Intolerances - a food problem?

The incidences of food allergies and intolerances occur more and more among young people and even in children. When I was a teenager (20 years ago), I had more than 15 food intolerances and the culture of "free of": "gluten-free”, “lactose-free”, “nut-free" was not popular yet. In my experience, doctors talked about anaphylactic reactions, but when it came to intolerances, it was more or less mysterious & ambiguous. The only suggestion was to deprive oneself of foods that caused disturbances and try to be content, despite having a body that was frequently reactive to foods lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Today the words intolerances and allergies are quite common; it is rare to meet someone who knows no one with an intolerance or food allergy.

The major questions I will elaborate on in this article are:

  1. What is the difference between an allergy and intolerance?
  2. What are the typical symptoms associated with intolerance?
  3. Why are there so many increases in intolerance today, especially among young people?
  4. What is a hyper-allergenic food and how many are there?
  5. Do we need to live with our intolerances for ever?
  6. What are concrete steps to reduce the occurrences of food intolerances?

So, to begin:

  1. What is the difference between an allergy and intolerance?
  •         An allergy is defined as an adverse reaction after coming into contact with a food that is expressed by the production of an IgE, IgA or IgM antibodies in the immune system, which is detectable in a blood sample.
  •         An intolerance is defined as an adverse reaction after coming into contact with a food that is not expressed by the production of the antibody IgE, IgA or IgM coming from the immune system.

N.B. Symptoms associated with allergic and intolerant level reactions may be similar in nature, and may vary in intensity and range after exposure to the food.

  1. What are the typical symptoms associated with intolerances?
  •         The way in which intolerances are expressed is a reflection of everyone's unique biochemistry, heredity, metabolism, personality, etc.
  •         It should be known that all the symptoms that the body can produce, could be expressed in reaction of intolerance.
  •         Symptoms most associated with reactions included:

o   Neurological - confusion, hyperactivity, irritability, concentration loss, memory loss, dizziness, feeling tired, feelings of indecision, headaches, insomnia, mood swings, temper tantrums, sadness.

o   Musculo-squelletal - arthritis, back pain, painful joints.

o   Circulatory - anemia, chest pain, rapid or slow heartbeat, hypertension, water retention.

o   Respiratory - asthma, nasal discharge, sinusitis, cough, bronchitis.

o   Digestive / Intestinal - abdominal pain, swelling, diarrhea, constipation, colitis, bloating, rages / strong desires, nausea.

o   Skin - acne, tingling, eczema, psoriasis, redness.

o   Endocrine - imbalance in menstruations (excess, loss, inconstant), impotence.

o   Others - multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, otitis, type II diabetes, hypoglycaemia, rings, bed wetting.

Phew! With all these symptoms, how can we really know if we aren’t just sick or if we are expressing an intolerance? This question leads us to our next reflection on the incidence of intolerance today.

  1. Why are there so many increases in intolerance today, especially among young people?
  •         There is no single cause of intolerance, but rather a combination of factors that make the immune system less resilient and the nervous and endocrine system more hostile.
  •         Considering the incidences of intolerance today it is also important to understand that the appearance or detection of a symptom is the expression of an accumulation of stress to the point where our tolerance threshold is exceeded, instead of early irritation of the body. This tolerance level is different for everyone, as the strengths and weaknesses are different for everyone.
  •         All that to say that there are not only the harmful qualities of a food that stimulates a defense reaction of the immune system but the interactions between the food and the tissues of different body systems (digestive, intestinal, respiratory, integumentary - skin, nervous, etc.), which also have their own limits of resilience and tolerance, strengths, and weaknesses.

