At our Integrative Psychiatry practice we started noticing that a lot of our patients suffering with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks also had digestive issues.
Researchers have identified a link between stress, inflammation and disease. Those suffering from major depression were found to have an increased inflammatory response. Researchers have found increased levels of a pro-inflammatory cytokine (a regulatory protein secreted by the immune system) called interleukin-6, and increased activity of a pro-inflammatory signaling molecule in white blood cells called nuclear factor-kB in individuals under stress
The greatest source of inflammation can come from your diet. Snack and "comfort" foods produce an acidic environment.
Acidity = Inflammation
High Cortisol and the development of Food Allergies
When we are under physical, emotional, or environmental stress it triggers cortisol, a stress hormone to be released. Cortisol raises blood sugar which feeds bad gut bacteria, yeast and other pathogens causing an overgrowth. When the intestinal flora gets out of balance it causes symptoms of gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion.
Chronic stress also interferes with digestion by reducing the body's ability to produce an adequate supply of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. This greatly impairs food breakdown and results in undigested food particles.
Excessive or prolonged exposure to cortisol can lead to a weakening and erosion of the intestinal lining. This weakened intestinal barrier or "leaky gut" allows undigested food particles to cross from the intestines into general circulation. The body sees these food particles as foreign invaders and alerts the immune system to attack. These reactions can range from mild to life threatening.
Continuing to eat foods that you are allergic to further weakens your immune system, and causes it to become overreact. Your immune system loses the ability to distinguish friend from enemy leaving the individual susceptible to self attack or auto-immune disorders.
A Food allergy is an abnormal immune reaction to food. This involves the production of special protein antibodies to foods called IgE (immunoglobulin E). One side of the IgE antibody will recognize and bind to the allergic food. The other side of the antibody is attached to a specialized immune cell packed with histamine, called a Mast cell. Called to alert, the IgE antibody now only has to wait for re-exposure to food allergens.
This is referred to as Type I food allergies and occur most commonly in children but happen in adults as well. These antibodies can be measured in the blood and this forms the basis of an IgE food allergy test.
There are eight foods that account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions.
The most common food allergies are:
Symptoms of an IgE Food Allergy
An anaphylactic reaction can occur after eating the offending food and may begin with a tingling sensation, itching, or a metallic taste in the mouth. Other symptoms can include hives, a sensation of warmth, wheezing or other difficulty breathing, coughing, swelling of the mouth and throat area, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, a drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. These symptoms may begin within several minutes to two hours after exposure to the allergen, but life-threatening reactions may get worse over a period of several hours.
IgG or delayed food allergies
Over 60% of Americans needlessly suffer from some form of delayed food allergies which are causing chronic health problems. IgG antibodies are associated with non-atopic or "delayed" food reactions that can worsen or contribute to many different health problems and are considered the most common form of immunologically mediated food intolerance. The evidence for IgG antibody reactions as a basis for delayed food allergy or food intolerances continues to grow, including well designed randomized controlled trials, however, some health professionals just haven't kept up to date.
IgG reactions are more difficult to notice since they can occur hours or even days after eating an offending food. In some cases, a person may eat a food for several days before developing a reaction to it, so they may not realize the link between the food and their symptoms. These "hidden" food allergies are caused by increasing blood levels of IgG antibodies in reaction to specific foods. Often the offenders are frequently eaten foods that are hard to avoid, such as milk, corn, and wheat. High levels of many IgG food-specific antibodies are generally related to weakened intestinal permeability.
Food sensitivities can occur at any age, causing many different symptoms and contributing to a variety of health problems, including:
Food Allergy and Food Sensitivity Testing
Food Allergy Prevention and Treatment
Have a food allergy test and avoid reactive foods.
Exercising to relax such as walking, yoga, deep breathing, meditation, and stretching. Get 8 hours of sleep per night.
Test for and Treat Leaky Gut
Leaky Gut Syndrome is associated with increased intestinal permeability. Many diseases triggered by food allergy or specific food intolerance, including irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease, urticaria, AIDS, chronic fatigue syndromes, chronic hepatitis chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis and pancreatic carcinoma, are also associated with this syndrome.
Hyperpermeability is thought to be a contributing factor in each of these diseases, or a consequence of them. The resulting immune activation, hepatic dysfunction, and pancreatic insufficiency sets up a vicious cycle. Leaky Gut/Intestinal Permeability is often overlooked.
DISEASES ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY
SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY
What causes Leaky Gut?
How do I know if I have it?
Take a Intestinal Permeability Test These tests will check for intestinal leaking. It is a simple urine test you collect at home and send to the lab.