Food allergies are common, impacting approximately 26 million adults and 5.6 million children in the United States. Oftentimes, food allergies appear in childhood and may either persist into adulthood or go away over time.
Certain food allergies cause severe, anaphylactic reactions. However, other food allergies cause less pronounced symptoms that are difficult to trace back to the food. Commonly referred to as “hidden” food allergies, these symptoms can cause discomfort and inflammation, but often go unaddressed.
Hidden food allergies present a number of notable health risks, including:
When the immune system is exposed to an allergen, it releases inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals are designed to fight foreign intruders and stimulate healing. However, in the case of food allergies, the immune cells wrongly recognize the food as a threat.
Inflammation caused by hidden food allergies can have adverse effects on your health over time. These effects may include fatigue, headaches, bloating, constipation, and body aches, among others. If the inflammation becomes chronic, it can cause an increased risk of medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Hidden food allergies can also cause inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, hives, rashes, and itchiness.
Hidden food allergies can irritate the digestive system, leading to gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Food allergies may even lead to the leaky gut syndrome, with which the food allergen and other toxins leak into the bloodstream, which can cause fatigue, a burning sensation in the gut, and the previously listed gastrointestinal symptoms.
Additionally, food allergens can inhibit your body’s capacity to absorb nutrients from food. Without an adequate supply of nutrients, the body can’t heal and recover properly.
Hidden food allergies can compromise your wellbeing and diminish your long-term health. At The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine, we specialize in an integrative approach to health concerns, including food allergies and sensitivities. For a comprehensive treatment plan, including allergy testing, contact us today to schedule a consultation.