PHOENIX - Let's talk food allergies and food intolerances for a minute. According the book "Toxic Food Syndrome" by Jeffery Zavik, 95 out of 100 people have a food intolerance and don't even realize it.
We're so used identifying a food allergy as some horrifying reaction to food, like the scene in "Mrs. Doubtfire" when Robin Williams' character adds pepper to Stewart's dish at the restaurant and he falls off his chair and nearly dies. But we don't often connect the way our stomachs feel or the fact that our skin is ichy to the food we ate. Easy to do when the reaction isn't often immediate.
Dr. Cheryl Deroin, a doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, with Scottsdale Natural Medicine and Healing Clinic, says you could still have a reaction, but not as quickly as you think.
"You absolutely can have a delayed reaction... sometime not feeling the symptoms of a food intolerance for two, even three days," she says.
We sat down with Dr. Deroin to find out more about "Toxic Food Syndrome" and food intolerances.
SF: What is "Toxic Food Syndrome" and how common is it?
Dr. Deroin: It is the body's response or specifically the digestive tract's response to certain foods that
irritate the gut mucosa and cause an activation of the immune system which creates inflammation. Continual ingestion of an irritating food or toxin can create chronic inflammation leading to disease.
SF: So people can be allergic to foods and not know it? What are the symptoms?
Dr. Deroin: Symptoms can include, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, food cravings, fatigue, hyperactivity, mood swings, anxiety, depression, etc…
SF: Tell me about the test you put the blood through.
Dr. Deroin: The Alcat test measures the changes in size and volume of white blood cells in response to challenges with foods.
SF: So what are the the side effects or even long term effects of eating food you are allergic to?
Dr. Deroin: Chronic inflammation which can lead to chronic disease. An inflammatory response can look like migraines, body aches, rashes, and even obesity.
SF: Are there treatments now for food allergies?
Dr. Deroin: The naturopathic approach to food allergies is to eliminate the offending foods for a period of time @ 6-8 weeks. The rotate the foods in every 3 days and watch for symptoms. Some individuals may have to eliminate certain foods all of the time if there is a severe reaction and may only be able to eat it 1-2 x per month. Besides eliminating the offending food the digestive tract can also be treated with botanicals, and nutraceuticals to reduce the inflammation, heal the gut mucosa and improve the immune system of the gut.
SF: How could eating a certain food affect your emotional state?
Dr. Deroin: Receptor sites for neurotransmitters , such as dopamine and serotonin are located in a layer of the mucosa of the digestive tract wall. These same receptor sites are also located in the brain. Hence, eating a food that is calming or irritating will stimulate receptor sites throughout the body and send a message to the brain which can create an emotional response. White processed sugar is an example as it creates hyperactivity in many sensitive individuals, esp. children.
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