Food reactions come in different forms and depending on the type of reaction, can contribute to other health issues. Everyone knows about food allergies such as the well-publicized reactions some people have to peanuts. These reactions are similar to seasonal allergies but can be more extreme. There are also food intolerances where the person lacks the necessary enzymes to digest a food. The most common of these is lactose intolerance. Alternately, a person could be sensitive to the protein in milk known as casein. These reactions, called food sensitivities, are caused by antibodies being produced against a food and can lead to delayed reactions occurring hours to days after that food is eaten. The resulting inflammation in the gut can contribute to further reactions to additional foods. For instance, lactose intolerance frequently develops with celiac disease, a specific antibody reaction to wheat that causes the body to attack itself. Often with food sensitivities, there is additional damage to the gut such as inflammation and increased intestinal permeability, better known as leaky gut. In turn, leaky gut has been associated with numerous conditions such as asthma, eczema, and even depression.
After the offending food has been removed from the diet, it is often important to support a healthy intestinal barrier with nourishing supplements like probiotics, glutamine, and N-acetyl glucosamine. Probiotics have numerous gastrointestinal benefits, but in the case of food sensitivities, we use probiotics for their help in reducing inflammation and malabsorption. It has also been shown that children with food allergies tend to have different gut flora than those without the allergies. Glutamine is an amino acid that is the preferred food source of the cells that line the digestive tract. Thus glutamine helps gastrointestinal cells have the necessary energy for repair and healthy replication. N-acetyl glucosamine is a variation of the common joint support supplement glucosamine. N-acetyl glucosamine is a building block to help support the body’s creation of a healthy mucosal layer in the gut to protect the cells from enzymes, acids, and bacterial toxins while allowing the selective absorption of nutrients. Using a combination of supplements such as these can be an important step in restoring a healthy gut, which in turns supports overall wellbeing.