Dr. Darshan S. Khalsa's Blog

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Stress, Digestion, and Allergies June 22, 2010

In our practice we find stress and poor digestion to be the two health problems at the root of most others.  We find that up to 80% of the symptoms that people initially present with are improved when stress and digestion are dealt with first.  We also find that the remaining symptoms become much easier to deal with.   We see less pain, less fatigue, better sleep, improved fertility, moods improved, and reductions to allergies when we deal with stress and digestion first.

When stress is reduced, immune system function is automatically improved.  Good digestion gives us the energy to heal.  This is why simultaneously reducing stress and improving digestion results in improvements to so many other symptoms.

 Keys to digestion improvements:

  • Reducing long term chronic stress:  Stress initiates the “fight or flight” syndrome—our body energy goes to where it is needed for “fight or flight” : To the arms, legs, and short term mental functions.  Consequently our energy goes away from digestion, immune system and all of the bodies repair and restore functions.   Long term chronic stress substantially impairs our digestion system.
  • Avoiding highly processed foods (the center aisles of a supermarket mostly contain highly processed industrial foods)
  • Avoiding foods grown on soils with heavy fertilizers and pesticides use.  These result in nutritionally deficient foods.  Our bodies have to work harder to draw nutrition from these foods.
  • Supplementing with digestive enzymes:  Digestive enzymes are what our bodies use to break down the foods we eat.  As we get older our bodies produce less of these; supplementing can result in great improvements to digestion.

 

 What are the usual results of chronically impaired digestion?  

  • Fatigue
  • The creation of food sensitivities and food allergies.

 

 How does impaired digestion lead to the creation of food sensitivities and other immune system dysfunctions?

  • When food is poorly digested in the stomach, incompletely broken down food passes into the intestines.
  • The intestinal walls gradually become inflamed, allowing larger than normal molecules to pass through the intestinal walls into the blood stream.  This is sometimes called “leaky gut” syndrome.
  • The immune system senses these incompletely broken down foods in the blood stream and reacts to them as though they were pathogens.  Gradually allergies to certain foods can be developed.
  • The immune system can become exhausted by having to continually react to foods and may become unable to react to true pathogens, leading to chronic illnesses.  Alternatively, the immune system can become too reactive in general, and begin to attack the bodies own tissues.   This can lead to auto-immune conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Remember:  Poor digestion can be successfully treated.  Improving digestion is the first step to clearing allergic sensitivities.  Energy and overall health will also greatly improve once the digestive system is functioning optimally.

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Allergies June 18, 2010

What is an allergy?

An allergy is an abnormal, adverse physical reaction to an allergen.  The allergens can be either toxins such as automobile exhaust fumes or pesticides, or nontoxins such as pollens or foods.  Allergy sufferers react to small quantities that are harmless to most people.  When exposed to an allergen, allergic individuals develop an excess of an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).   These IgE antibodies react with allergens to release histamines and other substances from cell tissues.  These produce the familiar allergy symptoms of watery eyes, runny nose, itching, nausea, hives,  etc…  Allergies can also cause a predisposition to colds and flu by compromising the immune system.

However, not all adverse reactions rise to the level of an IgE allergy reaction detectable by a blood test.  These lesser reactions we call sensitivities. Allergies or sensitivities can be either immediate or delayed.  Allergies/sensitivities  are not a yes or no issue, there is a full spectrum of disorders ranging from mild delayed sensitivities to immediate anaphylactic shock.

What are common symptoms of food sensitivities or food allergies?

  • Congestion
  • Headaches
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Diarrhea, constipation or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Acid reflux
  • Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
  • Brain fog
  • Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity, especially in children

The most common food allergies/sensitivities that we encounter in practice are the following:

  • Wheat (usually but not always to the gluten in the wheat)
  • Milk products
  • Peanuts
  • Corn products
  • Soy products
  • Refined sugar (usually not actually an allergy but more of an overdose)

Notes:

  • Wheat is by far the most common food allergy/sensitivity
  • The production of corn and soy is heavily subsidized and corn and soy or their byproducts are found in virtually every processed food.

Many people are sensitive to one or more of these foods and don’t even realize because they consume one or more of these virtually every day.   When these sensitivities are identified and then avoided, most people experience major reductions to their symptoms within two weeks and sometimes within a few days.

Reasons that food sensitivities have become so prevalent today:

  • Stress
  • Environmental toxins
  • Depleted soils
  • Consumption of over refined foods
  • Chronic poor digestion
  • Foods bred for our industrial food system rather than for taste and nutrition
  • Leaky gut syndrome

Food sensitivities or allergies are not necessarily forever! They can be successfully treated.

How we treat food allergies/sensitivities in our practice:

  • First step is always to identify the sensitivities and avoid those foods at least for a while.
  • We treat the body’s energy and re-educate the body’s immune system to respond more appropriately to these non-toxic food substances.  Often we do this in a step-by-step manner, treating each component of the foods:  amino acids, vitamins, minerals, sugars, etc…
  • Stress reduction
  • Digestion enzyme supplementation
  • Assistance with detoxification and repair of damaged body tissues