By Dr. Mercola

Food allergies are the fifth leading chronic illness in the US – and their incidence is on the rise.1 From 1997 to 2007, food allergies increased 18 percent among children under 18 years,2 and today an estimated one out of every 13 children has a food allergy.3

It’s known that food allergies tend to run in families, which suggests a genetic component. However, other theories for why food allergies are becoming commonplace point to a more complex environmental, as well as lifestyle-related, cause.

Why Are Allergies on the Rise?

One of the primary hidden contributing factors to allergies is the food you eat, and I am not talking about food allergies. If you eat poor-quality foods, especially ones that cause insulin/leptin resistance, you will increase your risk of allergies.

When you’re allergic to a substance, your immune system mistakenly believes it is dangerous and produces immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in an attempt to neutralize it. Chemicals such as histamine released into your bloodstream during this process can lead to a battery of symptoms any time you eat the food (although symptoms may not appear until hours later).

What’s behind this immune system dysfunction is still being explored, although a leading theory is the hygiene hypothesis. A child raised in an environment devoid of dirt and germs, and who is given antibiotics that kill off all of the bacteria in his gut, is not able to build up natural resistance to disease, and becomes vulnerable to illnesses later in life.

This is likely one reason why many allergies and immune system diseases have doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled in the last few decades. Low levels of vitamin D have also been associated with an increased risk of food allergies,4 while some theorize that food additives, genetic modification, hormones, and herbicides added to foods may be triggering some cases.

Genetic engineering, for instance, can increase existing allergens, or produce new, unknown allergens. Both appear to have happened in genetically modified (GM) soy, which is found in the majority of processed foods. At the same time, more children are being born and raised with severely damaged gut flora, which is largely the product of poor diet and antibiotics overuse, leading to Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), as I’ll explain shortly.

Allergies Are Everywhere and Cluster in Groups

New research has revealed that allergies are virtually everywhere in the US, with no region being allergy-free. The study of more than 8,000 people revealed that 45 percent of people aged six and over tested positive for at least one allergen, as did 36 percent of children aged one to five.5

There were some variations by region, such as in large metropolitan areas, where 50 percent of residents were sensitized to at least one allergen, compared to 40 percent in rural areas. In urban areas, outdoor allergens were more common than in rural areas, possibly because respiratory allergies are associated with air pollution.

Also noteworthy was the finding that allergies tended to cluster in groups. People with sensitivities to dust mites were more likely to be sensitive to grass and tree pollen, for instance, while those with peanut sensitivity more likely to also have plant allergies. This might imply that when it comes to allergy treatment, a more holistic approach to treatment is warranted, with the most sensible starting point your gut (where 80 percent of your immune system resides).

Modifying Your Diet May Fight Asthma

Allergies and asthma often occur together, so it’s not surprising that modifying your diet, and thereby your gut health, appears to be an effective treatment for both of these conditions. In a recent animal study, mice fed a high-fiber diet had stronger resistance against asthma-like attacks than mice fed a low-fiber or regular diet.6

In fact, when mice fed a fiber-rich diet were exposed to dust mites, they had less airway inflammation than the low-fiber mice. As reported by Scientific American:7

Seems that fiber supports gut bacteria that produce anti-inflammatory molecules called short chain fatty acids. These molecules then enter the bloodstream, where they can influence the immune system. An over-reactive immune system can play a role in allergies and asthma. But the fatty acids can calm down the immune reaction.”

Separate research also showed that school-aged children who drank raw milk were 41 percent less likely to develop asthma and about 50 percent less likely to develop hay fever than children who drank store-bought (pasteurized) milk.8

The researchers believed that the beneficial effect may have been due to non-denatured whey proteins, including bovine serum albumin (BSA) and alpha-lactalbumin, in the raw milk, which may support immune system health and healthful inflammation levels.

If You Have Allergies, Tend to Your Gut Health

Remember, the quality of and the types of food you eat are related to your allergy risk. One of the ways they mediate that is through your gut bacteria. Your gut bacteria play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract.

They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens. Friendly bacteria even train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately. This important function prevents your immune system from overreacting to non-harmful antigens, which is the genesis of allergies.

However, as mentioned earlier, abnormalities in your immune system are a common outcome of GAPS, as when your gut flora is abnormal, your gut lining is more prone to deteriorate, since it is actively maintained by your gut flora.

Leaky gut is a condition that occurs due to the development of gaps between the cells (enterocytes) that make up the membrane lining your intestinal wall. These tiny gaps allow substances such as undigested food, bacteria, and metabolic wastes that should be confined to your digestive tract to escape into your bloodstream -- hence the term leaky gut syndrome.

Once the integrity of your intestinal lining is compromised, and there is a steady flow of toxic substances "leaking out" into your bloodstream, your body experiences significant increases in inflammation. Besides being associated with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease, leaky gut can also be a contributing factor to allergies. In 2010, researchers similarly concluded that eating a junk food diet increases kids’ risk of allergies:9, 10

“Pediatrician Dr. Paolo Lionetti, of Florence University, and colleagues said children in industrialized countries who eat low-fiber, high-sugar 'Western' diets may reduce microbial richness -- potentially contributing to a rise in allergic and inflammatory diseases in the last half-century.”

