More and more kids develop severe and multipe food allergies or sensitivities, to “healthy foods” such as nuts. Why? Why does our body turn itself against supposedly nourishing items? Science now agrees that multiple food sensitivities develop around the concept of a “leaky gut.”
Ordinarily the digestive tract will efficiently break down and absorb consumed food as small molecules, which are, in general, not irritating and good items for the body. If, for various reasons not uncommon today (see below), digestion becomes less efficient and the intestinal lining becomes more permeable to large molecules, it allows these larger than normal food pieces to pass into the circulation, where the body doesn’t recognise these normally healthy, but now bigger than normal pieces, and attacks them as if they were a foreign invader— ending in an allergic reaction (which can be strong and directly, or delayed and portraying as fatigue, etc). Removing the foods triggering will help relieve the symptoms for a little while, but eventually, the body will create new sensitivities and allergies, if the underlying cause, the leaky gut, is not fixed. If the body keeps fighting these larger than normal particles, it is under constant immune system and inflammatory stress, ultimately opening the door to many chronic conditions, including auto-immune disorders, and many others.
So ultimately we want to find out why there is a leaky gut. Why has the body decided to open its gut lining, allowing this self-destructive circle, with otherwise healthy products?
There are several reasons that can cause or contribute to a leaky gut.
- Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines (more bad than good gut bacteria)
- Codeine, NSAIDs such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen, PPI, steroids, antibiotics
- Chronic Inflammation:
- Infection: Acute (e.g. viral), chronic (e.g., Yeast, Candida albicans)
- Autoimmunity: zonulin
- Toxins in the environment, direct chemical effect of things like shampoo, dishwashing detergent, , radiation therapy
- As a baby: Prematurity, cesearean birth, as a kid: too “clean”- i.e. not eating dirt as a kid causes an altered gut bacteria and immune system
- Excessive exercise, stress, excessive simple sugar
Depending on the underlying cause, there are different simple, yet very effective ways of treating the food sensitivities, and ultimately getting your loved ones or yourself back to strength, happiness and full growth potential (physically and mentally). More on that in part 2, coming soon.
Source: the Functional Medicine University, the Functional Medicine Institute, Dr. Mark Hyman