Food allergies and food intolerances are one of the most common gut related problems. Food allergies tend to be quick reactions that cause rashes, swelling and can be dangerous. Food intolerances are more subtle; they tend to cause low level inflammation that can cause fatigue, bloating, brain fog, hypothyroid and a myriad of other problems. For simplicity I may occasionally be using these two terms interchangeably. When someone has a food intolerance or food allergy reaction a few things occur.
Essentially your body does not like the particular food being ingested; gluten is the most well studied in this regard, but it applies similarly for all food allergies or intolerances. The body perceives a food allergen/intolerant almost like a foreign invader (bacteria, parasite or virus) and sends the immune system to attack. One of the weapons used by the immune system is inflammation. Think of it like this, your immune cells have little guns that shoot damaging inflammation at enemies to kill them. This is how certain anti-inflammatory agents are used to treat autoimmunity; because if you overly suppress inflammation, you suppress the immune system.
The challenge here is most pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs end up causing more damage than they do good, making using them in the long term not an option. Remember back to our section on autoimmunity? We discussed how autoimmunity (in this case Hashimoto’s) can be caused by over stimulation of the immune system. Well this inflammatory-immune response in the intestines that occurs when you eat foods you are allergic to is just that, a stimulator of the immune system. So said another way, when you eat food you are allergic to you cause an immune reaction.
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