A common question I ask my patients is, “Are there any foods that you avoid?” The answers range anywhere from “absolutely not” to a very long list. I ask this question because I find the things you put in your mouth may be affecting all of those symptoms you just described.
Fatigue? Gas and Bloating? Headaches? Constipation? Rashes? Acne? Joint pain? PMS?
Yes – they can all be food related.
As the commercials on television will tell you (and it is true) 70%-80% of your immune system lives right around your intestines. It is a smart maneuver in human design because anything you eat, breathe, swallow, and drink goes right into your gastrointestinal tract. Therefore the cereal you had for breakfast is evaluated just the same as the flu-bug you inhaled while waiting in line for coffee. . . then your immune system has to decide - friend or foe?
Many of us would assume the flu-bug must be destroyed and the cereal can live to see another day, right? Well, what if you put milk in your cereal and you shouldn’t have milk? What if your cereal is made up of wheat flour and you’re sensitive to wheat? What if your cereal also has soy crunchies for extra protein and soy is the enemy?
What if you didn’t know?
There are two main responses that can occur. One is the typical ‘food allergy.’ Most common examples are the people who eat nuts and have an anaphylactic reaction; drinking citrus juice causes their lips to swell up and dairy sends them running for the bathroom. It is an immediate response and governed by an immune antibody called, IgE.
The second type of response is non-IgE-mediated or known as IgG. This is a delayed response and may not produce a symptom for 2 to 48 hours, or even 72 hours. This means if you drink a glass of milk on Monday, you may not notice any symptoms until Tuesday or Wednesday. What if you drink a glass of milk all the time? Then these symptoms could be a problem everyday because you are stringing along your delayed responses.
Remember that not all food related symptoms are intestinal problems. I commonly hear patients report no gas and bloating, no constipation and no diarrhea.