Dealing with Food Sensitivities

By Cat, Sept 25, 2019

I’ve had gut issues most of my life; constipation being the most bothersome. I’ve never been diagnosed with a food allergy, but what is a food sensitivity?

  • According to Healthline (3): “The difference between a food allergy and sensitivity is the body’s response. When you have a food allergy, your immune system causes the reaction. If you have a food sensitivity or intolerance, the reaction is triggered by the digestive system.”
  • From Dr. Jockers (2): It “is an inflammatory reaction that can occur on a systemic level over time without you knowing it. Left unaddressed, it can eventually develop into an outright allergy due to leaky gut and possibly even auto-immunity.

Another way to explain the difference:

  • True allergies are mediated by IgE (Immunoglobulin-E) regulatory protein in the immune system;
  • Sensitivities are mediated by IgG (Immunoglobulin-G) regulatory protein in the immune system. (2a)

Upon advice from my naturopath, I began seeing an NAET practitioner (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (1). WOW! This really works! He has cleared many of my sensitivities, at least 60 over the last 10 years. There are a few he cannot clear, but for some, after avoiding them for 12 months, then slowly re-introducing them to my diet, they no longer affect me negatively.

Food Sensitivities: NAET Treatment

For me, it all started when I had symptoms of a heart attack in December 2011. I went to the emergency room even though my symptoms went away overnight, and I was back to normal for me. My EKG was normal, but a blood test for a specific enzyme was positive, so I spent Christmas weekend in the hospital, where they did two main tests, both of which were negative, indicating I did not actually have a heart attack (but it remains on my health record, forever):

  • Angiogram found no blockages, no plaque, no clots;
  • Ultrasound found no damage to my heart muscle.

What then caused the symptoms? My cardiologist said the most likely cause of the was spasms in my cardiac arteries, causing a temporary blockage. This would explain why no heart muscle was damaged (the blockage was temporary), and also why I had no signs of coronary artery disease (CAD).

From researching on the internet, I learned that insufficient magnesium is behind the spasms. This made sense because I’d recently reduced the amount of supplemental magnesium chloride (MgCl2) I’d been taking for 10+ years (to help with constipation). Ever since the 1970s, when I’m not getting enough magnesium, I get a ‘fluttering’ under my breast bone. I thought it was palpitations, but tests for that always came back negative, so the docs all said it was “all in my head.”

Ah ha! Now I know the fluttering was arterial spasms, and I can use that as a guide as to whether I’m taking enough magnesium for my heart.

So after the heart attack, I returned to my higher dose of mag chloride. Unfortunately, the soft/liquid stools returned, and I also started noticing inflammation in my colon when stool was passing through the turns of my colon (splenic flexure between transverse & descending colon, and the turn between the descending and sigmoid colon). I started more frequent warm-water or salt & soda enemas, and added echinacea/goldenseal to my regimen, 2 days a week. But the problem persisted.  What could be behind all this inflammation?

NAET to the rescue! Turns out I have a severe food sensitivity to nutritional yeast, that I’d been taking daily. As I continued to do research on this, I learned that the yeast produces MSG (mono-sodium glutamate) which is not destroyed when bakers’ yeast is killed before selling as nutritional yeast. MSG is in almost all processed foods, including protein powders (as a result of high-heat treatment to dehydrate the protein). That explained a lot for me, because I’d been having trouble overtime I ate a processed food such as breakfast cereal or processed meats. I stopped taking the nutritional yeast and my gut health began to improve.

Meanwhile, NAET testing and treatment had uncovered many other health issues and food sensitivities. Another big sensitivity for me is foods and supplements containing sulfur (such as alpha lipoic acid or ALA, and n-acetyl cysteine or NAC supplements, and foods in the onion family).  He cleared the sensitivity to onion family after one treatment, but the supplements continued to be an issue for years, until 2017 when I started taking a low-dose ALA in the NOW supplement “Alpha-Sorb C”, and then changed to Mercola’s Whole Food Multi which contains a low dose of NAC.

Over the years, I’ve developed new food sensitivities as soon as old ones are cleared. At one point, I developed a sensitivity to my MgCl2 that took months to clear (after replacing part of my oral dosage with rubbing MgCl2-oil on my skin).

NAET, alone, has not been able to clear all of my food sensitivities. For some, I’ve had to give them up entirely. For others, I give them up for up to 12 months and then slowly reintroduce them to my diet so my gut recognizes them as safe.

