Gluten and Other Food Intolerance

For some people, bread is hardly the staff of life. Eating bread can cause bloating, fatigue, constipation, headaches and other symptoms. Some people can eat white bread, but not whole wheat. Others can eat pasta, but not bread. Still others cannot eat any wheat products at all.


People who cannot tolerate wheat fiber often have delicate stomachs or delicate intestinal linings. These people can tolerate white flour (without bran), but not whole wheat products. They may also have difficulty tolerating raw vegetables and other fiber-rich foods. Another group of wheat-sensitive people are intolerant to gluten. This is a protein contained in wheat. Those with gluten sensitivity cannot tolerate any wheat products, or for that matter oat or rye products either.


Some people have a sensitivity to the yeast used to make bread. These people can eat crackers, pasta or perhaps sour dough bread. They react, however, to bread products containing yeast used to make the dough rise.


Causes for Food Intolerance

All the causes for food sensitivities are not known. Some cases are due to diseases such as sprue, in which the intestinal lining is damaged. This condition is usually present from birth or early childhood. Many food sensitivities, however, develop later than childhood. Reasons they occur may include:


  • Particular nutrients in a food, such as copper in wheat, can cause a reaction. The offending nutrient moves the person's body chemistry further out of balance, causing unpleasant symptoms.
  • Poor digestion allows large peptides to pass into the blood incompletely digested. Poor digestion can have many causes, including deficiency of digestive enzymes, mineral deficiencies, toxic metal poisoning, anxiety states and yeast infection.
  • Reactions can be caused by the cooking or processing of a food, such as pasteurization of milk.
  • Chemical additives such as stabilizers or preservatives can cause reactions in sensitive individuals.
  • 'Leaky gut' syndrome or excessive permeability of the intestines allows polypeptides to pass into the blood.
  • Pesticides sprayed on wheat can cause an immediate toxic reaction. Alternatively, long-term consumption of small amounts of pesticide on wheat products may cause the development of antibodies that initiate a sensitivity.

Detecting Food Intolerance

Many people are well aware of their sensitivity to certain foods. We encourage clients to experiment if they feel a certain food is causing problems for them. Eliminate that food completely for a week, and then reintroduce the food. Other methods for detection of food intolerance include skin testing and blood (cytotoxic) testing.


A hair analysis may give clues to food intolerance. For example, slow oxidizers with very high calcium levels often do not feel well on milk and milk products. Fatty foods may also cause difficulty. However, the hair test is not primarily a food allergy test.


Correcting Food Intolerance

Many patients report improved food tolerance after following a scientific nutrition program for several months. A general principle is that food sensitivities diminish when health improves. Enhancing energy production by correcting nutritional imbalances can allow the body to heal a 'leaky gut' and other causes of food intolerance. Balancing the oxidation rate can increase the body's tolerance for foods containing copper, iron, fat or other food components that may cause reactions.


Other corrective measures include removing toxic metals. Toxic metals interfere with normal digestion and assimilation. Toxic metals also impair liver activity, which may lead to food intolerance. Copper toxicity is particularly associated with food intolerance. Perhaps this is due to copper's effect upon the liver. Copper imbalance also favors candida albicans infection and alteration of the normal bowel flora.


Digestive enzymes assist the proper breakdown of food into its component parts and can reduce food reactions. At times, several different digestive aids may have to be used. Also, the dosage of the digestive aid may have to be increased in severe cases.


Overgrowth of candida albicans in the intestines can increase food intolerance by irritating the gut. This occurs mainly in slow oxidizers, who tend to be excessively alkaline and copper toxic. The hair analysis program will eventually help correct candida infection. However, to control yeast rapidly, products such as acidophilus and caprylic acid may be very helpful.


Adequate fiber in the diet may improve food tolerance. Perhaps this occurs because the fiber absorbs toxic substances in foods. More fiber also decreases bowel transit time. This prevents prolonged contact between the intestinal lining and irritating substances found in certain foods.


Healthful eating habits such as thorough chewing, eating slowly and avoiding overeating, can diminish food intolerance. Thorough chewing allows the partial digestion of starches while the food is still in the mouth. Chewing also breaks the food down mechanically in the mouth. This eases the job of digestion in the stomach and intestines and helps assure excellent digestion.


Overeating can overwhelm the stomach and intestines with more food than can be digested properly. Combining certain foods at a meal, such as fruit with starch, or heavy protein with heavy starch, may also overtax the digestive system.


Many people with food intolerance report that when they are relaxed at meals, they can tolerate more foods. Emotions such as fear and anxiety stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and reduce digestive efficiency.


In summary, a combination of healthful eating habits and a scientifically designed nutrition program helps correct many cases of food intolerance.



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