I will paint you a portrait- our body is always looking for homeostasis - a dynamic and balanced state despite a constantly changing environment. The body continually flooded with mental, emotional, physical, environmental, and often food stress. Each stress requires a metabolism - including digestion, assimilation, and elimination. The quality of each of its processes is determined by the nature of stimuli, the reserves (minerals, vitamins, enzymes, etc.) available to carry out metabolic reactions as well as the health and cleanliness of physiological tissues (inflammation, congested, dehydrated etc.). If, for example, the digestion process is compromised due to lack of hydrochloric acid associated with emotional stress during the meal time, proteins may be left undigested and these particles may irritate the stomach wall, eventually create pockets, and begin to circulate in the blood, which is an abnormal condition. This abnormal state will attract the attention of the immune system which will send lymphocytes and other white cells to monitor this undigested protein. Here is the creation of a first degree of inflammation - subtle and undetectable for our nervous system. Little by little, with each meal, each stress, each undigested emotion, each negative thought not eliminated, the total stress load increases. The body becomes increasingly hostile and the intolerances appear more frequently.

Today, can we say that children and young people are less stressed? Less disturbed by school pressures, less stimulated by technology? Is our food and water toxic than say 10-30 years ago? Is our society more or less burdened with anger, our environment more or less degraded, exploited and abused?

Children are sensitive beings, very sensitive to energy - they do not have adult abilities to filter out what they should interact with. Diet is a stimulus that is very present daily and is often the only source of control for a child. When the body says NO to a stressful life (including the stress of parenting lives), it is often expressed through the mouth, skin, lungs, stomach, and colon.

The real question for me is why are young people and children so hostile to what they consume? Why do they need so much to defend themselves? And where do the sources of those stress and toxins come from?

  1. What is a hyper-allergenic food and how many are there?

A hyper-allergenic food is a food that stimulates adverse reactions in most populations in which they express food intolerances. The lists varies, however, in general they are:

  • Dairy products (cow), eggs, nuts, peanuts (which is a legume), soya, wheat, white sugar, pork, ALL artificial flavors, colors and additives, herbicides and pesticides.

Concerning herbicides and pesticides - any kind of poison is always a poison, often intolerances are against these chemicals and not the food itself.

For your little ones, here is an additional list to consider as soon as you start to introduce solid food - these foods can be difficult for them to digest in the beginning.

  •         Chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, coconut, corn, mango, fish, onions, papaya, legumes, mango, melon, rye, buckwheat, tomatoes, yeast, peas, strawberries.
  1. Do we need to live with our intolerances for ever?
  •         Simply stated - NO. It’s a long subject, and potentially a long road, but the only constant is change, the body adapts and the body can learn how to metabolize its stresses differently. Certainly, everyone is different; age, heredity, as well as other factors influences the level of hostility and therefore, the reactivity of the body.
  1. What are concrete steps to reduce the occurrences of food intolerances?
  •         Eliminate from your diet all processed, refined, sweetened, chemical and non-biological foods.
  •         Get rid of all chemical cleaning and beauty products.
  •         Identify the negative sources of stress in your life and try to neutralize them through your lifestyle and stress management - meditate, dance, breathe, stretch, get massaged ...
  •         Find peace within the constant consumption ... try to regain your peace of the mind, the joy at heart, self-confidence and a balanced body.
  •         More than ever, and especially for children, the right stress management mechanisms are very important to integrate every day - between school and home, before and after meals, before going to bed and after difficult times.

In the beginning, your plan may need to be restrictive, but it is only the beginning. This is a new and different way of thinking about intolerance - rather as an invitation to get to know oneself better, meet in the crisis, act with compassion, listen and hope for a possible return to a balanced life and health.

References

Allergy, Disease in Disguise - Carolee Bateson-Koch DC ND (1994)

Super Baby Food - Ruth Aaron (2013)

En soutien de votre autonomie et santé rayonnante!

Danielle Denichaud RHN, RYT, BA

Consultante en nutrition holistique

Members of the Association of Professional Naturopaths of Quebec (ANPQ) and the Association of Professional Holistic Nutritionists of Canada (CAHN-Pro)

Professional Warning

These recommendations are aimed at improving the level of physical well-being and general health and are not intended to replace any medical diagnoses, treatments or prescriptions or any other controlled or licensed act that could constitute the practice of medicine.

