The ways that an allergy manifests are unique to you. It could be hives, wheezing, eczema, red eyes, or a stuffy nose.
If you are hypersensitive to certain foods (rather than a certain season), an allergy could show up in the lungs — for example, asthma or a runny nose.
More often though, food allergies cause abdominal pain, bloating, and itchy skin.
Allergies are even more prevalent in today's society because of diet, vaccinations, antibiotic use, and over-cleanliness. Supporting the gut with beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods and taking digestive enzymes like Assist Dairy and Protein can restore a wounded inner ecosystem. Healing the gut closes the door to Candida and food allergies.
Unfortunately, most allergies still receive the Band-Aid approach: Symptoms of an allergy are treated without ever addressing the cause. Allergy shots, steroids, decongestants, and anti-histamines all provide temporary relief — they are a quick fix to a deeply rooted imbalance.
Over the past several decades, the numbers of those affected by allergies have been climbing. One study found that 20 percent to 30 percent of the Western population is affected by one allergy or another.1
Another study in Pediatrics found that one out of 12 children in the United States has a food allergy.2 This translates into 6 million children.
Allergies and The Hygiene Hypothesis
Like a juggler with three balls in the air, the immune system relies on balance and timing — rather than strength. When one aspect of the immune system overreacts or underperforms, disease develops.
According to the hygiene hypothesis, our cleanliness may be one way that allergies develop.
The hygiene hypothesis — originally described in 1989 — asserts that the less time children spend on the farm, in the mud, with siblings, and out of the city, the less contact they have with microbial bugs.3,4 As it turns out, coming into contact with a diverse crowd of bacteria is extremely important to the developing immune system of a young child. A variety of these bugs turn “on” regulatory T cells. This is a good thing. Later in life, regulatory T cells can turn “off” the inflammatory signaling of an allergic response or an autoimmune disease.5
These days, we see fewer microbes and more allergies because of:
- Antibiotic use
- Reduced household size (siblings are a great way to pass along germs)
- “Improved” hygiene
The experts tell us that these five factors have manipulated the gut beyond the point of checks-and-balances.6
In other words, without plenty of different microbes populating the gut and interacting with the immune system, opportunistic bugs like Candida yeast or Clostridium difficile bacterium (common bug than can give you a lethal case of diarrhea) can quickly take over.
Pathogenic bacteria and yeast, like Candida and Clostridium difficile, damage the lining of the intestines and are often the root causes of “leaky gut”. When the body suffers from “leaky gut”, undigested particles leak into the bloodstream, causing an inflammatory response and even an autoimmune response. Many functional medicine doctors point to this gut permeability as the culprit in ever-changing food allergy diagnoses.
3 Ways Probiotics Can Protect You from Food Allergies and Candida
The gut is home to as many as one thousand billion microbes. In a healthy person, there are at least 1,000 different strains.7 The thing to remember about all these microbes is that they play a vital role in your health and wellbeing. They help you:
- Digest your meal
- Develop your immune system
- Regulate growth of the intestinal wall
- Produce essential vitamins
- Control inflammation by producing short-chain fatty acids
Become a fermented foodie. It's easy to learn to ferment at home with a few expert tips.
Studies have found that probiotics can protect against the development of allergies. They can also help manage allergies once they have shown up. So far, we know that the benefit of probiotics in the body is three-fold:
1. Crowd Control. Good bacteria are able to change the pH (or acidity) of the inner ecosystem. By manipulating the pH, they make the gut an ideal place to thrive (while it is the worst for disease-causing bugs).8
With enough good bacteria populating the digestive tract, the bad guys do not have the resources to take over.9 And the opportunistic bugs, like Candida yeast, are kept under control.
When infants are given probiotics early in life, this stimulates the growth of other beneficial bacteria — ensuring a hearty inner ecosystem in spite of external circumstances.10
2. Protect the Gut Lining. Studies have found that good bacteria guard against leaky gut. They do this by protecting the tight junctions between cells. Good bacteria also supporting the production of clear, nourishing mucus that soothes away intestinal irritation.11
Probiotics produce special fats as they help to break down food in the gut. These fats are protective. They prevent and calm irritation along the lining of the gut.12
3. Anti-Inflammatory. Probiotics work with the immune system. They can shut down the inflammatory cascade at the root — preventing inflammatory signaling that can lead to the pesky signs of allergies.13,14,15
Body Ecology's in the news! Read more in People magazine.
Stop Allergic Disease and Manage Symptoms
When it comes to preventing allergies, gut health is pivotal. And it begins in utero.
For example, one study found that when an expecting mother is exposed to a rich microbial environment (like a farm), her child is less likely to develop asthma and other allergies.16
Another study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics points out that mothers on prescription antacid medications while pregnant are more likely to give birth to children that develop childhood asthma.17 In fact, use of antacid medication while pregnant is associated with a 1.4 times higher incidence of childhood asthma.
The development of your inner ecosystem begins with your mother.18 This inner ecosystem plays an important role in regulating the immune system. And this influences how you respond to your environment or to you food.
So what can you do if you began life with a wounded inner ecosystem?
