The effects of allergens on the mind and body
In the sufferer, food allergy and food intolerance can greatly deplete vitamin, mineral and nutrient levels.
The victim becomes frail with an underfunctioning mind and body, often accompanied by a feeling of being worn out. The mood and personality of the sufferer is also destroyed.
This creates a much greater demand for certain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in the diet.
Also, in some cases a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals can actually be the cause of food and chemical allergy and intolerance.
It is not uncommon for allergic types to have a greater demand for certain vitamins and minerals irrespective of whether they are exposed to allergens or not, and taking these alone may alleviate the problem.
Refer to the allergy section in Mood Traits for guidelines on the vitamins and minerals needed by allergy prone sufferers.
Some simple rules to bear in mind
You may think you can eat any type of food, herb or spice that you desire, but in reality, if you want long lasting good health and vitality......you can't! Having a weakness for the foods you fancy but are doing you no good, just isn't worth it.
It's just a few minutes of pleasure for hours or days of misery.
You look better and you perform better, it's a life changing experience.
Remember, we are all unique, and a food that is well tolerated by someone else, may have a very damaging effect on you and your health. Some people are also more allergen sensitive than others.
Sometimes the negative effects from foods are subtle, their destructive powers slowly eating away at your health and good moods. At other times the effects can be devastating, setting up long term health problems and mental and emotional disorders.
You have to find the foods that you can tolerate well, and remove the foods that you can't. A simple example is the five a day fruit rule.
One person may eat five portions of fruit a day without any negative effects at all. But another may find themselves suffering with urinary urgency or an irritated bowel and distension from the potassium and high fibre in the fruit.
The same goes for fats, oils, salt, spices and herbs.
Some people can metabolise these well because they need them, but others can't because they don't.
We are constantly told to follow a low fat, sugar and salt diet. This kind of thinking assumes that we are all metabolically equal, but we are not! Some people need certain amounts of fats, oils or salt in their diet, and their health will suffer if they don't get enough. The reasons for this are discussed in other sections of this site. There are certain health conditions and deficiencies that can cause an individual to become allergic or intolerant to certain foods, and these issues are dealt with in various sections of this site.
Food allergy and food intolerance are different types of food sensitivity, and symptoms can appear within a few minutes of eating the food that you are allergic to, but they can also take several hours to develop.
When someone has a food allergy their immune system reacts to a particular food as if it is a foreign invader, and they can get symptoms such as a rash, itching, flushing, hives, itchy eyes, sinus problems and anaphylactic shock.
With food intolerance, as the immune system is not triggered, the effects are initially less severe. If someone eats a food they are intolerant to it makes them feel ill and, if ingested regularly, affects their long-term health.
Both effects can cause inflammation and severely disrupt the body's ability to go about its duties in processes such as fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism as well as hormone and neurotransmitter manufacture.
No matter what level of health you attain, there are still some foods that your body may just not tolerate. I have a tendency to believe that a person's genetics govern what foods they are tolerant to, that is, if it was eaten by your predecessors, then you can tolerate it too. It can't be as simple as that, but it is likely that the foods you tolerate best happen to be native to your own genetic background. If you look at the symptoms of food intolerance alone, you can see how detrimental to mood this type of problem can be.
Allergies can be complex and confusing. For instance you could have an allergy to wheatgerm, which could be confused at first with wheat allergy and gluten intolerance. In reality, you may be able to eat white bread in any amount, because the wheatgerm is removed in the manufacturing process, but wholewheat or wholegrain bread and pasta could make you very ill.
You can get allergy or intolerance symptoms from foods that you would not normally suspect, such as olive oil.
We are all told constantly by the media that "everyone should use olive oil, it's good for you", well it's not if you have an allergy or intolerance to it.
You may only have mild intolerances or allergies to certain foods, but put all these foods together and you have a bigger problem, because it's cumulative and you sink to a lower state of health as your body's ability to produce hormones, neurotransmitters and carry out various metabolic duties is compromised.
Food allergy and food intolerance can share some similar symptoms. Food intolerance symptoms can be more obscure and less obvious, but with a bewildering array of symptoms that can vary from individual to individual, such as these well documented symptoms listed below.These are the most commonly reported trigger foods
Dairy - wheat - oats - maize (corn) - rice - white fish - shellfish - nuts - peas - kidney beans - haricot beans - eggs - chicken - pork - beef - tomato - berries - citrus fruits - potatoes - soya - cabbage - broccoli - yeast extracts.
