By Janet Angel, PhD
Do you have allergies? Millions of people develop allergies in their lifetime. But why?
Generally, stress plays a major role in the development of various allergies such as hay fever, pet, environmental, or food, due to the effect it has on the digestive system. As primitive people our "fight or flight" response kicked in only in an emergency, and our blood was diverted from digestion and other processes to feed the muscles we needed to survive. Today, in our stress filled lives, the "fight or flight" response is "on" much of the time. As a result, our autonomic nervous system is working overtime.
The autonomic nervous system is a part of the nervous system that is not under conscious control and it regulates the internal organs. If the organs are not functioning up to par, toxic waste can accumulate causing further stress on the body.
Detoxification is one of the more widely used treatments and concepts in the integrative field of medicine. It is based on the principle that illnesses can be caused by the accumulation of toxic substances (toxins) in the body. The end result is inadequate secretion of enzymes and lower numbers of friendly intestinal flora, which are needed to help the digestive process.
Instead of complete digestion, the food in the digestive tract stagnates and putrefies, and is absorbed into the bloodstream partially digested only to activate the immune system, causing food sensitivities and allergies. The faulty digestion also encourages an imbalance of intestinal flora, causing a dysbiosis, where organisms such as Candida can grow to unhealthy ratios.
Enzymes are protein molecules that assist in every metabolic process of the body. Besides digesting food, enzymes also digest other things such as blood clots, growths, and invading microorganisms. They make possible the beating of the heart, and our very breathing and thinking. There are three types of enzymes: metabolic or systemic, digestive, and food. Digestive enzymes digest food in the gastrointestinal tract. However, when we take extra digestive enzymes, we take the burden off the body so the body can better detoxify itself.
Conditions such as acid reflux can be a result of food intolerances/allergies, or it can be from the lack of proper digestion from too few enzymes. If we are stressed, we make fewer enzymes, and as we age, we make fewer enzymes and less stomach acid.
When food particles cross through the intestines into the bloodstream without being completely digested, the immune system is alerted to these "foreign" invaders and mounts an attack. The food is thereafter considered an enemy and becomes an allergen. Allergens can cause an immediate response that can send some people racing for the emergency room.