Various strategies have been employed to curb intolerances, sensitivities, and even many allergies.
Providing the digestive enzyme the body is missing can help ease intolerances, says naturopathic doctor Sara Jean Barrett, ND, a holistic and functional-medicine practitioner in Minneapolis. Two over-the-counter options are Lactaid, which offers the lactase enzyme to break down lactose in dairy products; and Beano (alpha-galactosidase), an enzyme that digests galactose, a simple sugar found in beans, broccoli, cruciferous vegetables, and some grains.
“Sometimes we can figure out why someone isn’t making an enzyme and work on that too,” she adds.
Many sensitivities can be healed over time.
Many sensitivities can be healed over time. “If you can avoid the food long enough and do enough gut healing, you can slowly reintroduce the food and not have the same immune reaction,” Barrett explains.
Healing a leaky gut can have a profound effect on improving symptoms such as migraines or IBS. “Then over time, people can often reintroduce foods in moderation or in rotation,” says naturopath Dan Lukaczer, ND, director of medical education at the Institute for Functional Medicine.
Not all food allergies can be resolved — and when anaphylaxis is a potential, it often feels too risky to experiment. But Gupta notes that we now have the first FDA-approved oral immunotherapy (OIT) for peanut allergies in children. OIT trials for other foods are showing promise, and clinical trials are under way for epicutaneous and sublingual immunotherapy options for food allergies.
Additionally, researchers are studying biologics as combination and standalone therapy. (Make sure to discuss treatment options with your allergist.)
That’s hopeful news for people struggling with life-threatening allergies, for whom the worry of accidentally eating the problem food is ever-present.
This was excerpted from “Making Sense of Food Allergies” which was published in the May 2022 issue of Experience Life magazine.