For some, the answer to resolving food (and other) allergies is to "heal and seal" your intestines, which the GAPS nutritional program is designed to do. If you have severe food allergies, the GAPS Introduction Diet, which uses fermented foods and other natural strategies, like probiotics, to restore balance to your gut flora, may help heal your food allergy completely.

A comprehensive allergy program needs to address optimizing your diet, intestinal health, and vitamin D levels while avoiding potential triggers. This includes a focus on fermented foods, high-fiber vegetables, and minimal processed foods and sugar. If fermented foods are not a regular part of your diet, a probiotic supplement may be beneficial.

Provocation Neutralization May Offer Permanent Allergy Relief

Remember, improving your diet according to my free Nutrition Plan is your first step for the reasons detailed above. However, even if you have a perfect diet, allergies may persist. If that is the case the best approach to date I have found is provocation neutralization (PN), which is taught by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM). PN can be very effective for allergy relief. I was a member of the AAEM and administered this treatment in my office when I was practicing. PN offers many allergy sufferers permanent relief without adverse side effects. The success rate for this approach is about 80 to 90 percent, and you can receive the treatment at home.

The provocation refers to "provoking a change" and neutralization refers to "neutralizing the reaction caused by provocation." During provocation neutralization, a small amount of allergen is injected under your skin to produce a small bump called a "wheal" on the top layers of your skin, and then it is monitored for a reaction.

If you have a positive reaction, such as fatigue, headache, or a growth in the size of the wheal, then the allergen is neutralized with diluted injections or with drops of the same allergen that go in your mouth. If you want to see some actual videos of provocation neutralization being done, see Dr. Doris Rapp's website, www.DorisRappMD.com. It is important to remember that the PN program is in addition to, not a replacement for, a comprehensive allergy recovery program, such as the GAPS “heal and seal” approach outlined here.



Sources:


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By Dr. Mercola

Food allergies – once a rarity just 40 or 50 years ago – are on the rise. An estimated 15 million Americans have food allergies (including one in every 13 children).1

Peanuts are one of the most common allergenic foods with life-threatening reactions. About one in 50 children are affected (primarily in high-income countries).2 Research shows that peanut allergies among children have tripled from 1997 to 2008.3

For children and their parents, a peanut allergy can be terrifying, leading to constant anxiety about a reaction to even trace amounts of peanuts. Many people think food allergies cause a bit of stomach upset or a skin rash, not realizing that for a growing number of the population, food allergies can be deadly.

So the news that a potential treatment for peanut allergy was deemed a huge success is exciting, to put it mildly – even though it's not quite ready for mainstream use just yet.

Peanut Allergy Treatment Described as Life-Changing

The new study was based on findings from past research, which suggested that exposing children with peanut allergy to very low trace amounts of peanuts may de-sensitize their immune systems, boosting their tolerance to peanuts.

The study involved allergic children aged 7 to 16 years who were given very small doses of peanut protein powder (beginning with a dose equivalent to about one 70th of a peanut). The dose was gradually increased until, six months later, up to 91 percent of the children could tolerate the equivalent of five peanuts in one sitting with no reaction.4

The treatment appears promising, although it's not something that should be tried without proper medical supervision. The children in the study were exposed to peanuts only in a hospital setting, where they could receive prompt medical treatment if a reaction occurred.

It's also not known whether long-term side effects, such as inflammation of the esophagus, could occur due to the repeated peanut exposure (even if a full allergic reaction didn't occur).

Nonetheless, the therapy could one day prove to be a solution for those with severe food allergies. Previous attempts to desensitize people to food allergies often triggered potentially life-threatening reactions. The use of just the protein within the foods appears to offer better results.

In 2009, researchers also found that most children exposed to very low doses of peanut protein powder (in this case starting with one-thousandth of a peanut) become reaction-free after a few years of exposures.

Provocation Neutralization Treatment Is Often Successful for Allergies

The idea of "desensitizing" people to food allergies using a tiny portion of the allergic protein is actually similar to provocation neutralization (PN), which is taught by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) and can be very effective. I was a member of the AAEM and administered this treatment in my office when I was practicing.

PN offers many allergy sufferers permanent relief without adverse side effects. The success rate for this approach is about 80 to 90 percent, and you can receive the treatment at home.

The provocation refers to "provoking a change" and neutralization refers to "neutralizing the reaction caused by provocation." During provocation neutralization, a small amount of allergen is injected under your skin to produce a small bump called a "wheal" on the top layers of your skin, and then it is monitored for a reaction.

If you have a positive reaction, such as fatigue, headache, or a growth in the size of the wheal, then the allergen is neutralized with diluted injections or with drops of the same allergen that go in your mouth.

If you want to see some actual videos of provocation neutralization being done, see Dr. Doris Rapp's website, www.DorisRappMD.com. It is important to remember that the PN program is in addition to, not a replacement for, a comprehensive allergy recovery program.

A comprehensive allergy program needs to address optimizing your diet, intestinal health, and vitamin D levels while avoiding potential triggers. However, PN is a long-term solution that will, in most cases, provide a permanent treatment with virtually no side effects.

