive immune response to certain foods. Chocolate, fried foods and dairy products are not always the reason for acne outbreaks.
Getting the Correct Diagnosis is Vital to Your Health
Gluten intolerance, celiac disease, lactose intolerance and acne triggers represent potentially serious conditions that are frequently misdiagnosed by physicians who are unfamiliar or skeptical of food allergies and food insensitivities.
If you have been given medication to treat a non-food allergy condition but continue to feel unwell, chronically tired and find it difficult to complete daily tasks, visit Natural Care Chiropractic today to schedule a consultation with one of our nutritional specialists and receive a comprehensive therapeutic nutrition assessment that will accurately diagnose your health problems.