Others to be aware of are; vinegar - olive oil - whey protein - salicylates - wheat germ and chemical food additives.Physical symptoms associated with food intolerance
Abdominal pain - aching muscles and sore joints - acne - addictions - arthritis - asthma - athlete's foot - bad breath - bed wetting - blackouts - bloating - blood sugar problems - blurred vision - breast pain - catarrh - chronic fatigue syndrome - coated tongue - colitis - constant hunger - constipation - crawling sensation on skin - diarrhoea - difficulty in swallowing - dizziness - eczema - excessive thirst - excessive or no sweating - fatigue - feeling drained - flushes - food cravings - frequent need to urinate - gall bladder problems - gritty feeling in eyes - headaches - heavy body odour - high/low blood pressure - hives - recurring indigestion - insomnia - irritable bowel syndrome - itching - itchy and red ears - joint pain stiffness and swelling - lethargy - menstrual problems - metallic taste - migraine - mouth ulcers - muscle aches and cramps - muscle tremors - muscle weakness - nausea - palpitations - persistent cough - poor balance - post nasal drip - pre-menstrual problems - racing pulse - rashes - recurring ear infections - restless legs syndrome - sensitivity to light and noise - sinusitis - sleep disturbances - sore tongue - sore, itching, puffy or burning eyes - stiff neck - styes - temperature fluctuations - thrush - tinnitus - urticaria - vertigo - watering eyes - weight problems - wheezing.Emotional and behavioural symptoms associated with food intolerance
Accident prone - anxiety - anger for no apparent reason - attention deficit disorder - behavioural problems - blankness - brain fogging - changes in handwriting - clumsiness - confusion - delusions - depression - detached or unreal feeling - difficulty waking up - disorientation - dyslexia - feelings of dissociation - fidgeting - hallucinations - hearing without comprehension - hyperactivity - inability to think clearly - indifference - irritability - memory loss - mental exhaustion - mood swings - panic attacks - phobias - poor concentration - poor self image - poor memory - reading problems - restlessness - slow processing of information - slurred speech - stammering - suicidal feelings - tension - uncontrollable rage - weepiness - withdrawn.
It must be noted that these symptoms can vary from one person to another, and from mild to severe, but in any case, the damaging effects on the body's ability to go about its every day duties are the same. Removing allergies and intolerances from the body is of paramount importance when considering physical health and mood.
See the depression page for the possible effects that allergies can have on mood and emotional behaviour.
Low stomach acid problems
Stomach acid is required for breaking down protein-based foods such as meat, fish and eggs. If these proteins are not broken down efficiently, the digestion can stall, causing food to ferment in the intestines.
Moreover, improperly broken down protein fragments can be absorbed through the gut (especialy in leaky gut syndrome) and into the blood stream. This problem can cause food allergies to emerge because the immune system becomes highly sensitised to these food particles, and anything else it doesn't like the look of.
A simple test you can do at home to check for low stomach acid is, dissolve one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a small glass of water and drink this on an empty stomach. If sufficient levels of acid are present, you should experience gaseous bloating and belching within five to ten minutes. If you experience little or no gas, this could indicate a low stomach acid condition. The usual supplement to take for this kind of problem is betaine HCI, in tablet form, and which ideally contains pepsin.
Finding food intolerances
The elimination diet
Finding food intolerances can be more difficult than finding food allergies, simply because with the latter, the symptoms can be more immediate and obvious. That said, finding your food intolerances can be easier than you think, it's just a matter of removing all suspect foods from your diet for 7-10 days (the elimination diet), then reintroducing them one at a time, then, when you eat a food that you are intolerant to, the reaction effects will be more severe than when you were eating the food on a regular basis.
The reaction will most likely appear up to 60 minutes or so after ingestion, and what to look for is any one or more of the following symptoms such as, sleepy, tired, heart pounding or palpitations, sweating, or any one of the symptoms you experienced when eating the food on a regular basis.
- Whey protein (a very common ingredient found in many processed foods) read the labels
- Rapeseed and maize (corn)
- Soya in any form
- Salicylates (see below)
- Yeast extract (found in many processed foods) read the labels
- Chemical food additives (consult the E-Numbers page here)
- Citrus fruits
- Wheat germ (found in wholemeal bread and cereals)
- Olive oil
- Vinegar (including cider vinegar)
- All foods which contain sulphites, read the labels
- Smoothies (high sugars, fructose and potassium, can over stimulate the digestion)
- Curry dishes (herb, spice and sauce allergens, can over stimulate the digestion)
- Pasta (gluten and wheat allergens, can stall the digestion and cause sluggishness)
The pulse test
The pulse test is another way to root out food intolerances. With this simple test you remove all suspect foods for 7-10 days. Next you take your pulse and note it down, then eat a suspected food, wait 10 minutes or more and then check your pulse again. If the pulse increases more than about 10 beats per minute it indicates a reaction. This is not an exact method and does not register delayed reactions, but it can be very helpful.
If an offending food that is eaten regularly (e.g. wheat, milk, potato) is removed from the diet, withdrawal symptoms may occur.
