• 20 MAY 16
    • 0

    Allergies, Body and Brain Health

    shutterstock_333610796We are what we eat.  We all know that saying.  But did you know food allergies might be affecting more than just your gut? It can also affect our skin, our energy, our joints, our memory- even our mental health1.

    Studies have shown that food allergies trigger a chronic inflammatory cascade within the body1.  In a lot of patients with pre-existing conditions, food allergy treatment has been shown to have hugely far-reaching health benefits1.  In healthy populations, it has been shown to improve concentration, sleep and memory and decrease the risk of hypertension, diabetes mellitus type 2, atherosclerosis and depression1.

    Are you one of the many Australians who suffer from food allergies? Or do you simply wish to know more about how proper nutrition can maximise your health? If so, call our practice now on 03 9095 7990 to arrange an appointment.

    The inflammatory process is the body’s attempt to remove a toxic stimulus and begin repairing the damage.  It may be extremely obvious, such as the swelling in a knee joint following a bad fall or infection, or it may be more discrete.  It operates as a cascade effect, with the release of certain chemicals triggering further release of other chemicals in a domino-like reaction.  It is a multifaceted response with multiple types of cells and organs involved.

    However, inflammation isn’t always necessarily a good thing.  If you’ve ever rolled an ankle, you know how painful it can be.  Part of the pain is because the inflammatory process is too ramped up.  There is so much local inflammation that it begins to further irritate the surrounding structures.  For this reason, a lot of clinicians recommend icing within the first 48 hours to help keep the inflammatory process under control2.

    Inflammation also becomes harmful when it becomes chronic. Low levels of chronic inflammation have been associated with a range of conditions; including diabetes mellitus type II, migraine, arthritis, eczema and even Alzheimer’s disease1.  Studies have shown that chronic inflammation not only exacerbates symptoms in current Alzheimer’s patients, but is also a factor in triggering its onset1.

    But how does food allergies cause inflammation? Although the exact mechanism remains unclear, scientists believe that in people with food intolerances, eating certain trigger foods sets off an inflammatory reaction throughout the body as it tries to deal with the offending meal3.  This inflammation will not only give you a sore tummy, it may also affect your brain health, skin, joints and even sexual appetite! In one study, of coeliac who continued eating gluten, imaging showed that 73% decreased the blood supply to their brain1.  What was really fascinating, however, was that when coeliac cut gluten out of their diet, only 7% suffered from a lack of brain blood supply1.

    In a lot of cases, diagnosing food intolerance is essentially trial and error. Restrictive diets are prescribed to eliminate various food groups from the diet, and then the patient is re-assessed for any symptoms. Because of the lack of reliability involved with this kind of testing, the proportion of the population who may suffer from food intolerances remains unknown. A large majority do report sensitivity to certain foods, most commonly gluten (breads, pastas and cereals) and dairy4.  If you believe you may suffer from food intolerance, it is worth seeing your health practitioner about getting it tested for.

    To find out more about food intolerances and its effects on brain and body health, call our practice now on 03 9095 7990 to arrange an appointment.

     

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