Why Are Food Allergies on the Rise?

There is no complete answer for why so many people are developing allergies, although both genetic and environmental factors likely play a role. Low levels of vitamin D, for instance, have been associated with an increased risk of food allergies,5 while some theorize that food additives, genetic modification, hormones, and herbicides added to foods may be triggering some cases.

Genetic engineering, for instance, can increase existing allergens, or produce new, unknown allergens. Both appear to have happened in genetically modified (GM) soy, which is found in the majority of processed foods.

So we've got various foreign substances being added to our food supply, any number of which have the potential to trigger allergic reactions. In addition, more children are being born and raised with severely damaged gut flora, which is largely the product of poor diet and antibiotics overuse, leading to Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS).

Your Gut Connection

Abnormalities in your immune system—such as allergies and autoimmune diseases—are a common outcome of GAPS, as about 85 percent of your immune system is located in your gut. When your gut flora is abnormal, your gut lining begins to deteriorate, since it is actively maintained by your gut flora.

Leaky gut is a condition that occurs due to the development of gaps between the cells (enterocytes) that make up the membrane lining your intestinal wall. These tiny gaps allow substances such as undigested food, bacteria and metabolic wastes that should be confined to your digestive tract to escape into your bloodstream -- hence the term leaky gut syndrome.

Once the integrity of your intestinal lining is compromised, and there is a steady flow of toxic substances "leaking out" into your bloodstream, your body experiences significant increases in inflammation.

Besides being associated with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease, leaky gut can also be a contributing factor to allergies.

For some, the answer to resolving food allergies is to "heal and seal" your intestines, which the GAPS nutritional program is designed to do. If you have severe food allergies, the GAPS Introduction Diet, which uses fermented foods and other natural strategies to restore balance to your gut flora, may help heal your food allergy completely.

Identifying a Food Allergy

The first step to living with a food allergy is determining whether you have one. In some cases, a reaction to a food may be obvious, but oftentimes parents will understandably confuse frequent crying due to allergies with signs of hunger in their babies, leading them to feed more of the allergenic food, such as milk. This causes a vicious cycle of more symptoms and more crying until the real culprit is uncovered. Food allergies can actually result in all sorts of reactions, from headache, sneezing, rashes, to swollen joints. Or they may result in psoriasis, or cause eczema to flare up. Other symptoms may include:

Tingling or itching in your mouth Hives Itching
Eczema Swelling anywhere in your body, especially your lips, face, tongue and throat Wheezing and trouble breathing
Abdominal pain Diarrhea Nausea and vomiting
Fainting and dizziness Anaphylaxis (tightening of airways, swelling in your throat, difficulty breathing) Nasal congestion

 

One of the best things you can do if you believe you are suffering from a food allergy is to do a diet elimination challenge. Simply remove all foods that contain what you believe you are allergic to and see if your symptoms improve over the next several days. You may need to avoid the suspected food for a few weeks in order to evaluate whether it had an effect or not. To confirm the results, you'll want to reintroduce the food or drink (on an empty stomach). If the suspected food is the culprit you will generally be able to feel the allergy symptoms return within a short period of time.

Are You Living with a Food Allergy?

This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.

Avoidance of the allergic foods will be key to preventing potentially deadly reactions. The solution is to drastically reduce your family's reliance on processed food and restaurants, instead choosing whole foods in as close to their natural state as possible, which you prepare at home. This will dramatically reduce the risk of exposure to hidden allergens, while providing superior nutrition at the same time.

You will still need to carefully read labels when you do use processed foods, and be diligent when it comes to eating at a restaurant, school, or a friend's home. You may need to bring your own food from home or ask the restaurant manager ahead of time if an allergen-free meal can be safely created.

Finally, for those who are very allergic, hand washing can be crucial, especially among children who can easily get food allergens on their hands through direct contact with other kids, and then transfer those allergens into their mouth. For more information, view the documentary I'm Not Nuts: Living With Food Allergies above. It sheds some light on this rising issue of food allergies through interviews with families that are directly affected.



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By Dr. Mercola

If you’ve been primarily a reader of the mainstream press, you’ve probably been misled into thinking genetically engineered (GE) crops are the greatest thing since sliced bread, that they provide better yields of equal or better quality food, pest and weed resistance, reduced reliance on pesticides, and more... But thankfully, the truth is unfolding and the tide is finally beginning to turn.

I have long warned against GE crops, pointing out the risks associated with their consumption, and the falsehoods presented about their safety. Now, the mainstream press is finally joining in.

The Fox News report above does a remarkably good job of questioning the logic behind, if not safety of, GE foods and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—from crops with built-in pesticides, to salmon designed to grow abnormally large and fast.

I’m very pleased that Fox News pointed out the fact that potential health hazards cannot be averted simply by avoiding the GE crop in question. Animals raised on GE-grain feed will in turn produce GMO-tainted meat, milk, and eggs, for example, thereby affecting the vast majority of the food supply.

Fox News even reported the disturbing findings from feeding studies showing intestinal damage in animals fed Bt corn, and the potential links to food allergies, antibiotic exposure, and increased exposure to pesticides.

Let’s Get GMO’s Labeled!

