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HOLISTIC HEALTH - July 2016 - Kansas City
Is What You're Eating Making You Sick?
By Nancy Russell, M.D.
“I used to have a chronic runny nose, coughing, headaches, burning eyes and fatigue. Thinking it was allergies to something like dust or grass or trees, I just took Benadryl, but didn’t get much relief. Then a holistic physician did a blood test on me and found out I had food sensitivities. Avoiding dairy, sugar and wheat has changed my life; I rarely have symptoms unless I eat these foods more that just occasionally.”
This is a typical story of a person with food sensitivities and may be the tip of the iceberg of other internal problems with the digestion system. These intestinal abnormalities can affect many systems of the body. The intestinal defense system is continuously under attack from chronic stressors including: emotional issues, stress, infections (bacterial, viral, yeast), toxins (exogenous, endogenous), lifestyle, poor diet and medications. Immune responses by the body to these stressors can cause a breakdown of the intestinal lining or leaky gut. This leaky gut is also known as intestinal barrier distress and causes an ongoing cycle of inflammation. This inflammation up-regulates the inflammatory cytokines which affects the nervous system, immune and endocrine systems. This up-regulation can lead to the food sensitivities, fatigue, lethargy, malaise, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, asthma, arthritis and many other potential problems.
There is testing available to assess the intestinal barrier lining, food sensitivities, dysbiosis (intestinal imbalances) and neurotransmitters. To find the many pieces of the puzzle, food sensitivity testing with intestinal barrier assessment may be the place to start. Food sensitivities are different from food allergies.
Typical food allergies cause an immediate response, such as hives, swelling of the throat and lungs with serious shortness of breath and even lead to a life threatening situation. These food allergies are caused by the response of the immune system cells called immunoglobulin E (IgE) and need immediate medical attention and treatment. These are the type of allergies that conventional allergy physicians diagnose with skin testing and treat by strict avoidance long term.
Food sensitivities, also known as food intolerances are very different and caused by the response of the immune system cells called immunoglobulin G (IgG) and have a more delayed response, the reaction can be varied from a few minutes or as long as 24 to 36 hours. The testing for IgG responses is done by alternative laboratories with blood samples and not usually recognized by conventional allergy physicians. These delayed reactions can manifest symptoms as mentioned above and many more. A few more symptoms include: gas and bloating, joint pain, ear infections, attention deficit disorder, memory loss, mental fogginess, bed wetting, migraines, bladder infections, fluid retention, canker sores, nausea, eczema and psoriasis.
Blood and fecal testing helps identify the degree and type of dysbiosis, quantifies IgG food sensitivities and effectively guides treatment options. Food elimination nutritional programs based on this testing can reduce symptoms and increase positive outcomes in people by more than 25% over people utilizing elimination diets alone. Food sensitivity testing is a good place to start in a comprehensive health evaluation with holistic principles as a guide. I invite you to start on your path to optimal health.
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Nancy Russell, M.D. has been a holistic Internal Medicine physician in the Kansas City northland for over 30 years at 5140 N. Antioch Road in Kansas City, MO.
Her phone number is 816-453-5545 and website is www.nancyrussellmd.com where you can get more information. Dr. Russell is board certified in holistic medicine and is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a prior board member.