Begin by introducing fermented foods into your diet. Eat these foods every day.
Next, help seal a leaky gut by following the Principles of the Body Ecology Diet. The Body Ecology Diet is gluten-free, sugar-free, and casein-free. Its Principles are designed to enhance digestion, optimize digestive enzymes, and eliminate the root of inflammation.
You can learn more about the Body Ecology blueprint here.
In addition to taking proper enzymes designed for those with impaired inner ecosystems — such as Assist Full Spectrum, Assist SI, and Assist Dairy and Protein — we recommend that two action steps happen before food ever hits your stomach.
- Sit down to eat. Remove distractions. Feel relaxed. Digestion begins in the brain — in other words, when you feel calm and relaxed, your body will release enzymes and produce enough stomach acid to break down a meal. Without a calm mental outlook, stress hormones interfere with the digestive process, and this leads to leaky gut.
- Chew your food well. You've heard it before. We are saying it again. Chewing your food well ensures that enzymes are given an opportunity to do their job. When you eat raw foods, especially raw cultured vegetables, this increases the number of enzymes that are available to you.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
An allergy can manifest in your body in a number of ways, in wheezing, hives, red eyes, or eczema. Unfortunately, most allergies today are addressed by their symptoms without treating the root cause of the issue.
In many cases, allergies may be related to the hygiene hypothesis, linking over-cleanliness to the development of allergies. Without diverse microbes in the gut to support the immune system, opportunistic bugs will soon take over.
- Crowd Control. Probiotics populate the digestive tract with good bacteria so that bad bacteria can't overpower.
- Protect Gut Lining. Good bacteria can soothe intestinal irritation and guard against leaky gut.
- Calm Inflammation. Probiotics support the immune system to shut down an inflammatory cascade that can trigger allergies.
You can nourish your inner ecosystem and control allergies with daily doses of fermented foods, by following the Principles of the Body Ecology Diet, and by taking digestive enzymes like Assist Full Spectrum, Assist SI, and Assist Dairy and Protein.
- AW Zuercher, et al. Food products and allergy development, prevention and treatment. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 2006; 17.
- Gupta, Ruchi S., et al. The Prevalence, Severity, and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States. Pediatrics 2011; peds.2011-0204.
- DP Strachan. Hay fever, hygiene, and household size. BMJ. 1989; 299: 1259–1260.
- J Riedler, et al. Exposure to farming in early life and development of asthma and allergy: a cross-sectional survey. Lancet. 2001; 358: 1129–1133.
- WG Shreffler, et al. Association of allergen-specific regulatory T cells with the onset of clinical tolerance to milk protein. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2009; 123: 43–52 e7.
- ZQ Toh, et al. Probiotic therapy as a novel approach for allergic disease. Front Pharmacol. 2012; 3: 171. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2012.00171. Epub 2012 Sep 21.
- MJ Molloy, et al. Intestinal microbiota: shaping local and systemic immune responses. Semin. Immunol. 2012; 24: 58–66.
- SD Todorov, et al. Bacteriocin production and resistance to drugs are advantageous features for Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14, a potential probiotic strain. New Microbiol. 2011; 34: 357–370.
- A Setia, et al. Development and in vitro evaluation of an Escherichia coli probiotic able to inhibit the growth of pathogenic Escherichia coli K88. J. Anim. Sci. 2009; 87: 2005–2012.
- Y Ohashi, et al. Stimulation of indigenous lactobacilli by fermented milk prepared with probiotic bacterium, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus strain 2038, in the pigs. J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. 2007; 53: 82–86.
- C Caballero-Franco, et al. The VSL#3 probiotic formula induces mucin gene expression and secretion in colonic epithelial cells. Am. J. Physiol. Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. 2007; 292: G315–G322.
- L Macia, et al. Microbial influences on epithelial integrity and immune function as a basis for inflammatory diseases. Immunol. Rev. 2012; 245: 164–176.
- N Castillo, et al. Oral administration of a probiotic Lactobacillus modulates cytokine production and TLR expression improving the immune response against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection in mice. BMC Microbiol. 2011; 11: 177. doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-177
- YJ Yang, et al. Lactobacillus acidophilus ameliorates H. pylori-induced gastric inflammation by inactivating the Smad7 and NFkappaB pathways. BMC Microbiol. 2012; 12: 38. doi:10.1186/1471-2180- 12-38
- W Feleszko, et al. Probiotic-induced suppression of allergic sensitization and airway inflammation is associated with an increase of T regulatory-dependent mechanisms in a murine model of asthma. Clin. Exp. Allergy. 2007; 37: 498–505.
- MJ Ege, et al. Prenatal farm exposure is related to the expression of receptors of the innate immunity and to atopic sensitization in school-age chil- dren. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2006; 117: 817–823.
- ABT Andersen, et al. Prenatal exposure to acid-suppressive drugs and the risk of childhood asthma: a population-based Danish cohort study. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2012; 35: 1190–1198. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2012.05073.x
- A Guarino, et al. Composition and roles of intestinal microbiota in children. Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine. 2012; 25 (S1): 63-66.
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