The information provided here is about food allergies and intolerance as they pertain to acid reflux. The effects of these problems can be much more far reaching than just reflux or digestive discomfort.
If your digestive system is not working properly, you can begin to get symptoms of food intolerances or food allergies (even if you never had them before).
First let’s define what the differences between the two are.
Food intolerances are negative reactions to certain foods not related to the immune system or food poisoning.
In other words, you can experience bad effects from eating certain foods but there is no physical reason, like an allergy, to cause this.
These occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly treats something in a certain food as if it’s harmful to the body. Your immune system protects you from germs and viruses by making antibodies to fight off the invaders. Whenever the antibodies detect the invader they go to work to rid the body of it.
This same thing happens with any allergy, whether it’s from pollen (trees, ragweed), a food, bee sting or a medication (like penicillin).
Symptoms and Reactions
Food allergy reactions vary from person to person. Allergic reactions are usually quick, within 30 minutes. Common symptoms include: watery eyes, runny nose, tightness in throat, wheezing, coughing, hives, nausea, vomiting diarrhea and stomach pain.
The worst type of reaction is anaphylactic shock which can result in death. Severe food allergies are beyond this discussion about reflux.
Food intolerance reactions can be the same as above but are generally not as severe. Intolerance reactions can be delayed up to 48 hours or more. What we are concerned with here are the effects on the gastrointestinal tract. These reactions include: bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, mouth ulcers, and reflux.
As you can see from that short list, food intolerance symptoms can be the same as acid reflux symptoms or maybe even the cause of reflux in some cases.
Food allergies can be identified by an allergist with skin prick or blood tests.
Food intolerances have no laboratory tests which can determine if you have them. They are much more difficult to figure out. The only way is to remove certain suspected foods from the diet and see if symptoms disappear.
The things that you eat must get thoroughly broken down by your digestive system in order to be assimilated into the body. If for some reason they are not completely broken down (like you're having digestive problems), the nutrients getting into the bloodstream can be viewed as"foreign invaders" by the body and attacked by the immune system.
This is another reason why it is so important to do everything you can to keep your digestive system in tip-top shape!
8 most common foods that cause allergies
There are 8 foods that account for 90% of all food allergies. They are: milk, eggs, soy, gluten (wheat, rye and barley), fish, shellfish (shrimp and lobster), tree nuts (walnuts, cashews and pecans) and peanuts.
Allergies and intolerances may be caused by additives in the foods. Insecticides and chemicals used in food growing and processing. Theoretically, if you ingest enough of anything it could cause you problems.
Are you beginning to see how difficult it can be to figure out if you are allergic or intolerant to foods and if you are, to what specific foods or additives?
Two Biggies as far as Reflux is Concerned
Gluten Intolerance – Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Because regular white flour is made from wheat and white flour is in almost everything, it is very hard to avoid. If you think flour is only in bread, do some research. You will be amazed about all the stuff that contains flour.
Dairy Intolerance – Many people have trouble digesting dairy products. Usually this is because an enzyme in the body that helps break down the food is missing or is not produced in sufficient quantities. Like gluten, dairy is in everything and is very difficult to completely avoid.
I don’t want to go too deeply into this subject, I just want you to be aware that it is a possibility that this is contributing to your reflux problem. If you suspect a problem, you could try cutting down as much as is possible on the food. But you want to do it in a systematic way so you can figure out what is causing the problem.
Do food allergies and intolerance cause reflux or does reflux cause them?
If someone has food allergies or intolerances from birth, then it is due to your chemical makeup, possibly from your mother or who really knows with such things. If they are acquired later in life it is possibly from trouble digesting food properly.
If your digestive system is not working as it should due to years or decades of bad food and bad habits, food is not being broken down as it should be. One symptom of this happening is acid reflux.
Food must be thoroughly broken down for the nutrients in the food to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream and not be viewed as foreign invaders by the body's immune system.
What you can do to stop food allergies/intolerances from happening is to clean up your diet and get rid of acid reflux.