Food rotation (never eating a food more than once in four days) is a good way to help lower food intolerances.
Where sinus problems exist, to distinguish between allergies and sinus infections, look at the drainage from your nose.
If the drainage is clear it's an allergy, if the drainage is cloudy, yellow or green, then it's an infection.
Sulfur sensitivity or sulfur allergy (sulphur)
If you suffer sulfur sensitivity your body is having difficulty converting sulphites or sulphur compounds from foods into useful forms of sulfur and cysteine that your body can use effectively. This condition can cause the body to become highly sensitised to certain foods and chemicals which then become irritants.
- Mood swings
- Attention deficit disorder
- Skin sensitivities
- Joint aches and pains
- Feeling low, flat and dull for no apparent reason
- Digestive disturbances and disorders
- Sensitivity to smells such as perfumes and cosmetics, motor vehicle exhaust fumes, chemical cleaners etc
- Sleep disturbances
If you feel you have this problem eliminate from your diet all foods and products that contain sulphites (read the labels).
Also remove high sulfur containing foods from your diet such as turmeric, artichokes, asparagus, eggs, garlic, onions, beans of all types. Remove foods from the brassica family of vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, cauliflower and kale.
There are other foods which contain sulfur of course, but it is impractical to place heavy restrictions on the diet because this in itself can cause a multitude of health problems. Better to remove the main sources of sulfur and help the body to deal with the rest.
Molybdenum is one of the key minerals needed for the sulfation process and this can be found in supplement form as amino chelated molybdenum, which is the most effective form. Other key vitamins minerals and nutrients required for the sulfation process are B2, B6, B12, Vitamin C, Glutathione, Zinc.
If you remove the said foods and irritants and help the sufation process with the needed vitamins and minerals, you will feel much better in a very short time. As your body recovers and gets a grip on the sulfation process, you may find your tolerance to sulfur based foods has also improved.
Salicylate sensitivity is the body's inability to handle more than a certain amount of salicylates at any one time. A sensitivity can show itself when individuals find themselves unable to tolerate certain fruits, vegetables, medications, toiletries and cosmetics containing salicylates.
Many of the symptoms that arise as a result of salicylate intolerance mimic those of allergy although a reaction to salicylates is not an allergy. Food intolerance or allergy testing will not accurately establish salicylate sensitivity. Salicylates are cumulative in the body and symptoms will only arise when the tolerance level of the individual has been exceeded.
Remember that whatever goes on the skin, often gets into the body.
Normally, aspirin and other salicylates found in foods etc, are detoxified by the liver and removed by the kidneys. If the liver and kidneys do not remove them faster than they are being taken in, cumulative salicylate poisoning ensues, then the system is overwhelmed and the toxic by-products, along with salicylic acid, accumulate in the blood. This can lead to disruption of the energy producing systems of the body, and also produce some very uncomfortable mental and physical symptoms.
Salicylates impact on individuals in various ways, including asthma, fatigue, hives, rashes, headaches and hyperactivity, as well as cognitive and mood disorders.
Removing salicylates from your diet could produce a welcomed elevation in mood and health. Just using simple soaps and cosmetics and avoiding high salicylate foods is all that is necessary, which is not as difficult as you may think! Remember they are cumulative. Food allergy and intolerance can cause your histamine levels and methylation to become unstable and erratic. Also don't forget food additives which can cause numerous problems, the e-numbers section will help you with these.
Salicylates directly or indirectly affect most organ systems in the body by uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation, inhibiting Kreb's cycle enzymes and amino acid synthesis, and may also be related to hypoglycaemia and reactive hypoglycaemia.Emotional, physical and behavioural symptoms associated with salicylate intolerance
Abdominal pain - aching legs - dermatitis - ear Infections - eye disorders - fatigue - hives - nasal polyps - persistent cough - physical sluggishness - rhinitis - sinusitis - sleep disorders - skin problems - stomach irritation - tinnitus - accident proneness - anxiety - agitation - excessive energy then fatigue - confused thinking - depression - distraction - dyslexia - excessive or constant talking - hyperactivity - impatience - poor concentration - memory problems - mental sluggishness - mood swings - needing to be left alone - nervousness - paranoia - poor self image - sudden highs - temper flare ups - unpredictability - workaholic tendencies.
Salicylates can also cause high insulin levels, reactive hypoglycaemia, lowered thyroid function and has also been found to have connections with fibromyalgia.
If you do have a number of the symptoms listed above, and suspect that you have a salicylate problem, there is plenty of information available for you to investigate this issue further, but it can be easier to just remove any salicylates from your diet etc for two weeks, and watch for the result.
If you have been suffering with salicylate poisoning, your health improvement will be dramatic.
