Candida Related Complex and Food Allergies
by Tarilee Cornish, CNP
Food allergies, food intolerance and candida commonly go hand in hand. Candida myceila (in its fungal form) causes damage to your intestinal lining which can worsen or trigger food intolerance and allergies. This can increase food and environmental allergies and intolerance.
Symptoms of food intolerance may include any one of many physical, mental or emotional responses. Identifying a relationship to a food, a combination of foods or an environmental condition requires some sleuthing and, likely the help of a food diary.
Worsening allergies or temporary intolerance
Food sensitivities can flair up during candida recovery for the first time and can either be temporary or long lasting. It is also possible that long standing allergies could be discovered for the first time during a candida recovery program. Even if you were unaware of intolerance or allergies, they could still be affecting your health in a chronic way.
Can they be completely resolved?
As you cleanse your bowels and liver, remove the toxic strain from the candida metabolism; boost your digestive and immune health and clean up your environment, your level of health can rise well above what it was before you developed symptoms.
In many cases, food intolerance can be completely resolve. In the case of long standing allergies or more serious intolerance, even if you do not completely recover from them, you may find that some allergens can be healthfully consumed on a rotational basis once your candida levels and overall inflammation have been reduced.
Allergic/intolerance reactions involve a broad range of reactions and immune chemicals involved include: histamine, bradykinin, leukotriences, prostaglandins, immune complexes and thromboxin. Each one of these substances has a particular defensive role to play in 'protecting' your body from foreign substances.
The associated biochemical actions often result in uncomfortable symptoms like swelling, itching, pain, nausea, blood vessel dilation, diarrhea, etc. The list of potential symptoms from exposure to food allergies and intolerance are surprisingly diverse.
Symptoms of Food or Chemical Intolerances may include:
Some of the above symptoms can also be triggered by reactions to environmental chemicals, molds or electromagnetic pollution.
Real food allergies vs food intolerance
There is controversy about what can be labelled an 'allergy' in medical terms.The medically defined allergic reaction is the IgE antibody-mediated reaction. However, over 80% of food reactions do not involve IgE. If your body produces an IgE antibody as a defense against a substance, the allergy can be easily diagnosed with a skin scratch test. Reactions to exposures to IgE allergies vary from asymptomatic to life threatening.
These allergies usually manifest symptoms within several seconds to several hours after exposure. There are other types of immune reactions to substances that can affect the body/mind in different ways. Even some strong and consistent reactions may not be recognized by some medical professionals as allergy. Also, some reactions are delayed or accumulative, especially when the symptoms are due to inflammation, which takes some time to worsen.
If you need to take a closer look at what might be interfering with how well you feel, and your medical testing reveals no clues, you may wish to find an Environmental Medicine specialists or Naturopathic Physicians.
In the information below I will refer to actual antibody mediated allergies as "allergies" and to non-antibody-mediated reactions as “intolerance" or “reactions”. When referring to the substance that cause either of these reactions, I will refer to them as “allergens”.
Other antibody allergy-like reactions
There are four other types of antibodies; IgG, IgM, IgA, and IgD. Any one of them or none of them may can be involved in a negative reaction to foods. These types of reactions will not be identified using the standard scratch test.
Even if a reaction is non-antibody-mediated, it may be severe. It can be either immediate or delayed and can take from seconds to several hours or days to appear, making them harder to trace.
Leaky Gut Syndrome and the Birth of an Allergy
If CRC is long term, the fungal mycelia weaken the intestinal wall, reducing its integrity. Sometimes this causes a dysfunctional level of permeability called, Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS).
Chronic intestinal stress from candida toxins, putrefaction and related indigestion can inflame the intestinal wall and make it extra-reactive to irritation from antagonistic foods. If the wall becomes permeable undigested food substances can leak into the bloodstream.
Undigested food is treated as a foreign substances by the immune system because it is accustomed to nourishment in the form of hydrocarbons (amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids). Thus it triggers a rejection by the body in the form of specialized immune cells. The body can then develop a memory of the food and develop antibodies to it, creating an allergy.
A leaky gut related food allergy can form when the candida is killed off. The roots (or mycelia) that hold the fungus onto the intestinal wall shrink and then release from the intestinal membrane. This can leave intestinal perforations behind.
Smooth Operator is an amazing, gut soothing, anti-inflammatory product developed to help reduce susceptibility to the impacts of food allergies. Other options include digestive bitters and/or digestive enzymes to enhance digestive function.
