Food Reactions and Hair Analysis

Food sensitivities are important to consider with all clients. In particular, cows' milk dairy products and wheat are often problematic. Hair analysis patterns along with symptoms may help alert the practitioner to the presence of food sensitivities.


Causes of Food Allergies

Stress. Stress is an important cause of food reactions. Stress interferes with the function of the digestive system, allowing partially digested food to pass into the intestines and irritate them. Stress also impairs the immune system, allowing the growth of yeast and possibly other intestinal infections. Stress depletes the adrenal glands, which maintain blood sugar levels and secrete anti-inflammatory hormones.


Poor eating habits. If one eats too fast, eats in the car or standing in front of the refrigerator, food is often not chewed well. Also, sympathetic nervous stimulation turns off the digestive system and digestion suffers.


Enzyme deficiencies such as lactase or hydrochloric acid deficiency contribute to food allergies. This may be due to nutritional imbalances, poor eating habits, stress, diet or anxiety at mealtime.


Leaky gut syndrome refers to excessive permeability of the intestinal tract. This allows partially digested food and other harmful chemicals to be absorbed into the blood stream, resulting in allergic reactions. Causes include nutritional deficiencies, stress and intestinal infections. Eating allergic foods such as wheat and dairy can also cause leaky gut syndrome. Eliminating these foods can allow the intestines to heal.


Natural food constituents that may cause reactions include food proteins, amino acids such as glutamate in MSG and aspartic acid used in artificial sweeteners. Glutamic acid in wheat has an inflammatory effect. Minerals such as copper in soy and chocolate, sugars including barley malt or other sweeteners and many other food components may cause reactions. Toxic metals which are high in tunafish, shellfish and possibly other foods can cause a reaction in sensitive people.


Food additives such as artificial colors, flavors and preservatives may cause reactions. Pesticide residues can also be a potent cause of reactions in some people.


Food processing and refining such as homogenization, pasteurization, milling, grinding, fermentation and many others alter foods and may cause a reaction.


Food varieties may cause reactions, such as today's hybrid grains, modern dairy products and fruits.


Symptoms of Food Allergies

Among the most common symptoms are gas, bloating, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, dark circles under the eyes, edema or swelling, weight gain, ulcers, joint pain, asthma, addictions, behavior problems in children, fatigue, upset stomach, runny nose and skin rashes. Others include red ear lobes, red cheeks, bedwetting, ADHD, ear infections, psoriasis, colitis, headaches, malabsorption and failure to thrive, acne and sore throats.


Common Allergic Foods

Hybrid wheat flour is 33% glutamic acid, an inflammatory amino acid. Wheat, along with other grains, stimulates insulin production which increases inflammation. Wheat and other grains are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. This irritates the intestine, producing leaky gut syndromes that may then cause more food reactions.


Cows' milk dairy products are another common cause of food reactions. Cows today are fed corn, an unnatural food for cows. As a result, the milk and meat are high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. This favors inflammation. Also, corn-fed cows develop intestinal infections that must be treated with antibiotics which find their way into the milk and meat and may cause reactions in sensitive people. Grass-fed beef and dairy or goat products are definitely superior.


Many people are intolerant to gluten, a protein found in wheat, oats, barley and rye. Gluten intolerance causes celiac disease and malabsorption. Other common allergic foods are soy, yeast, corn, eggs and peanuts.


While tofu and tempeh are traditionally prepared soy foods, isolated soy protein found in textured vegetable protein, protein powders, bars and many other foods is a highly processed product more likely to cause reactions. Although it is possible to reintroduce some allergic foods on a rotation basis, wheat and dairy are best to avoid.


Hair Analysis Patterns

Hair analysis patterns that may indicate digestive disturbance include:
  • A phosphorus level less than 13 mg% indicates problems with digestion and/or protein metabolism.
  • Low levels of sodium and potassium, or a low sodium/potassium ratio often indicates a deficiency of hydrochloric acid.
  • Very low mineral levels including a 4-low-electrolyte pattern may indicate malabsorption and perhaps celiac disease.
  • An elevated calcium/magnesium ratio often indicates excessive carbohydrates in the diet, often accompanied by yeast overgrowth and excessive sugar and wheat and other grains in the diet.

Other Considerations


  • Eat natural foods, organically grown whenever possible. Cooked food is easier to digest for those with sensitive digestion.
  • Eat a variety of foods and rotate them. Do not eat the same food two days in a row.
  • Reduce irritants such as coffee, cola drinks and non-essential over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • In some cases, an elimination diet for a week may be helpful. Then introduce more foods one at a time.
  • Be sure to provide a digestive aid.
  • Acidophilus supplements may also be needed for a while.
  • Caprylic acid or another anti-candida product may be helpful.
  • Reduce chemical exposure as much as possible. This means avoid unfiltered tap water, toxic household chemicals, strong perfumes, toxic cosmetic products, pesticide residues and food additives.
  • Get plenty of rest, breathe deeply and exercise regularly.
  • Other food allergy tests are occasionally needed. Tests available include scratch tests, blood tests, applied kinesiology, avoid and challenge tests using elimination diets and the pulse test. All may have their place if food allergies are persistent and difficult to handle.
  • Detoxification procedures such as enemas, colonic irrigation, saunas and others may be helpful for liver and other organ toxicity.
  • Neutralization methods such as NAET and the use of electroacupuncture machines may benefit some people.


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