Why and how do people develop a food allergy to something they’ve eaten their whole life?
The process of developing a food allergy is similar to that of fighting a Covid infection.
The first stage is activating the immune system. Under healthy conditions, our immune system should be calm and not fight anything. Probiotics at different locations help our immune system at that location achieve calm conditions. When infection comes, the probiotics will go away through different mechanisms, such as being suppressed by fever or expelled by diarrhea. Our immune system becomes more active without the signal from probiotics. Material from pathogens and damage to our tissue can also activate our immune system.
The second stage is to fight with innate immune capacity. Sometimes we can win the battle if only a limited amount of pathogens invade us. We do not feel very sick by winning an easy battle before the acquired immune system creates any solution.
The third stage is engaging in battle with the acquired immune system to produce a specific solution (antibody) against the current invader. This try-and-fail process takes time to synthesize an effective antibody, even with the high concentration of antigens from the infectious agent. It usually takes days to get a solution and produce enough antibodies to neutralize the pathogens. The disease condition can get better very quickly when we have the answer.
The fourth stage is to recover from the battle after killing all pathogens. This includes repairing the damaged tissue, returning with probiotics, and calming down our immune system.
Under modern lifestyle, the immune system does not settle at the calm stage even without infection because the probiotics, the peace agents, have been killed/suppressed. We call it hypersensitive immunity, which can cause a lot of troubles, such as allergies, food allergies, and autoimmune diseases.
Food allergy is more related to the immune system from the mouth to the upper part of the small intestine, where food protein has not been fully digested and can be antigens to our activated immune system. The immune system in these areas gets its peaceful signal from the probiotics in the mouth. The beneficial bacteria produce metabolite and release it into the saliva. We swallow 1.5 liters of saliva each day. The saliva irrigates/calms the immune system to likely part of the small intestine until those metabolites are absorbed completely. In peace, our immune system does not try to produce new antibodies against new targets or at a prolonged speed.
Excessive oral hygiene, antibiotic use, or infectious disease may change oral microbiota and suppress good bacteria. When we do not have enough good bacteria, our immune system will be hypersensitive, fight anything it “sees,” and gradually create antibodies against nonharmful substances. These substances can be pollen, food, or ourselves.
Therefore the key to not developing new food allergies is to calm the immune system with enough good bacteria. Our AllerPops products
, including tablets and toothpaste, can do just that.
Does it have anything to do with climate change or how our foods are produced?
No. Not related to climate change. It might be related to highly processed food as the protein is readily accessible to our immune system at the beginning in the mouth.
We often hear people saying how they’re allergic or sensitive to gluten here, but they’re totally fine in Europe – is that real?
Yes, this can be real. The antibody is usually specific to protein at the amino acid sequence level. Those protein sequences can be different enough so that the antibody against food protein produced in the US cannot bind to the food protein grown in the EU. One who cannot eat US bread may enjoy spaghetti in Italy. Another reason for travel or migration.
Can you develop a food allergy because you’ve overeaten of it?
Not likely if you do not have a hypersensitive immune system from mouth to small intestine. A peaceful immune system does not seek battles very actively.
How can you distinguish between food sensitivity and food allergy?
Food sensitivity is due to the digestive system not breaking down the food, which causes discomfort in the belly. Food allergy is due to the immune system producing antibodies against the food, which may cause whole-body reactions, such as anaphylaxis.
If you find out you’re allergic to something as an adult, is there any chance you can still “outgrow” it as some kids do?
Yes, and it depends on what is the symptoms and if the immune system has been calmed down enough with sufficient oral probiotics. Kids and adults can grow out of some food allergies through the same process. AllerPops may speed up the process.