Intolerances - a food problem?

The incidences of food allergies and intolerances occur more and more among young people and even in children. When I was a teenager (20 years ago), I had more than 15 food intolerances and the culture of "free of": "gluten-free”, “lactose-free”, “nut-free" was not popular yet. In my experience, doctors talked about anaphylactic reactions, but when it came to intolerances, it was more or less mysterious & ambiguous. The only suggestion was to deprive oneself of foods that caused disturbances and try to be content, despite having a body that was frequently reactive to foods lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Today the words intolerances and allergies are quite common; it is rare to meet someone who knows no one with an intolerance or food allergy.

The major questions I will elaborate on in this article are:

  1. What is the difference between an allergy and intolerance?
  2. What are the typical symptoms associated with intolerance?
  3. Why are there so many increases in intolerance today, especially among young people?
  4. What is a hyper-allergenic food and how many are there?
  5. Do we need to live with our intolerances for ever?
  6. What are concrete steps to reduce the occurrences of food intolerances?

So, to begin:

  1. What is the difference between an allergy and intolerance?
  •         An allergy is defined as an adverse reaction after coming into contact with a food that is expressed by the production of an IgE, IgA or IgM antibodies in the immune system, which is detectable in a blood sample.
  •         An intolerance is defined as an adverse reaction after coming into contact with a food that is not expressed by the production of the antibody IgE, IgA or IgM coming from the immune system.

N.B. Symptoms associated with allergic and intolerant level reactions may be similar in nature, and may vary in intensity and range after exposure to the food.

  1. What are the typical symptoms associated with intolerances?
  •         The way in which intolerances are expressed is a reflection of everyone's unique biochemistry, heredity, metabolism, personality, etc.
  •         It should be known that all the symptoms that the body can produce, could be expressed in reaction of intolerance.
  •         Symptoms most associated with reactions included:

o   Neurological - confusion, hyperactivity, irritability, concentration loss, memory loss, dizziness, feeling tired, feelings of indecision, headaches, insomnia, mood swings, temper tantrums, sadness.

o   Musculo-squelletal - arthritis, back pain, painful joints.

o   Circulatory - anemia, chest pain, rapid or slow heartbeat, hypertension, water retention.

o   Respiratory - asthma, nasal discharge, sinusitis, cough, bronchitis.

o   Digestive / Intestinal - abdominal pain, swelling, diarrhea, constipation, colitis, bloating, rages / strong desires, nausea.

o   Skin - acne, tingling, eczema, psoriasis, redness.

o   Endocrine - imbalance in menstruations (excess, loss, inconstant), impotence.

o   Others - multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, otitis, type II diabetes, hypoglycaemia, rings, bed wetting.

Phew! With all these symptoms, how can we really know if we aren’t just sick or if we are expressing an intolerance? This question leads us to our next reflection on the incidence of intolerance today.

  1. Why are there so many increases in intolerance today, especially among young people?
  •         There is no single cause of intolerance, but rather a combination of factors that make the immune system less resilient and the nervous and endocrine system more hostile.
  •         Considering the incidences of intolerance today it is also important to understand that the appearance or detection of a symptom is the expression of an accumulation of stress to the point where our tolerance threshold is exceeded, instead of early irritation of the body. This tolerance level is different for everyone, as the strengths and weaknesses are different for everyone.
  •         All that to say that there are not only the harmful qualities of a food that stimulates a defense reaction of the immune system but the interactions between the food and the tissues of different body systems (digestive, intestinal, respiratory, integumentary - skin, nervous, etc.), which also have their own limits of resilience and tolerance, strengths, and weaknesses.

