Are allergies linked to GM foods?

I came across this link to a TED talk by Robyn O’Brien on the link between GM Foods and allergies. What do you think? Certainly answers the questions why children didn’t used to have so many allergies and why less developed countries don’t seem to suffer…

 

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Allergy v Intolerance

In the first of what we hope will be a regular series of expert articles, our nutritional therapist Wendy King looks at the difference between allergies and intolerances.

What is an allergy?

An allergy occurs when the body alters its normal immune response in some way, due to the presence of an allergen – a substance(s) that trigger a response by the immune system. This is normally due to an immune deficiency or imbalance in some way, or genetic disposition. Food and environmental allergies have been implicated in a wide range of medical conditions affecting virtually every part of the body. Many people are confused as to whether they have an allergy or intolerance read on to find out more about the differences and how Nutritional Therapy may help.

The word allergy is commonly used when any adverse reaction to food, medication, or other substances happens.

However, allergy only truly applies when the immune system releases histamine in response to a normally harmful substance, known as the allergen or foreign invaders.

Our immune system is constantly on guard and normally does a fab job in identify foreign invaders; bacteria, viruses, toxic substances and goes about its job destroying them. Sometimes it can be too good and reacts to allergens that are not harmful to the body.

This often happens within a few minutes and common signs are sneezing, vomiting, headaches, watering eyes, rashes, coughing and in severe cases an anaphylactic shock.

Some reactions that affect the digestive system such as sickness, nausea and diarrhoea, may be delayed for hours or even days.

Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 5, and about 3 to 4 percent of adults.

For some, severe allergies may mean they have to avoid that food for life. Some milder allergies respond well to nutritional therapy programmes to strengthen or balance the immune system and to support the other body systems thought to be involved such as the digestive tract, where 70% of your immune cells are found!

It’s easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance.

Food intolerance or sensitivity

Intolerance/Sensitivities are a response to specific foods. It doesn’t refer to people with an allergic reaction to foods as the immune system is not involved at all.

It occurs when a person lacks the correct enzymes to digest the food, such as lactose intolerance, which is a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products. People who are lactose intolerant cannot digest lactose.

The lactose passes into the large intestine undigested and the bacteria break it down, releasing gas, which can cause the feelings of bloating, pain, gas, and diarrhea. This is not an allergy as no immune cells are involved.

In some cases protein fragments from undigested foods rupture the lining of the intestine allowing foreign particles into the bloodstream; this then can lead to other reactions involving the immune system such as eczema.

There are many symptoms of food intolerance, including irritable bowel, colitis; asthma; eczema; psoriasis; pain; mood; headaches; arthritis; osteoporosis; fertility issues and reduced immune function.

Food intolerance is easily fixed with a changed diet – first we look to remove the offending food (s) and introduce a diet/supplement programme that supports the body’s systems in being more resistant to the intolerant foods. Normally after a 3 month programme foods can be introduced slowly to monitor how the body responds.

By Wendy King – Inner Balance Health www.IBH-Dorset.co.uk

Update- competition winners

I completely forgot I didn’t announce the competition winners from Food Allergy Week!

The winner of the MedicAlert bracelet was Marzena

The winner of the TidyTray was Sonia Thorpe

 

Congratulations both, and commiserations to those who weren’t lucky this time.