Avocado - some apples - cantaloupe melon - cherries - grapefruit - apricots - blackberry - blackcurrant - blueberry - cranberry - grapes - guava - orange - pineapple - plum - strawberry - sultanas - dates - currants - loganberry - prunes - raisins - raspberry.
Alfalfa sprouts - aubergine with peel - broad bean - broccoli - cucumber - parsnips - fresh spinach - sweet potato - tomatoes and tomato puree - watercress - chicory - chilli peppers - courgette - endive olives - peppers - radish - water chestnut - gherkins.
Seeds and nuts
Brazil - pistachio - sesame seeds - almonds - peanuts.
Herbs and spices
Yeast extracts - basil - bay leaf - caraway - chilli powder - nutmeg - vanilla essence - white pepper - aniseed - black pepper - cardamom - cayenne - cinnamon - cloves - cumin - curry powder - dill - fenugreek - garam masala - ginger - liquorice - mint - peppermint - mustard - oregano - paprika - rosemary - sage - tarragon - turmeric - thyme - wine and cider vinegars.
Coffee - tea - peppermint tea - cordials and fruit flavoured drinks - fruit and vegetable juices.
Oils and fats
Almond oil - corn oil - peanut oil - sesame oil - walnut oil - coconut oil - olive oil.
Some examples of household products containing salicylates
Shampoos - skin cleansers - soaps - perfumes - lipsticks - sun screens and tanning lotions - shaving creams - toothpastes - deodrants - anything that contains aloe vera - chapsticks.
Allergy histamine and methylation
Food allergy and intolerance can cause your histamine levels and methylation to become unstable and very erratic, also histamine levels can fluctuate from time to time depending on your body's production rate.
The roller coaster effect on histamine and methylation is much worse in the sensitive person. They tend to over react to immune stimulants, dumping large amounts of histamine everywhere when an allergen is detected. The result is excess circulating histamine levels, and all the physical and mental symptoms that go with it.
In this condition the body is detoxifying and breaking down histamine faster than it can be made, and sooner or later the person will suffer with metabolic and mental exhaustion. If the offending allergen is not removed, the body remains in a highly sensitised state, continually trying to make, release and break down histamine in its attempt to eradicate this pseudo invader.
The immune system can then become aggressive to anything that it doesn't like the look of.
This, I believe, is where low histamine ensues. The metabolism becomes exhausted from constant fighting. Digestive ability and nutrient priority are thrown out of harmony, a lower state of health sets in, and the allergy symptoms become less acute.
If you constantly expose yourself to allergens, your body will do everything it can to gear up for mass histamine production.
After all the body thinks it's about to die! I believe the governing factors which influence histamine levels in a person are, how sensitive they are to immune stimulants etc, do they tend to over react, their natural ability to make and store histamine quickly, how many circulating and airborne allergens they are exposed to and their body levels of histamine release inhibitors.
If your allergens fluctuate, so will your histamine, and if you find and remove your allergens, you will desensitise your body.
I could not recommend more that you root out any issues you may have with food allergies intolerances, and salicylate sensitivities.
Histamine release inhibitors work well for oversensitive types by calming the release response, however, too much can suppress histamine action for other important functions. It is better to remove the allergens then find your optimum doses. Threshold low histamine release in myself shows up as brain dithering or relaying wrong messages, and a blunt sedated mood.
For guidance on how to raise, lower or stabilise histamine levels refer to the Mood Tree and Mood Traits sections.
Note: Individuals with fluctuating histamine levels and uneven distribution, can experience a mixture of high and low histamine symptoms. A person experiencing normal histamine levels but with a mood disorder, would likely show some high and low symptoms but of a much milder form.
See here for a detailed description of histamine's role in the body.
Rhinitis - hives - asthma - glue ear - fast metabolism - depression - obsessive compulsive disorder - excessive thoughts - fast thinking - brain relays wrong messages - dithery thought patterns - sneezing in sunlight - shy - oversensitive - salivate or cry easily - stomach aches - muscle cramps - easy orgasm - seasonal allergies - inner ear tension - abnormal fears, rituals or compulsions - light sleeping - suicidal thoughts - high alcohol or downer tolerance - cold hands and feet - high sex drive - bouts of adrenal exhaustion - headaches - migraines - low body weight - low body hair - long fingers and toes - perfectionism - low serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.Possible indicators of low histamine levels (over methylator)
Canker sores - difficult orgasm - low or no headaches or allergies - high body hair - excess fat in lower extremities - many dental fillings - ideas of grandeur - suspicion of people - paranoia - seeing or hearing things abnormally - social isolation - good pain tolerance - ringing in the ears - fluctuating moods - moods generally on the down side - daydreamer - low achiever - easily tired - frustrated - easily depressed under stress - easily drunk on alcohol - low sex drive - slow metabolism - good pain tolerance - sensitivity to yeast or yeast infections - elevated serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.
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