Allergies are becoming increasingly common today but were virtually unheard of prior to the Industrial Revolution which heralded a change in agricultural and food production processes. For the first time food was produced at a distance from the population who ate it, having been relocated from a rural to a suburban environment. Processes such as pasteurisation have denatured the proteins in milk making them unrecognisable to the body. Gluten (in grains) has been genetically modified and farming and production methods have made modern wheat largely indigestible. Grains are grasses and milk is produced by grass eaters. Many people with hay fever or asthma react to inhaled grasses because they have already produced antibodies to dietary wheat and/or dairy. One study found a reduction in symptoms in 82% of people who eliminated these foods from their diet.

Food allergies are characterised by the production of antibodies which can be identified by food allergy testing. However, many people react adversely to foods but do not produce antibodies. This is known as intolerance. Lack of enzymes to break down foods such as gluten, casein (from milk), histamine, tyramine and oxalates cause intolerances. Food intolerances are associated with headaches, migraine, irritable bowel, interstitial cystitis and fibromyalgia and many other conditions.

The bacteria in our gut play an important role in breaking down foods. Low levels of good guys combined with overgrowth of yeasts and fermenting bacteria leaves many of us unable to break down foods that can provoke symptoms. Shifts towards less healthy gut bacteria are caused by lack of breast feeding, antibiotics, sugar consumption and toxin exposure such as mercury from fillings which is swallowed in saliva.

Leaky gut, in which the gap junctions between intestinal cells remain open, allows foods to pass into the body before they have been adequately digested. Incompletely broken down foods may provoke an immune response. This can be lessened by taking calcium citrate 15 minutes before meals as calcium is involved in regulating opening and closing of gut junctions.

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