Even though Prop 37 in California last November just missed passing, it generated enormous amounts of exposure on this issue, far more than what was spent on the campaign. That exposure will be the catalyst to our eventual victory.

In the past few weeks, Connecticut and Maine have passed GMO-labeling bills, and 20 other states have pending legislation to label genetically engineered foods. So, now is the time to put the pedal to the metal and get labeling across the country—something 64 other countries already have.

I hope you will join us in this effort. In November, Washington State will vote on GMO labeling. Please help us win this key GMO labeling battle and continue to build momentum for GMO labeling in other states by making a donation to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).

If they raise $150,000 by July 27, I will match the donation1.

Donate Today!

Is Monsanto Losing the Press?

Statistics showing skyrocketing increases in pesticide use due to resistance is just one problem that demonstrates the abject failure of GE crops. In a recent Mother Jones article2, Tom Philpott lists some mainstream reporters that have come down hard on Monsanto and their biotech allies in recent weeks, most of them highlighting the growing pest and weed resistance these crops have produced.

For example, NPR’s agriculture reporter Dan Charles recently reported3 on the high increase in pesticide use following the failure of Monsanto’s Bt corn, engineered to contain the bug-killing gene of the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis—which essentially turns the corn plant into a pesticide itself. Ian Berry writing for the Wall Street Journal4 has also reported on the “comeback” of pesticides, as “Mother Nature outwits genetically modified seeds.”

The following graph, from the Food and Water Watch dramatic report titled: Superweeds: How Biotech Crops Bolster the Pesticide Industry5, published earlier this month, illustrates the dramatic increase of pesticide use as resistance began taking hold in the early 2000’s. According to their report, use of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a broadleaf herbicide and the active ingredient in the infamous Agent Orange (another Monsanto disaster), has also more than doubled since 20026.

There are other signs of progress as well. The restaurant chain Chipotle, for example, now lists GE ingredients used in their meals on their web site. This victory was achieved by the blogger and food activist Vani Hari, who has investigated the products sold by a number of major restaurants and food companies, including Chipotle, Starbucks, Subway and Kraft.

Whole Foods has also promised to label GMOs sold in their stores within the next five years. This long lead time is required primarily because of their meat products, which is an enormously long and complex chain to certify. Despite the five-year deadline, this announcement is incredibly encouraging and represents a major sign that all the efforts most of you put into the California Proposition 37 campaign have paid off. We may have lost that battle but this, and other, signs strongly suggest we are winning the war.

Then there’s the GE wheat debacle, which has raised questions about accountability and sparked alarm among Washington traders. When the blame started shifting too heavily onto Monsanto (where it rightly belongs), the company concocted one of the weirdest conspiracy theories out there7. The company basically wants you to believe that some anti-GMO saboteur collected and saved GE wheat seeds from their test plots a decade ago, and then sprinkled them in an Oregon wheat field as an act of sabotage... Yeah, right.

Pest and Weed Resistance Is Flourishing

After years of assurance that genetically engineered crops are the answer to pesky pest problems, corn rootworm is now turning into a nightmare for farmers and biotech companies alike, as the insects are developing resistance to the Bt gene in the crop that is designed to kill them. It didn’t take all that long for the bugs to develop their defenses and render the genetic manipulation useless either—only about 10 years from the introduction of Bt crops.

This is particularly tragic as very simple measures like the incorporation of biochar and the regular application of compost teas are far superior to GMO technology and also increase the soil vitality, rather than decimate it like GM crops do.

Last year, 22 of America’s top experts on corn pests urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action "with a sense of some urgency8.” They also urged seed companies to stop routinely inserting anti-rootworm genes into their corn lines to prevent devastating losses. The economic impact could be huge. Billions of dollars are at stake as Bt-stacked corn varieties account for 71 percent of all corn grown in the US9 as of 2013—up nearly 20 percent from 2012.

“It appears that farmers have gotten part of the message: Biotechnology alone will not solve their rootworm problems,” DanCharles writes. “But instead of shifting away from those corn hybrids, or from corn altogether, many are doubling down on insect-fighting technology, deploying more chemical pesticides than before.

Companies like Syngenta or AMVAC Chemical that sell soil insecticides for use in corn fields are reporting huge increases in sales: 50 or even 100 percent over the past two years... As a result, [the farmers] may just keep growing corn, fighting rootworms with insecticides — and there's a possibility that those chemicals will eventually stop working, too.” [Emphasis mine]

Similarly, the evolution of Bt resistant bollworms—a larvae that attacks cotton plants—has been confirmed and documented10, and what used to be minor pests are now becoming major problems, such as mirid bugs, which have increased 12-fold since 1997 in China, and can be directly linked to the scale of China’s Bt cotton cultivation. Since 1996, when GE crops were first introduced, at least nine species of American weed varieties have also developed resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, which again means farmers using genetically engineered Roundup Ready seeds must use additional herbicides—some of which are even more toxic than Roundup. In the end, we’re left with all of the downsides and none of the intended benefits.

