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Food Allergy

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Introduction

When someone has a food allergy, it is said that the person’s immune system has reacted in an exaggerated manner to some kind of food that the person has ingested (Chafen et al, 2010). The body’s immune system makes a mistake and sees some foods as harmful then fights against them causing a reaction in the body. There are some common food allergies like peanuts, fish, eggs and shellfish. Some other chemicals that may be added to food like preservatives could also cause allergic reactions. Symptoms show up to about two hours after eating. Food allergies are mostly common in children who sometimes outgrow them. However, it is possible for someone to develop an allergy as an adult.

Approaches

There are various diet approaches that can be used to prevent the development of food allergies in children. One of the approaches is for mothers to only breastfeed their babies for the first 4 to 6 months of their lives before introducing other foods into their diet. There is some evidence that eczema can be prevented using a dietary approach, information on allergy prevention is not very extensive. One of the most common forms of hyperthyroidism is the graves disease (Lack, 2008). This happens when the thyroid overreacts. One of the approaches to preventing this from being triggered is removing all material that causes toxicity to the thyroid from the diet. One of the substances that can be removed is soy. It interferes with the functioning of the thyroid by causing it to swell which can result in goiter. Another approach to preventing hyperthyroidism is avoiding all foods of the genus Brassica. These plants include cabbages, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. However, these plants have an opposite effect on the thyroid causing hypothyroidism instead.

Researchers believe that most of the foods that cause autoimmune diseases are those that are new to the market of human consumption. They are mostly grains beans and lentils which have been around only for the past 40,000 years. Meat, vegetables and milk have been around for centuries. Going for a diet that mostly consists of these products will help to eliminate the risk of autoimmune complications (Lack, 2008).

In order to come up with approaches that will be effective, it is important to find out the causes of allergies. Some of the causes are diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses. These complications can turn the most common foods into those that people are allergic to. Allergies to substances like wheat, dairy products, corn, alcohol, sugar, tobacco and soy can be prevented by taking these foods in a controlled way. Products from wheat, soy and corn can only be digested by the human body only to some level. Sugar that is not from vegetable and fruits is said to be toxic if taken in excess. In addition, tobacco and alcohol are also harmful to human systems. The protein that is part of grains (Gluten) is an allergen. The human body does not have the enzymes required to digest gluten and when taken in great amounts, it may lead to weight gain (Lack, 2008).

Controversies

There are certain controversies in food allergies. While people are always used to substances causing independent allergies, a combination of foods can cause an allergy that would not be there if the foods were ingested separately (Moneret-Vautrin, 1987). Intolerance to foods manifests itself in various areas of the body. They could be gastrointestinal, respiratory, cutaneous and nervous like when someone gets a headache or suddenly gets tired. Doctors and physicians should not take what their patients tell them and act on it without investigating. Because people associate their reactions to certain foods, they assume that they are allergic to the foods. There could be other factors other than food that are responsible for the adverse reactions. For instance, the spices used could be causing the reaction or the additives that were included in the foods. Due to this, the same type of food can cause an allergic reaction at one time then not cause any at another time (Moneret-Vautrin, 1987). The chemical makeup of foods changes from the time that it is gotten raw to the time when it is consumed.

Supplements

Supplements and medications can be used to help people deal with their allergic reactions to food. One of the medications commonly used is Gastrocrom which can be inhaled by individuals before the symptoms of allergy start to show. It mostly helps to relieve symptoms of hay fever and asthma and works by preventing the release of histamine and other chemical triggers of allergic reactions. It can also be taken orally in the case of food allergies. This prescription medication consists of sodium cromolyn. Despite this, Gastrocrom has been criticized to some level. Since it works by relieving symptoms but not actually tackling the cause of the allergy, patients using it feel worse after the effects of the medication have worn off. Antihistamines also help in a similar way.

When it comes to supplements, they work by tackling the cause of the allergic reaction. When someone has an allergic reaction, chemicals and histamines are released by mast cells after the cells are exposed to allergen antibodies. Vitamin C is one of the supplements that work by increasing the stability of the mast cells and as a result, they may not release the harmful materials. Another supplement that can be used is quercitin which when taken in great amounts of four to six grams daily.

Also, Pantogenic acid can be used to help with allergies. Whenever people have allergic reactions, there are hormones that leap into action to help. Pantogenic acid works by giving adrenal glands a boost since they produce the hormones. During an allergic reaction, the pH of the body becomes acidic and in order to help neutralize it, Bicarbonate substances can be used. However, they should be used moderately so as not to harm stomach acid by neutralizing it. It works best when taken from twenty minutes after the meal (Divi, 1997).

In the 1960s, immunotherapy methods were developed and they can help people deal with their allergies. The immune system’s reaction is altered. One of the most commonly used is neutralization. After a patient has gone through provocation-neutralization, dilutions of food extracts that neutralize his allergic reactions are developed. The doctor then develops one dilution that has extracts that neutralize all of the allergies and they are made into a dose. The patient can be given the dose either through an injection which they administer themselves or orally, under the tongue. The doses turn off the person’s reaction to allergens. Doses change and so the patient should keep going to the doctor for updates.

Conclusion

As at now, food allergies are responsible for up to 60 medical conditions (Divi et al, 1997). More people are now reacting to different types of food. However, people should not jump into conclusions about the types of allergies they may have but investigate further and seek medical advice where necessary. The approaches to preventing allergies are still developing and they should be taken seriously. For those who react adversely to foods and may have serious medical conditions, supplements could work for them. Food is an essential part of existence and people should strive to ensure that they are eating right and know the effects of everything they eat to their bodies.

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