Four-day rotation diet
If you are experiencing an increase in allergic or intolerance responses to your foods, a hypoallergenic, four-day rotation diet may be helpful. It is sometimes recommended during a candida purge because eating foods less frequently can reduce the potential for the immune system to develop defenses against them.
How can I determine if I have food allergies?
How can I determine if I have food allergies?
There are a number of medical and non-medical approaches to allergy testing, none of which are going to tell you all of the foods that may hinder your health or even all of the foods that you might have a significant reaction to.
Electro Dermal Screening
There is one testing technology that is able to pick up a broader range of suspect foods and for less cost than the medical tests. It will register a positive intolerance response for any type of intolerance that causes stress to the body, regardless of the type of reaction. This technology is more commonly used by naturopathic physicians rather than medical doctors.
The test is very different from the medical allergy tests. It identifies different types of intolerance and allergies regardless of immune reaction but it also identifies them by priority - according to the degree of stress with which the body is currently reacting to each food (or other substance.)
There are a variety of DIY home methods of assessing our compatibility with certain foods. Careful observation and recording using a food diary and various methods of food elimination and reintroduction are possible. Muscle testing, is a sort of ‘body dowsing’ method to estimate the effect that a substance will have on your body. There are specialized organizations that offer workshops to help you develop these skills with the support of an instructor and a group.
Allergy Testing Methods Available
Skin Scratch Test
As mentioned above, this test only assesses IgE antibody levels and these are related to histamine reactions. Since over 80% of food allergy and chemical allergies are non-IgE mediated, this test just offers a piece of the puzzle. A drop of antigen is applied to the skin surface after pricking or scratching it. The results are then observed. A skin reaction indicates a typical allergy.
Radioallergosorbent testing (RAST) is a specialized blood test. It also uncovers IgE antibody allergic responses but inhalant allergies instead of food. The test can produce 20 percent false positive and 20% false negatives and is expensive.
This is a blood test for foods. Live white blood cells are mixed with individual food antigens. A reaction to the combination indicates the presence of a sensitivity. This test is expensive and can show false negatives of food that has not recently been consumed. The skill of the technician reading the slides is crucial.
The pulse test is done for one food at a time, usually after a fast (allergists use anywhere from a four hour to a four day fast). The pulse is counted every twenty minutes for an hour after exposure. If the baseline pulse reading increases or decreases by 20 or more beats per minute after exposure, an intolerance is presumed. It is time consuming and can be confounded by multiple conditions.
The rotation diet (a food is only eaten once every four days), the food diary (every food item consumed is recorded in a diary, along with symptoms) and the two-week elimination test (foods are systematically reintroduced after a two week abstinence) are all examples of elimination diets. These tests are slow and require a strong commitment from a patient. They are not completely objective but perhaps are at least as objective and accurate as any of the more clinical tests. The main advantages of this type of approach are the ability to connect a specific allergen with a specific symptom and the ability to conduct the test at home, at no charge.
Antigen Leukocyte Cellular Antibody Testing (ALCAT)
This is a blood test based on the incubation of serum and white blood cells with a food or mold impregnated disc. Evidence of significant changes in cell size and numbers are indicators of sensitivity.
The antigen (for contact allergies) is placed on a patch applied to the skin for 24 to 28 hours and reactions are noted.
Provocative Neutralization Test
A dilution of the antigens tested is administered in drops under the tongue or by injection.
In my opinion, the electro dermal screening and the elimination tests provide the most empowering results and are the most affordable. The four day rotary/elimination diet provides not only a diagnostic tool but an approach to treatment. Once CRC is resolved, most people can tolerate many more foods than they could during their acute illness.
Tips to Help Unravel Your Allergy/Intolerance
The investigation of potential health stressors* (allergies or intolerances) that may cause symptoms as minor as a sniffle or as life-threatening as anaphylactic shock can be a mind-boggling process. There are a number of factors that will prove helpful to keep in mind as you work to get clarity about the best foods for you.
Too much of a good thing?
The frequency with which you eat a food can affect whether you have a reaction to it or not. Some foods may be tolerated if eaten infrequently (every 4-14 days). The more often you eat it, the more likely it is to cause a problem.
Cooked or Raw?
You may tolerate a cooked food while the same food eaten raw can produce symptoms, or vice versa.
What season is it?
You may become more sensitive to certain foods during a particular time of year due to the additional stress of inhalant allergens. You may even find that some allergies are only a concern for you at one time of year. Hay fever season can trigger certain food allergies as can the indoor winter season, when we are breathing more dust and indoor pollutants. A high-quality air cleaner with a charcoal and hepa filter can help to reduce the additional stress of inhalant allergies. Blue Air is a high quality brand of air cleaner.
