by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Most people are under the impression that food sensitivity is a food issue.

This may be news to you but most food sensitivity issues are not due to the food itself. Now I will share that Americanized wheat, which is deamidated, hybridized and full of aflatoxins, along with genetically modified organism (GMOs) are true food issue, yet most if not all of your other food sensitivities are not about the food.

Shocking but true!

The biggest challenge for most with food sensitivity is tied into hormones and poor protein breakdown.

Stress hormones will affect these body functions below.

  • Digestive enzyme release (necessary to properly digest your food)
  • Intestinal movement (movement of food through your intestines)
  • T-Reg Modulation (cells that affect your immune function)
  • T-Cell Proliferation (also affecting immune function)
  • Integrity of your intestinal lining (inside lining of your gastrointestinal tract)
  • Dendritic cells (antigen presenting cells)
  • SIgA (antibody that plays a significant role in immune function)

Interestingly enough, all of these factors above, lead to the development of food sensitivity.

Let’s take a look at the immune reaction to foods.

First we will take into consideration pesticides, chemicals, modern diet, hybridized seeds, GMO foods, food processing, and genetic susceptibility. Any of these factors can lead to an immune reaction to the food you eat.

From here, this can lead down one of two paths.

One option is an immediate IgE reaction, which would be considered an allergic reaction such rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, conjunctivitis or anaphylaxis. These are reactions that would will have an awareness of relatively quickly after consuming the food source.

The other reaction is a delayed IgG or IgA response. This could include reactions such as skin reactions, mucus congestion, brain fog, slow metabolism, fatigue, depression or even chronic pain.

So what is the main factor that leads to these type of reactions?

A lack of proper breakdown (digestion) of protein into amino acids via enzyme function.

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To explain this simply I will share the proper vs. challenged breakdown of an egg that you may eat.

An egg contains 18 amino acids. If you have proper breakdown of the protein into amino acids, you will break this egg down to 18 individual amino acids.

On the contrary, if you have poor digestion, low enzyme function and poor breakdown of protein to amino acids, you may consume this egg yet break this down into two amino acid chains of nine amino acids in each chain or grouping.

What is important to understand here is the if you break your egg down into individual amino acids, you will not suffer with an immune system reaction. Yet if you break this down into amino acid chains, this can lead to damage to your intestine walls, create immune reactions and lead to inflammatory reactions.

This is one of the most significant factors for food sensitivity for most of us, so if you are simply avoiding the food you are sensitive to, this is obviously not the answer to the core of your challenge.

To make matters worse, if you limiting your food choices to any extreme level, you are likely worsening the microbiome in your body. Your gut microbiome helps protect you against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and aids in producing vitamins. So if your microbiome is depleted, this will likely worsen your situation.

This may seem like a hopeless cycle, yet it is not.

I will share some recommendations for this at the end of this article.

Before we dive into recommendations, we will address the stress hormone tie into food sensitivity.

From a clinical perspective some people still do not respond appropriately when addressing protein digestion and breakdown.

If this is the case, you have to consider an underlying hormone imbalance.

If you recall I earlier mentioned that stress hormones will affect these body functions below.

  • Digestive enzyme release (necessary to properly digest your food)
  • Intestinal movement (movement of food through your intestines)
  • T-Reg Modulation (cells that affect your immune function)
  • T-Cell Proliferation (also affecting immune function)
  • Integrity of your intestinal lining (inside lining of your gastrointestinal tract)
  • Dendritic cells (antigen presenting cells)
  • SIgA (antibody that plays a significant role in immune function)

The biggest factor hear is the affect of hormone on the integrity of your intestinal lining. Most people will refer to this challenge as leaky gut. This is a condition that allow whole food particles to pass through the lining of your small intestines and enter your blood stream, thus creating an autoimmune type of reaction.

While there are many factors that can be a mechanism for leaky gut, one of the biggest challenges is based on the affect your stress hormones have on your thyroid hormones, progesterone, estrogen hormones and testosterone. Typically stress hormones will create a deficiency in all the hormones that I just mentioned.

Your stress hormones will affect your adrenal function, which is where you will produce your natural anti-inflammatory hormone known as cortisol. It is also understood that testosterone will help regulating your immune system and both testosterone and estrogen hormones can aid in inducing an anti-inflammatory response. Also all sex hormones will affect your immune responses.

Taking this a step further with thyroid hormones, when there is a lack of thyroid hormones, this can lead to ulcerations and poor intestinal lining integrity, also know as leaky gut. It is also suspected that proper thyroid hormones may protect the lining of your intestines.

So in the end, these suppressed hormones can either decrease your ability to create a healthy anti-inflammatory effect or decrease your ability to regenerate healthy intestinal lining.

And do not forget that all these hormones are affected by stress hormones.

To be “real” most of us are dealing with stress on some level in your lives, yet it is more important to understand how this stress is affecting you.

Find out how stress is impacting your here.

I mentioned earlier that I would provide some basic recommendations to assist in your breakdown of protein into amino acids. To assist your body in enhancing the breakdown of your protein I would recommend increasing beneficial bacteria (probiotics), supplement with digestive enzymes and consider supplementing with betaine HCL to support stomach acid, which is essential to breakdown protein.

When considering a quality probiotic, I always recommend a combination of a prebiotic along with a probiotic. The prebiotic acts as a food source for your probiotic and can also have a positive affect on the environment of your gut, thus enhancing the effectiveness of your probiotic. I would also recommend approximately a 40 billion count daily of beneficial bacteria (probiotic), which can be easily achieved by taking two capsules of the Prebiotic/Probiotic Formula upon waking.

When thinking about using a digestive enzyme it is important to use a comprehensive enzyme formula that includes both plant and animal based enzymes. Many of the proteins we are consuming are animal based, such as eggs, dairy, meat, fish, seafood and foul. So many people are only using plant based enzymes, expecting these to break down animal based foods, yet this does not even make sense to say it out loud. If you want to assist in breaking down animal based foods, it is best to utilize an animal based enzyme. This is why we recommend the Prime Enzyme Support to provide the benefit of both high quality plant and animal based foods. Our general recommendation with this product is to take one enzyme with each main meal and best to take after you take your first bite of your meal.

Lastly it is important to consider betaine HCL and pepsin as contained in the Prime Stomach Acid Support. Since stomach acid and pepsin are essential for proper breakdown of protein into amino acids, this is most often very helpful for most. The only people that I do not recommend stomach acid support is individuals that are currently dealing with stomach or esophageal ulcers. Our general recommendation for the use of the Prime Stomach Acid Support is to take one capsule toward the end of your meal when you have a bite or two of food left.

All three of these supplements recommended are included in the Depke Wellness 1, 2, 3 of Digestion.

Remember, if you do not recognize a positive shift by working on supporting the digestion or breakdown of protein into amino acids, this is most likely tied into hormones. And how hormones are affecting immune function, inflammation and leaky gut.

For those dealing with deeper issues with hormones, immune regulation, leaky gut and inflammation, it would be unfair to provide recommendations to follow via this article. These are individualized challenges and are best addressed by working with a qualified holistic health practitioner.

I’ll finish up with a summary.

If you are dealing with food sensitivity, it is most likely tied into poor protein breakdown and/or driven by stress hormones and their affect on other hormones in the body, which is driving leaky gut and other underlying challenges with your immune function and inflammation.

Hopefully you can now see the importance of getting to the core of your food sensitivity rather than just giving up the food itself.

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