CAN FOOD SENSITIVITIES CAUSE INFERTILITY?
Food sensitivities, allergies and intolerances are all different, but they’re also very similar. Both are caused by an immune reaction, but the difference is in the timing. Allergy is immediate and intolerance is delayed, making it harder to pinpoint the offending food. Allergic reactions release histamine, which is why they show up on skin-prick tests, while intolerances don’t. But the cause is similar – a food protein (allergy) or a food chemical (intolerance) and so are the symptoms – a rash, stomach complaints, breathing difficulties etc. However, allergy can be life-threatening, so I’m sure we all agree it cannot be ignored. Intolerance, on the other hand, may lead to life-long illness, so maybe it’s about time we paid it some more attention!
Before we go into the specifics on how food sensitivities/intolerances impact our hormones and fertility, let’s jump into a deeper understanding in how they impact out bodies.
Intolerances and Sensitivities are different, but are still an immune response. Our bodies see these invaders, such as food chemicals, as they would a virus or bacteria that’s inside a cell, they attach to the cell and either engulf it or destroy it. It’s an abnormal physiological response to food chemicals, and can be caused by naturally-occurring compounds such as minerals, salicylates, vitamins, amines, glutamates, amino acids, gluten and milk protein, to name a few. Reactions are much slower than for allergies, usually taking 12 hours or sometimes days to show up, and the reaction can depend on how much you eat as well as what you at with it. This is why food intolerances can cause chronic health complaints, such as constant fatigue, brain fog, respiratory infections, diarrhea, bloating, digestive pain, chronic pain, constant inflammation and migraines, because we don’t know what the cause is and keep eating it! This chronic inflammatory state is not a happy place to be. Not only is it uncomfortable and debilitating, but it can lead to more serious complaints down the track, like fibromyalgia, auto-immune diseases, cancer and more.
“Allergies are not just a nuisance to be ignored until they can no longer be denied—they constitute a health problem that must be treated. Untreated allergies can lead to more serious health problems as we get older. Blood pressure problems, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, arthritis, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders and other degenerative diseases can develop as a result of untreated allergies. If we do not take the time to treat allergies and to get well now, we will have to take the time to be sick later.”
- Jacquenline Krohn, M.D., from her book Allergy Relief & Prevention
Here are just a few of the chemical released by your immune system when you are suffering from sensitivities or intolerances and the kinds of symptoms they can cause you to have:
Prostaglandins: Pain, shortness of breath, fast heart rate/heart palpitations, flushing, diarrhea, abdominal cramps
Histamines: Headaches, itching, burning sensations, crampy abdominal pain, general sense of anxiety with deep, “odd” body sensations. Patients sometimes say, “I feel weird all over” or complain of “…deep, pricking, or crawling sensation…”
Cytokines: Fever, sense of impending doom, memory loss, brain fog, headaches, loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, sleepiness, fatigue, depression and anxiety.
Also, these chemicals trigger the release of more chemicals, amplifying and prolonging your symptoms for days to weeks.
If these chemicals cause us to feel bad, why does our body release them in the first place?
These chemicals play an important roll in your body’s defense because they notify other immune cells that a potential “threat” has been found. That’s great if we were talking about a virus, a bacteria, or a parasite because they’re realthreats. Without these chemicals we would probably die from a simple infection.
Your immune system will make what’s called an “antibody” to the food (or nutrient) intolerance/sensitivity. The antibody latches onto the allergic food like the space shuttle latches onto the space station. When that happens, science calls it a “circulating immune complex” (CIC).
As soon as a CIC is formed, it sets off another round of internal (and sometimes delayed) allergic reactions, which causes more symptoms! If your body doesn’t get rid of it, the CIC will leave your bloodstream and settle somewhere in your body.
Guess where CICs settle? Your muscles, brain, gut, joints, tissues and organs. (They Guess what they do there? They set off constant and more round of allergic reactions and you get even more symptoms over the months and years.
Is it finally connecting why our country is in a chronic state of inflammation and hormone imbalances?
This process constantly happens over and over again, every time you eat something you’re sensitive to.
Are you beginning to see why you need to get this fixed if you ever want to feel better or become pregnant?
Now, I want you to think about this for a minute. Where can these sensitive foods and immune complexes go? Anywhere your blood goes!That means everywhere!
A food reaction can cause a symptom or problem anywhere in your body and brain.
Imagine, if the foods or CICs went to your bladder… you might have to go to the bathroom every hour all night long. (But of course, the MD can’t find anything wrong with your bladder or kidneys.)