Monsanto’s Long and Checkered Past (and Present)

There are so many incidents of questionable and outright criminal behavior on the part of Monsanto and its various branches and subsidiaries. If you are interested in this issue, I would strongly encourage you to visit the Monsanto Atrocities Page. Just a handful of examples of their checkered past and present include:

  • In 1985, Monsanto bought E.G. Searle, which became a Monsanto subsidiary known as The NutraSweet Company. No long-term studies have been performed to evaluate the physiological effects of aspartame, yet you’re led to believe it is absolutely safe. This deception is both willful and negligent—and perhaps even criminal—and goes all the way back to the time before its highly contested approval.
  • The 1974 FDA task force set up to examine aspartame and G.D.Searle stated that "we have uncovered serious deficiencies in Searle’s operations and practices, which undermine the basis for reliance on Searle's integrity in conducting high quality animal research to accurately determine the toxic potential of its products." The task force report concluded with the recommendation that G.D. Searle should face a Grand Jury "to identify more particularly the nature of the violations, and to identify all those responsible." That never happened, and the aspartame deception continues to this day under the management of Monsanto.

  • In 2002, Monsanto was found guilty of secretly discharging PCB-laden toxic waste into an Alabama creek, and dumping millions of pounds of PCBs into open-pit landfills for decades after PCBs were banned in the US for being a possible carcinogen11.
  • In 2007, the South African Advertising Standards Authority found Monsanto guilty of lying12 when advertising that “no negative reactions to genetically modified food have been reported.” Two years later, Monsanto was again found guilty of false advertising, this time by France's highest court, for claims that Roundup is biodegradable and leaves "the soil clean." They long used the slogans, "It's Safer than Mowing," "Biodegradable," and "Environmentally Friendly" to describe their product—until the real effects of this toxic herbicide were revealed and they were forced to discontinue their deceptive advertising.
  • The French court noted that Roundup's main ingredient, glyphosate, is in fact dangerous for the environment and toxic for aquatic organisms. More recent research also implicates glyphosate—which is used on all genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops—as a major driver of most chronic disease, including cancer and infertility, and most Europeans now have detectable levels in their bodies, indicating excessive exposure through food.

  • Last year, India's National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), a government agency, sued Monsanto and their collaborators, the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company; slapping biopiracy charges against them. In short, the biotech giant did not get prior approval to use locally occurring breeds of eggplant for the purposes of genetic modification, and in so doing violated the country's Biological Diversity Act (BDA), enacted in 2002.
  • The case marks the first time a government has accused Monsanto of biopiracy, and the results could set an important precedent for the future of the food supply.

    Previously, Monsanto has also been found guilty of bribery to bypass Indonesian law requiring an environmental assessment review for its genetically engineered cotton.

  • According to one EPA scientist13, Monsanto doctored studies and covered-up dioxin contamination of a wide range of its products, including the herbicide used in Agent Orange. She concluded that the company’s behavior constituted “a long pattern of fraud.”

Other questionable tactics include hiring fake “pro-GMO” food demonstrators to counteract anti-biotech protesters, revealed as far back as 1999, by the New York Times14. The company has also admitted to hiring the services of Blackwater in 2008 and 200915 for nondisclosed types of intelligence gathering and infiltration “to keep track of “public disclosure” of its opponents16.” And let’s not forget about its extensive history of intimidating and suing small farmers for patent infringement after its GE seeds spread wildly into surrounding farmers’ fields, contaminating their conventional crops. Or how their Bt cotton has spawned a tsunami of suicides among India’s cotton farmers.

You Deserve the Right to Know and Mandatory Labeling of GMOs Is Your Best Chance

Mandatory labeling may be the only way to stop the proliferation of genetically engineered foods in the US. Monsanto and other biotech companies spend huge amounts of money lobbying the US government each year to ensure favorable legislation that allows GE foods to proliferate unchecked and unchallenged. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Monsanto spent $1.4 million on lobbying the federal government -- a drop from a year earlier, when they spent $2.5 million during the same quarter.

Yet these lobbying expenses pale in comparison to the amount Monsanto spent to defeat California’s Prop. 37—more than $8 million, according to RightToKnow.org17. Blowing half a decade’s worth of lobbying funds on one single anti-labeling campaign should tell you just how “willing” they are to let you know which foods contain their wares... Their efforts of persuasion are undoubtedly made infinitely easier by the fact that an ever growing list of former Monsanto employees are now in positions of power within the federal government...





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This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.

By Dr. Mercola

Many people think food allergies cause a bit of stomach upset or a skin rash, not realizing that for a growing number of the population, food allergies can be deadly.

I’m Not Nuts: Living With Food Allergies is a documentary that sheds some light on this rising issue through interviews with families that are directly affected.

While it’s widely accepted that a bee sting can cause anaphylaxis, a type of severe allergic reaction that can be deadly, stings cause about 40 US deaths a year compared to 100 deaths from food. In fact, food is the most common trigger for anaphylaxis.1

When Food Turns Deadly

As Dr. Ben Song of the Allergy & Immunology Associates of Ann Arbor explained in the film, there may be a generational gap that’s causing the seriousness of food allergies to often be downplayed as, quite simply, deadly food allergies were a rarity just 40 or 50 years ago.