Food Sensitivities: 7 Ways to Reduce Them

The following are my notes from Dr. Jockers article (2a)

Common symptoms (another quote):

    • Moodiness
    • Brain Fog (2b)
    • Food Cravings
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue
    • Heart Burn
    • Joint Pain
    • Gas/Bloating
    • Acne or Eczema
    • Autoimmunity

The 7 Ways:

  1. Follow An Elimination Diet: This diet involves removing common reactive foods from the diet for a period of time; then slowly reintroduce these foods one at a time to identify which ones you are specifically reactive to.
  2. Strengthen Stomach Acid Production: Take a stomach acid support supplement, [such as betaine HCL), and apple cider vinegar (ACV). For ACV: start by taking 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV) daily (or its supplement equivalence) daily for awhile, then increase to 2 Tbsp daily]. Dr. Jockers lists 10 other ways to support stomach acid with foods:
    1. Use liquid nutrition throughout the day
    2. Use ginger
    3. Super-hydrate outside of meal times
    4. Drink very little with meat-containing meals
    5. Hold off on water after a meal
    6. Use lemon and apple cider vinegar
    7. eat protein foods at the beginning of the meal
    8. Use fermented veggies
    9. Use fermented drinks
    10. Eat your largest meal when you are most relaxed
  3. Digestive Enzymes: [He lists his own supplements, but there are many good ones out there; be sure they include betaine HCL.]
  4. Improve Immune Tolerance with foods; first, reduce inflammatory foods (especially processed foods] in your diet, and add foods that improve the immune system by fighting inflammation. For the latter, he recommends adding the following to your diet: Quercetin, Curcumin, Zinc Glycinate, L-Glutamine, Ginger, and Pea Protein. [I have a food sensitivity to commercial protein powders including pea protein due to MSG – that’s one that cannot be cleared for me. Also note that it’s important to have the proper balance of zinc and copper in your diet.].
  5. Gut-Healing Support Supplements: “Colostrum is powerful immune support for the gut. Colostrum (2c) is a compound found in high concentrations in mother’s milk of most mammals. It contains important immunoglobulins that act to balance gut flora, reduce GI inflammation, and aid in healing the gut lining.
  6. Take Gentle Antimicrobials: This includes things like: garlic, onions, fermented foods, Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary), lemon & lime juices, and apple cider vinegar. Essential oils such as oregano can also be very powerful for this.” [I also cycle mugwort tea with S. boulardi supplement to keep my candida overgrowth under control; also berberine supplement (or herbal forms: Oregon grape, barberry) – berberine in these herbs is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. But it’s important to take a break or your body will no longer respond to them – I do 7-days on and 7-days off. High-fiber foods are also important, as they feed the good bugs in your gut so they can go after the bad bugs.]
  7. Take Specific Probiotics:
    1. The presence of specific strains of bacteria in the gut such as: Lactobacilli, Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus coagulans, and L. acidophilus have all shown to play some role in reducing food sensitivities and restoring a healthy microbial environment in the gut [(3a), (3b)]*.
    2. At the same time, probiotics have been shown to help restore the integrity of the gut lining which is also an important step for reducing sensitivity.” [(3c)]*   He recommends spore-based probiotics (SBOs), and also Lactobacilli, Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus coagulans, and L. acidophilus have all shown to play some role in reducing food sensitivities and restoring a healthy microbial environment in the gut (5, 6) [Personally, I think it is better to feed your good bugs with a good pre-biotic, and slowly introduce specific probiotics at the same time. I’m currently taking Mercola’s Spore Restore].

[Cat’s notes:

Other supplements I take to help my gut and food sensitivities:

  • Fulvic/Humic acid supplement; the current one is Nutricology Humic-Monolaurin (iHerb code: ARG-56720);
  • S. boulardi (a type of yeast that goes after candida yeast overgrowth and also parasites) (iHerb code: LKN-01421 or JRW-03004).

Other things to do: avoid all grains (not just wheat) unless they have been sprouted or fermented. These processes help with food sensitivities by breaking down the toxic lectins and gluten that are problematic.]

References

  1. NAET
    1. home page (naet.com)
    2. What is NAET? (naet.com/about/what-is-naet/
  2. Dr Jockers:
    1. 7 Ways to Reduce Food Sensitivities (drjockers.com/7-ways-reduce-food-sensitivities/)
    2. drjockers.com/6-ways-colostrum-boosts-immunity/
    3. drjockers.com/12-strategies-blast-brain-fog/
  3. Dr Jockers’ references (Scientific studies); numbers in parenthesis are his reference numbers:
    1. (5) Effects of Probiotic Supplementation in Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Patients: jscimedcentral.com/Nutrition/nutrition-3-1073.pdf (link is slow to open; you ca also try searching: Hum Nutr Food Sci 3(5): 1073; article is by Fosca A, Polsinelli L, Aquilio E, published in 2015
    2. (6) Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26604335
    3. (7) Protection and Restitution of Gut Barrier by Probiotics: Nutritional and Clinical Implications: (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3864899/)

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