Feeling a buzz?
You may crave foods that you react to and you may experience days of withdrawal when you eliminate them. Eating these foods can even produce a sort of high. Stay alert to your most urgent cravings, as well as to altered states created by eating certain foods. Chances are, if a food leaves you feeling noticeably stimulated or sedated, you have sensitivity to it.
Become an avid label reader and ask before you eat! You may think you are allergic to Chinese noodles or something in them but in fact you may be allergic to the MSG in the sauce that is poured over them. Hidden additives can be as much a problem as the foods themselves. Learning about dangerous additives and where to look for them is key. When eating out, ask your server to help you check for potential allergy hazards in your food. And don't forget your reading glasses when you go to the grocery store!
Agrichemicals, packaging and processing
Pesticide-residues or irradiated foods may cause reactions in some people. Organically grown foods that are not sprayed or treated may be well tolerated while their conventionally-produced counterparts cause serious discomfort. Use organically grown foods in their most natural state with as little packaging as possible to reduce the potential for reactions.
Also, packaging additives may be made from allergenic substances such as cornstarch used to powder cereal bags and milk cartons. Chemicals leached from the inside of a can or from plastic wrap may be an issue for you if you are severely sensitive. Again, eating foods in their most natural state is the most cautious approach.
Remember, you may have the same symptom in response to several kinds of food or a specific symptom for each different food. Keeping your reactions (both negative and positive) to foods recorded in your food diary is the best way to match specific allergens. Write down how you feel if a symptom develops even if you aren't sure if it is related to your meal. The diary can also be a place to record your other investigations (supplement and cosmetic trials, chemical sensitivity concerns, etc.).
Immune system recovery, restoration of intestinal integrity and healthy flora are the most important and most effective strategy. In addition, there are other emerging treatments for food allergies. One is called NAET, Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique. This is combination of Kinesiology and acupuncture that can be used both to detect and treat allergies. I'm not personally convinced of this approach but it may be worth looking into for some. You can find an abundance of information about this technique on the internet.
Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization (EPD) is another treatment approach. Again, I recommend researching this method yourself to learn more.
And finally, remember that the stronger your digestive health, the less likely you'll develop intolerances. See the Candida Diet FAQ’s.
The Whole Approach store sells two anti-inflammatory products that can be beneficial for the intestinal system. Quercetin and Bromelain or Smooth Operator.
Adding digestive enzymes to each meal can also reduce reactions by helping your digestive system optimally break down the foods you eat.
AbsorbAid digestive enzymes are a potent and additive free enzyme formula can be very helpful to your energy, immunity and digestive ease. with each significantly sized snack or meal and take extra if you accidentally encounter a food to which you know you are allergic to. Quality enzymes can sometimes be helpful when you get digestive discomfort after a meal though it’s best taken with the first couple of bites of food. If you have stomach ulcers you should use caution with this product and increase your dosage slowly while carefully observing your response to it.
Buffered Vitamin C
Buffered vitamin C is an excellent support the immune system, support the detoxification process, and reduce allergic reactions. You can take anywhere between two and six per day on a regular basis and you can also use it to lessen an allergic reaction if you have accidentally been exposed to a substance that is a problem for you. Just take three to four capsules as soon after exposure as possible. Even though this is a neutral pH vitamin C, it does still have some bowel loosening properties. Depending on how loose your stools are, you may need to build up your tolerance to it gradually to prevent diarrhea. Buffered Vitamin C
To stay symptom free during your recovery from food allergies and CRC, your best defenses are knowledge and self-awareness. The following books can provide excellent guidance on your healing strategies.
Allergies, Diseases in Disguise, by Carolee Bateson-Koch
Food Allergies Made Simple, by Austin, Thrash MD and Thrash MD
Allergy Relief and Prevention, by Jacqueline Krohn MD
Additive Alert, by the Pollution Probe
A Consumer's Guide to Food Additives, by Ruth Winters
The Safe Shoppers Bible, by Steinman and Epstein Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and Environmental Illness, by Future Medicine Publishing
Tarilee Cornish is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner with a special interest in immune and digestive recovery including general detoxification and recovery from food allergies and candida overgrowth. She is especially passionate about pure healing food choices that have a democratic, ecological and compassionate production and distribution chain. Tarilee is a moderator on the WholeApproach Support Forum