Yet today an estimated one out of every 13 children has a food allergy,2 and the incidence is increasing. From 1997 to 2007, food allergies increased 18 percent among children under 18 years,3 and according to UK data, hospitalizations for food allergy increased by 500 percent from 1990 to 2006.4 In the US, about 90,000 people visit the emergency room due to food allergies every year.5

Often, the allergy is to a very commonly eaten food. In the US, the following eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions, though, as Dr. Song explained, other foods, such as sesame seeds and legumes, are becoming more frequent allergens as well.

Peanuts Tree nuts
Fish Shellfish
Soy Wheat
Milk Eggs

Identifying Symptoms is Difficult, Especially in Young Children

Sometimes a food allergy occurs the first time a new food is eaten. Other times you can develop an allergy literally overnight to a food you’ve eaten your entire life. In the featured film, one woman described the swelling and tightness in her throat that suddenly appeared after she ate a tuna sandwich – a food she’d long enjoyed.

Another parent watched her 1-year-old daughter scratch her hands almost to the point of bleeding after giving her a piece of birthday cake, only to later find out she had an egg allergy.

Many parents will understandably confuse frequent crying due to allergies with signs of hunger in their babies, leading them to feed more of the allergenic food, such as milk. This causes a vicious cycle of more symptoms and more crying until the real culprit is uncovered.

When you’re allergic to a substance, your immune system mistakenly believes it is dangerous and produces immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in an attempt to neutralize it. Chemicals such as histamine released into your bloodstream during this process can lead to a battery of symptoms any time you eat the food (although symptoms may not appear until hours later). These include:

Tingling or itching in your mouth Hives Itching
Eczema Swelling anywhere in your body, especially your lips, face, tongue and throat Wheezing and trouble breathing
Abdominal pain Diarrhea Nausea and vomiting
Fainting and dizziness Anaphylaxis (tightening of airways, swelling in your throat, difficulty breathing) Nasal congestion

 

Making matters even more difficult, food allergies can actually result in all sorts of reactions, from headache, to sneezing, to rashes, to swollen joints. Or they may result in psoriasis, or cause eczema to flare up.

What’s Causing So Many Food Allergies?

There is no complete answer for why certain people have allergies, although both genetic and environmental factors likely play a role. Though not discussed in the film, low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of food allergies,6 while some theorize that food additives, genetic modification, hormones and herbicides added to foods may be triggering some cases. Genetic engineering, for instance, can increase existing allergens, or produce new, unknown allergens. Both appear to have happened in genetically modified (GM) soy, which is found in the majority of processed foods. Leading GMO expert Jeffrey Smith explained:

Levels of one known soy allergen, trypsin inhibitor, were up to seven times higher in cooked GM soy compared to cooked non-GM soy. Another study discovered a unique, unexpected protein in GM soy, likely to trigger allergies. In addition, of eight human subjects who had a skin-prick (allergy-type) reaction to GM soy, one did not also react to non-GM soy, suggesting that GM soy is uniquely dangerous.

Documents made public from a lawsuit revealed that FDA scientists were uniformly concerned that GM foods might create hard-to-detect allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. Their urgent requests for required long-term feeding studies fell on deaf ears. The FDA doesn’t require a single safety test.”

So we’ve got various foreign substances being added to our food supply, any number of which have the potential to trigger allergic reactions. At the same time, more children are being born and raised with severely damaged gut flora, which is largely the product of poor diet and antibiotics overuse, leading to Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS).

Gut Flora May Play a Major Role in Food Allergies

Abnormalities in your immune system—such as allergies and autoimmune diseases—are a common outcome of GAPS, as about 85 percent of your immune system is located in your gut. When your gut flora is abnormal, your gut lining begins to deteriorate, since it is actively maintained by your gut flora. The beneficial bacteria in your gut make sure the cells that line your entire digestive tract are healthy, well-fed, and protected from chemical or microbial attacks. But as your gut lining deteriorates, the junctions between the cells open up, causing your gut to become porous, or “leaky.” According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who discovered GAPS:

“It becomes like a sieve, and foods don’t get the chance to be digested properly before they are absorbed. They’re absorbed in this maldigested or partially broken down form. When the immune system and the bloodstream finds them and looks at them, it doesn’t recognize them as food. It says, 'You’re not food. I don’t recognize you,' and it reacts to them. It creates immune complexes, which attack these partially digested proteins. As a result, we’ll get all sorts of symptoms in your body.”

The answer to resolving food allergies, as well as virtually all autoimmune disorders, is to heal and seal your intestines, which the GAPS nutritional program is designed to do. If you have severe food allergies, the GAPS Introduction Diet, which uses fermented foods and other natural strategies to restore balance to your gut flora, may help heal your food allergy completely.

Provocation Neutralization Treatment for Allergies

I highly recommend the GAPS “heal and seal” approach outlined here for resolving food allergies, but another option to consider is Provocation neutralization (PN) allergy testing and treatment, which offers many allergy sufferers permanent relief without adverse side effects. The success rate for this approach is about 80 to 90 percent, and you can receive the treatment at home. I offered this effective treatment for many years in my office.

