Inflammation is the body’s attempt at self-protection; to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens. Chronic Inflammation may also play a role in aging and eventual cellular death. It can be caused by trauma, infection by bacteria or viruses, infestations with parasites, tumours and, most insidiously, by immune reactions.
The inflamed area releases irritant chemicals that can trigger pain. In an immune reaction, the body’s defense team, which includes mast cells and immunoglobulins know simply as “E”, swing into action in response to a foreign invasion. Like soldiers, they mount a defensive offensive against things they perceive as harmful to the body.
The battle results in gunfire, explosions, smoke, environmental damage and casualties at cellular and tissue level.
The body heals. The spoils of war are gone. The landscape is repaired and looks untouched. Everything returns to normal. Until the next battle.
And the war is never won. In the case of food allergy, every time you ingest the ” allergen ” (something your body soldiers see as foreign and dangerous), the cellular and tissue terrain is damaged. This could be in the skin, the eyes, nerve endings, the muscles and the joints.
Nature, in its omnipotent dispensation, makes it more interesting. What is an allergen to one person may not be to another. An allergen that causes inflammation in one tissue may cause the same reaction in a different tissue in someone else.
Something a person has previously welcomed into the body may suddenly be seen as foreign and harmful, and therefore attacked. And vice versa. The battles with the “allergen” may remain the same, or increase or decrease with intensity over time……in the same person. What is clear is that the repeated inflammatory process can lead to chronic pain. What are these allergens in food? Top of the list are…..gluten, soy and wheat (GSW).
Others are milk, oats , barley, trans fats, eggs, some artificial sweeteners, some colourings and preservatives GSW is perhaps the most difficult group to avoid.
They are used by manufacturers in almost all processed food.
Let’s perform a quick NATIONAL food allergen survey! If you would place this newspaper down for a moment and go into your fridge or kitchen or store. Pick up any 5 labelled items. How many of those items have gluten, soy or wheat in the ingredients list?
Drinks may contain allergens too! Beers can trigger gout and arthritis by the purines they produce and the barley they contain. As can whiskey!
In some countries manufacturers have to give an ” allergen list ” on their products. This is so in the UK and most of Europe. It is not universal in the USA.
Reactions to food allergy may be mild and unnoticeable by the sufferer, or moderate and severe, leading to doctor visits, speculative treatments and no clear diagnosis.
As a consolation, there are also some foods that can help to alleviate and reduce pain.
These will be discussed in a future article. So , if you suffer almost daily bouts of itchy, tearing eyes, itchy skin, stomach pain, body aches and joint pains – take a closer look at what you eat.