Food Allergy and Sensitivities—A Growing Problem
A recent study to be published in the journal Pediatrics found that the prevalence of food allergy in children is higher than previously thought.1 It turns out that 8 percent of children—that’s about 1 in every 13 children—are affected by food allergy. Food allergies and sensitivities are far-reaching problems contributing to many autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes, arthritis and psoriasis, and to neuro-inflammatory conditions like autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).2-5
Food allergies and sensitivities are essentially the result of a breakdown in gut mucosal immune regulation in response to food antigens that pass through the gut. The gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) makes up about 80 percent of the body’s immune system, and it resides in and around the gut. The job of the immune system in the gut is to respond to foreign invaders, like pathogens, by destroying them. At the same time, it must also not respond to the large amount of food that passes through the gut every day—this is known as oral tolerance.
When it comes to food allergies and sensitivities, building and maintaining a healthy gut lining is key. The HOPE Formula can help you to achieve this with High fiber, Omega oils, Probiotics and digestive Enzymes.
If you have the right bacterial balance, as can be achieved with probiotics, the gut lining will be minimally inflamed and therefore minimal leakage of microbial toxins will be available to activate the GALT. The beneficial bacteria also create more of an immune tolerance with the epithelial cells that line the intestine—especially the mucosal-associated lymphocytes that are part of the epithelial lining.6
The right balance of soluble fiber and insoluble fiber can also minimize allergies—the soluble fiber by producing beneficial short chain fatty acids, especially butyrate, which is the primary fuel of the colonocytes; and insoluble fiber by diluting out any toxins associated with allergens that are exposed to the intestinal lining. In addition, it holds water and bulks the stools to promote better and quicker elimination, thus reducing the time of exposure to allergens.
The essential omega-3 and omega-6 oils in the right ratio promote immune balance in the gut lining and gut-associated immune system. Most people consume too many omega-6 oils and too few anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils. Omega-3 supplements can help reverse this imbalance. Digestive enzymes help by effectively breaking down proteins, fats, and carbs into less-antigenic food particles so that the intestinal (epithelial) lining does not react in an allergic, immunologic manner.
HOPE should be a foundational health concept to help eliminate and/or prevent food allergies, especially when combined with avoidance of known allergenic foods and a rotation diet that avoids repetition of any given sensitive food for at least 3 to 4 days before eating it again.
- Gupta RS, et al., “The prevalence, severity, and distribution of childhood food allergy in the United States.” Pediatrics. 2011 Jun 20. [Epub ahead of print]
- Wasmuth HE and Kolb H, “Cow’s milk and immune-mediated diabetes.” Proc Nutr Soc. 2000 Nov;59(4):573-9.
- Hvatum M, et al., “The gut-joint axis: cross reactive food antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis.” Gut. 2006 Sep;55(9):1240-7.
- Abenavoli M, et al., “Celiac disease and skin: psoriasis association.” World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Apr 14;13(14):2138-9.
- Curtis LT and Patel K, “Nutritional and environmental approaches to preventing and treating autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a review.” J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Jan-Feb;14(1):79-85.
- Savilahti E, et al., “Pre and probiotics in the prevention and treatment of food allergy.” Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Jun;8(3):243-8.