The provocation refers to "provoking a change" and neutralization refers to "neutralizing the reaction caused by provocation." During provocation-neutralization, a small amount of allergen is injected under your skin to produce a small bump called a "wheal" on the top layers of your skin, and then it is monitored for a reaction. If you have a positive reaction, such as fatigue, headache, or a growth in the size of the wheal, then the allergen is neutralized with diluted injections or with drops that go in your mouth of the same allergen.

If you want to see some actual videos of provocation neutralization being done, see Dr. Doris Rapp's website, www.DorisRappMD.com. It is important to remember that the PN program is in addition to, not a replacement for, a comprehensive allergy recovery program, which should include optimizing your diet, intestinal health and vitamin D levels while avoiding potential triggers.

Avoidance is Key if You’re Living With a Food Allergy

Avoidance of the allergic foods will be key to preventing potentially deadly reactions. As explained in the documentary, simple hand washing can be crucial to this, especially among children who can easily get food allergens on their hands through direct contact with other kids. Label reading is another necessary precaution that anyone with a food allergy must take.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which took effect in January 2006, requires that food manufacturers list any of the top eight food allergens used in their products on the label. However, general terms like “natural flavors” and “spices” can contain hidden allergens, like sesame, forcing those with severe food allergies to devote countless hours calling food manufacturers to find out what’s really in their products.

Eating in restaurants can also be nearly impossible, unless you go to the restaurant ahead of time and ask the manager if an allergen-free meal can be safely created. The solution is to drastically reduce your family’s reliance on processed food and restaurants, instead choosing whole foods in as close to their natural state as possible, which you prepare at home. This will dramatically reduce the risk of exposure to hidden allergens, while providing superior nutrition at the same time.

Support Groups for Those Living With Food Allergies

If you or your child has a food allergy, sharing your experiences and advice with others in the same situation can be invaluable. The Food Allergy Research & Education Web site has a tool to help you find a support group in your area.7 Other support groups mentioned in the film include Circle of Food Allergic Families (COFAF),8 a parent-run support group to support families as they face the daily challenges of managing food allergies.



Sources:


Related Articles:

  The Popular Food that Turns Your Gut into a Pesticide Factory

  Food Allergies Stir a Mother to Action

  Why this Single Organ Powerfully Dictates Whether You're Healthy or Sick

 Comments (31)


This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.

By Dr. Mercola

Many people think food allergies cause a bit of stomach upset or a skin rash, not realizing that for a growing number of the population, food allergies can be deadly.

I’m Not Nuts: Living With Food Allergies is a documentary that sheds some light on this rising issue through interviews with families that are directly affected.

While it’s widely accepted that a bee sting can cause anaphylaxis, a type of severe allergic reaction that can be deadly, stings cause about 40 US deaths a year compared to 100 deaths from food. In fact, food is the most common trigger for anaphylaxis.1

When Food Turns Deadly

As Dr. Ben Song of the Allergy & Immunology Associates of Ann Arbor explained in the film, there may be a generational gap that’s causing the seriousness of food allergies to often be downplayed as, quite simply, deadly food allergies were a rarity just 40 or 50 years ago.

Yet today an estimated one out of every 13 children has a food allergy,2 and the incidence is increasing. From 1997 to 2007, food allergies increased 18 percent among children under 18 years,3 and according to UK data, hospitalizations for food allergy increased by 500 percent from 1990 to 2006.4 In the US, about 90,000 people visit the emergency room due to food allergies every year.5

Often, the allergy is to a very commonly eaten food. In the US, the following eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions, though, as Dr. Song explained, other foods, such as sesame seeds and legumes, are becoming more frequent allergens as well.

Peanuts Tree nuts
Fish Shellfish
Soy Wheat
Milk Eggs

Identifying Symptoms is Difficult, Especially in Young Children

Sometimes a food allergy occurs the first time a new food is eaten. Other times you can develop an allergy literally overnight to a food you’ve eaten your entire life. In the featured film, one woman described the swelling and tightness in her throat that suddenly appeared after she ate a tuna sandwich – a food she’d long enjoyed.

Another parent watched her 1-year-old daughter scratch her hands almost to the point of bleeding after giving her a piece of birthday cake, only to later find out she had an egg allergy.

Many parents will understandably confuse frequent crying due to allergies with signs of hunger in their babies, leading them to feed more of the allergenic food, such as milk. This causes a vicious cycle of more symptoms and more crying until the real culprit is uncovered.

When you’re allergic to a substance, your immune system mistakenly believes it is dangerous and produces immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in an attempt to neutralize it. Chemicals such as histamine released into your bloodstream during this process can lead to a battery of symptoms any time you eat the food (although symptoms may not appear until hours later). These include:

Tingling or itching in your mouth Hives Itching
Eczema Swelling anywhere in your body, especially your lips, face, tongue and throat Wheezing and trouble breathing
Abdominal pain Diarrhea Nausea and vomiting
Fainting and dizziness Anaphylaxis (tightening of airways, swelling in your throat, difficulty breathing) Nasal congestion

 

Making matters even more difficult, food allergies can actually result in all sorts of reactions, from headache, to sneezing, to rashes, to swollen joints. Or they may result in psoriasis, or cause eczema to flare up.

What’s Causing So Many Food Allergies?