I will paint you a portrait- our body is always looking for homeostasis - a dynamic and balanced state despite a constantly changing environment. The body continually flooded with mental, emotional, physical, environmental, and often food stress. Each stress requires a metabolism - including digestion, assimilation, and elimination. The quality of each of its processes is determined by the nature of stimuli, the reserves (minerals, vitamins, enzymes, etc.) available to carry out metabolic reactions as well as the health and cleanliness of physiological tissues (inflammation, congested, dehydrated etc.). If, for example, the digestion process is compromised due to lack of hydrochloric acid associated with emotional stress during the meal time, proteins may be left undigested and these particles may irritate the stomach wall, eventually create pockets, and begin to circulate in the blood, which is an abnormal condition. This abnormal state will attract the attention of the immune system which will send lymphocytes and other white cells to monitor this undigested protein. Here is the creation of a first degree of inflammation - subtle and undetectable for our nervous system. Little by little, with each meal, each stress, each undigested emotion, each negative thought not eliminated, the total stress load increases. The body becomes increasingly hostile and the intolerances appear more frequently.

Today, can we say that children and young people are less stressed? Less disturbed by school pressures, less stimulated by technology? Is our food and water toxic than say 10-30 years ago? Is our society more or less burdened with anger, our environment more or less degraded, exploited and abused?

Children are sensitive beings, very sensitive to energy - they do not have adult abilities to filter out what they should interact with. Diet is a stimulus that is very present daily and is often the only source of control for a child. When the body says NO to a stressful life (including the stress of parenting lives), it is often expressed through the mouth, skin, lungs, stomach, and colon.

The real question for me is why are young people and children so hostile to what they consume? Why do they need so much to defend themselves? And where do the sources of those stress and toxins come from?

  1. What is a hyper-allergenic food and how many are there?

A hyper-allergenic food is a food that stimulates adverse reactions in most populations in which they express food intolerances. The lists varies, however, in general they are:

  • Dairy products (cow), eggs, nuts, peanuts (which is a legume), soya, wheat, white sugar, pork, ALL artificial flavors, colors and additives, herbicides and pesticides.

Concerning herbicides and pesticides - any kind of poison is always a poison, often intolerances are against these chemicals and not the food itself.

For your little ones, here is an additional list to consider as soon as you start to introduce solid food - these foods can be difficult for them to digest in the beginning.

  •         Chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, coconut, corn, mango, fish, onions, papaya, legumes, mango, melon, rye, buckwheat, tomatoes, yeast, peas, strawberries.
  1. Do we need to live with our intolerances for ever?
  •         Simply stated - NO. It’s a long subject, and potentially a long road, but the only constant is change, the body adapts and the body can learn how to metabolize its stresses differently. Certainly, everyone is different; age, heredity, as well as other factors influences the level of hostility and therefore, the reactivity of the body.
  1. What are concrete steps to reduce the occurrences of food intolerances?
  •         Eliminate from your diet all processed, refined, sweetened, chemical and non-biological foods.
  •         Get rid of all chemical cleaning and beauty products.
  •         Identify the negative sources of stress in your life and try to neutralize them through your lifestyle and stress management - meditate, dance, breathe, stretch, get massaged ...
  •         Find peace within the constant consumption ... try to regain your peace of the mind, the joy at heart, self-confidence and a balanced body.
  •         More than ever, and especially for children, the right stress management mechanisms are very important to integrate every day - between school and home, before and after meals, before going to bed and after difficult times.

In the beginning, your plan may need to be restrictive, but it is only the beginning. This is a new and different way of thinking about intolerance - rather as an invitation to get to know oneself better, meet in the crisis, act with compassion, listen and hope for a possible return to a balanced life and health.

References

Allergy, Disease in Disguise - Carolee Bateson-Koch DC ND (1994)

Super Baby Food - Ruth Aaron (2013)

En soutien de votre autonomie et santé rayonnante!

Danielle Denichaud RHN, RYT, BA

Consultante en nutrition holistique

Members of the Association of Professional Naturopaths of Quebec (ANPQ) and the Association of Professional Holistic Nutritionists of Canada (CAHN-Pro)

Professional Warning

These recommendations are aimed at improving the level of physical well-being and general health and are not intended to replace any medical diagnoses, treatments or prescriptions or any other controlled or licensed act that could constitute the practice of medicine.