If they went to your arms and hands you might have swelling, tingling, or pain there. (Nerve conduction tests, allergy tests and EMG’s would all be negative, wouldn’t they?)
If they went to your skin your may have psoriasis, eczema and other weird and uncomfortable skin issues. Topicals won't work and you continue to suffer.
If they went to your endocrine and reproductive system, you may suffer from endometriosis, cysts/fibroids, chronic bleeding, infertility and pain.
If they end up in your brain you might have anxiety, be depressed, or have “brain fog.” Your brain might have trouble falling asleep at night, too. (Tests are negative—more drugs prescribed.)
I could go on like this for days.
Why have food sensitivities/intolerances become such a problem? There are several reasons why:
#1 our food supply has been hampered with through GMO’s, pesticides and cross-breeding.
#2 our food (yes even organic) has 80% less nutrients due to mineral deficient soil.
#3 the growing rate of c-sections. C-sections stop the baby from acquiring an immune system naturally by seeding his/her microbiome through vaginal birth.
#4 There are more environmental triggers, affecting the pregnant mother as well as the allergy-prone child. As each generation goes on, there is less and less exposure to childhood infections and weird and wonderful microbes, causing more sensitive immune systems.
Five Reasons Foods Sensitivities May Cause Infertility
So why do foods reactions lead to difficulties getting pregnant? As I mentioned earlier, the female reproductive system requires a careful feedback loop from the pituitary gland in the brain to the ovaries and uterus, which is highly sensitive to diet/lifestyle. If there is a problem with any part of this process then fertility is affected. Here are five of the most common reasons food sensitivities can lead to infertility:
#1 Chronic Diarrhea: is a common symptom of food reactions. It can affect the absorption of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and omega 3 fatty acids from the food we eat. Any of these nutrient deficiencies can affect the ovulation mechanism and lead to menstrual disorders and infertility.
#2 Immune Reactions Against Foods: either from IgG delayed food sensitivities or from Celiac disease can cause an increase in the production of toxins and inflammation that can affect ovulation and the menstrual cycle. Specifically, the toxins can increase the hormone Elevated Prolactin has been associated with Celiac disease and gluten reactions.
#3 Elevated Prolactin: the hormone normally produced while women are breast-feeding, inhibits ovulation. Prolactin has an effect on the pituitary gland and the production and TSH, FSH and LH, the two hormones that play a role in the growth and release of an egg from the ovary. Too much prolactin means you won’t ovulate – no ovulation means no egg; no egg means no pregnancy. Food Sensitivities create chronic elevated Prolactin levels.
#4 Chronic Low Level Inflammation AKA “the silent killer”: that occurs with food sensitives can, not only cause Leaky Gut, but has also been associated with damage to the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The fallopian tubes play an important role in connecting the ovaries to the uterus and, if they are damaged, there is difficulty getting an egg to the uterus for fertilization or implantation into the uterine wall.
#5 The Cervical Mucus: the female body produces around ovulation plays an important role in fertility. Cervical mucus serves two roles. First, sperm cannot live in an acidic environment and the mucus provides a buffer that protects the vaginal pH from becoming too acidic. Secondly, healthy mucus is rich in carbohydrate-based food that provides fuel for the sperm to help them make their long journey to the egg. When we have inflammation created from eating foods or nutrients that we are reactive to, the quality and quantity of cervical mucus can be altered. This alteration in cervical mucus can play a role in our fertility.
Not only can Food Sensitivities be a major cause of infertility, they also can raise the risks of miscarriage
Food sensitivities can also increase the risk of miscarriage. If mom is low in nutrients due to poor absorption through her digestive system and constantly reacting to foods and nutrients, then the baby does not receive proper nutrition either and there is an increased risk of miscarriage. Celiac is also known to cause increased miscarriages due to an autoimmune reaction. This reaction is called antiphospholipid syndrome and occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks some of the normal proteins in your blood. Antiphospholipid syndrome can cause blood clots to form in the placenta affecting blood flow and the nutrients available to the developing baby. This reaction can lead to a miscarriage.
So what can be done about these dreadful sensitivities? In truth, there are only 2 approaches to deal with them…
#1 Avoidance: this becomes an exhausting game of cat and mouse, and nearly impossible when we are reactive to nutrients which are in everything. ie: minerals, vitamins, amino acids etc.
#2 Treatment: Biofeedback is an effective and lasting treatment to eliminate your sensitivities for good! It is non-invasive, quick and painless. In addition to treating your sensitivities, your entire body begins to come into harmony, healing and strengthening itself balancing out other challenges as the body is more equipped to heal and strengthen.
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