With food allergies and sensitivities on the rise, there are many families out there today living gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, nightshade-free…I could go on for days, but you get the point. Unfortunately many families find that gluten-free living doesn’t heal their child’s symptoms completely. (learn the signs of gluten-intolerance here.) Concerned moms and dads wonder: “WHY IS MY CHILD STILL SICK?!” It’s an understandable question. When a child is found intolerant to gluten (or any food) and the family removes gluten hoping for a reprieve from tummy, skin, immune or ear troubles—WHY OH WHY doesn’t gluten-free living solve the problem?. Often a child feels better, but may have lingering symptoms and with time new symptoms may appear. This can be frustrating and discouraging to any parent. Why isn’t allergen-free living the answer?
Here are 3 reasons why gluten-free living isn’t enough.
Elimination diets don’t heal the digestive tract
Elimination diets may calm symptoms for a period of time however; removing an allergen from the diet will not HEAL the digestive tract. When the intestinal barrier (i.e. the lining of the digestive tract) becomes compromised and damaged due to food sensitivities, allergies, environmental toxins, frequent antibiotic use, etc. it can no longer function properly and the result is what is called a “leaky gut.” In simple terms, a leaky gut allows food particles, chemicals and toxins to cross over into the blood stream and this can cause an immune response in the body. This immune response may look like food allergies or sensitivities, but it can also look like behavior problems, autoimmune disease, or neurological disorders. Eliminating a problem food (like gluten) will stop the immune system from reacting to gluten, but it will not heal the leaky gut.
A leaky gut breeds new allergies, sensitivities and symptoms!
When a child removes a problem food from the diet but does not take steps to heal the gut lining, new allergies and sensitivities can arise. Why? New food allergies and sensitivities develop because the digestive tract has not been healed. This means food particles, chemicals and toxins are still crossing over into the bloodstream and as a result, the immune system will choose another food to react to over time. An untreated leaky gut = new food allergies/sensitivities and new symptoms.
There is an underlying infection, parasite or fungal overgrowth
Often a leaky gut is caused by an underlying infection, parasite or fungal overgrowth (candida/yeast). If the underlying problem is not treated, the digestive tract can’t heal and symptoms will persist. To identify an infection, parasite or fungal overgrowth, seek the help of a holistic practitioner who conducts functional medical testing.
Elimination diets are only part of the answer when it comes to solving the mystery of food allergies and sensitivities. For true healing to occur a child must not only eliminate problem foods for a period of time (or forever in some cases), but also the digestive tract must be healed with the right food, drink and supplement protocol. Find out how you can heal your child’s leaky gut here!