There is no complete answer for why certain people have allergies, although both genetic and environmental factors likely play a role. Though not discussed in the film, low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of food allergies,6 while some theorize that food additives, genetic modification, hormones and herbicides added to foods may be triggering some cases. Genetic engineering, for instance, can increase existing allergens, or produce new, unknown allergens. Both appear to have happened in genetically modified (GM) soy, which is found in the majority of processed foods. Leading GMO expert Jeffrey Smith explained:

Levels of one known soy allergen, trypsin inhibitor, were up to seven times higher in cooked GM soy compared to cooked non-GM soy. Another study discovered a unique, unexpected protein in GM soy, likely to trigger allergies. In addition, of eight human subjects who had a skin-prick (allergy-type) reaction to GM soy, one did not also react to non-GM soy, suggesting that GM soy is uniquely dangerous.

Documents made public from a lawsuit revealed that FDA scientists were uniformly concerned that GM foods might create hard-to-detect allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. Their urgent requests for required long-term feeding studies fell on deaf ears. The FDA doesn’t require a single safety test.”

So we’ve got various foreign substances being added to our food supply, any number of which have the potential to trigger allergic reactions. At the same time, more children are being born and raised with severely damaged gut flora, which is largely the product of poor diet and antibiotics overuse, leading to Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS).

Gut Flora May Play a Major Role in Food Allergies

Abnormalities in your immune system—such as allergies and autoimmune diseases—are a common outcome of GAPS, as about 85 percent of your immune system is located in your gut. When your gut flora is abnormal, your gut lining begins to deteriorate, since it is actively maintained by your gut flora. The beneficial bacteria in your gut make sure the cells that line your entire digestive tract are healthy, well-fed, and protected from chemical or microbial attacks. But as your gut lining deteriorates, the junctions between the cells open up, causing your gut to become porous, or “leaky.” According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who discovered GAPS:

“It becomes like a sieve, and foods don’t get the chance to be digested properly before they are absorbed. They’re absorbed in this maldigested or partially broken down form. When the immune system and the bloodstream finds them and looks at them, it doesn’t recognize them as food. It says, 'You’re not food. I don’t recognize you,' and it reacts to them. It creates immune complexes, which attack these partially digested proteins. As a result, we’ll get all sorts of symptoms in your body.”

The answer to resolving food allergies, as well as virtually all autoimmune disorders, is to heal and seal your intestines, which the GAPS nutritional program is designed to do. If you have severe food allergies, the GAPS Introduction Diet, which uses fermented foods and other natural strategies to restore balance to your gut flora, may help heal your food allergy completely.

Provocation Neutralization Treatment for Allergies

I highly recommend the GAPS “heal and seal” approach outlined here for resolving food allergies, but another option to consider is Provocation neutralization (PN) allergy testing and treatment, which offers many allergy sufferers permanent relief without adverse side effects. The success rate for this approach is about 80 to 90 percent, and you can receive the treatment at home. I offered this effective treatment for many years in my office.

The provocation refers to "provoking a change" and neutralization refers to "neutralizing the reaction caused by provocation." During provocation-neutralization, a small amount of allergen is injected under your skin to produce a small bump called a "wheal" on the top layers of your skin, and then it is monitored for a reaction. If you have a positive reaction, such as fatigue, headache, or a growth in the size of the wheal, then the allergen is neutralized with diluted injections or with drops that go in your mouth of the same allergen.

If you want to see some actual videos of provocation neutralization being done, see Dr. Doris Rapp's website, www.DorisRappMD.com. It is important to remember that the PN program is in addition to, not a replacement for, a comprehensive allergy recovery program, which should include optimizing your diet, intestinal health and vitamin D levels while avoiding potential triggers.

Avoidance is Key if You’re Living With a Food Allergy

Avoidance of the allergic foods will be key to preventing potentially deadly reactions. As explained in the documentary, simple hand washing can be crucial to this, especially among children who can easily get food allergens on their hands through direct contact with other kids. Label reading is another necessary precaution that anyone with a food allergy must take.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which took effect in January 2006, requires that food manufacturers list any of the top eight food allergens used in their products on the label. However, general terms like “natural flavors” and “spices” can contain hidden allergens, like sesame, forcing those with severe food allergies to devote countless hours calling food manufacturers to find out what’s really in their products.

Eating in restaurants can also be nearly impossible, unless you go to the restaurant ahead of time and ask the manager if an allergen-free meal can be safely created. The solution is to drastically reduce your family’s reliance on processed food and restaurants, instead choosing whole foods in as close to their natural state as possible, which you prepare at home. This will dramatically reduce the risk of exposure to hidden allergens, while providing superior nutrition at the same time.

Support Groups for Those Living With Food Allergies

If you or your child has a food allergy, sharing your experiences and advice with others in the same situation can be invaluable. The Food Allergy Research & Education Web site has a tool to help you find a support group in your area.7 Other support groups mentioned in the film include Circle of Food Allergic Families (COFAF),8 a parent-run support group to support families as they face the daily challenges of managing food allergies.



Sources:


Related Articles:

  The Popular Food that Turns Your Gut into a Pesticide Factory

  Food Allergies Stir a Mother to Action

  Why this Single Organ Powerfully Dictates Whether You're Healthy or Sick

 Comments (31)

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