Supplement Perspectives

The Truth About Allergies and Supplements

<p style="text-align: justify; line-height: 150%;">Dr. C. Leigh Broadhurst has a few things to say about the subject. Listen up.</p>

Potential allergies to food ingredients utilized in nutritional supplements are grossly exaggerated by supplement naysayers. Unfortunately manufacturers must assume the worst from a legal standpoint and present multiple allergen declarations for products that are very safe.

For example, certain strains of yeast synthesize B vitamins. Culturing them is an inexpensive, safe, and mature technology utilized worldwide. Many people believe that since they have a baker’s/brewer’s yeast allergy they can’t take these supplements, totaling maybe 1 gram per day. Yet they consume kilogram quantities of breakfast cereals, energy drinks, meal replacement bars, crackers, white rice, etc. daily. All are fortified with vitamins from yeast. Nobody is declaring yeast on the labels, so these individuals don’t react to the products. If the products are labeled “contains yeast” then—behold—the food intolerance symptoms come on like wildfire.

It’s called the “reverse placebo effect”, where power of suggestion causes illness, discomfort, pain etc. instead of relief. Unless you have very severe, Type 1 anaphylactic allergies to yeast (and anything that sat next to yeast on the shelf), you don’t need to be concerned about multivitamins.

Worse, people who suffer from chronic Candida yeast (fungal) infections may have been told to avoid eating all yeast, including vitamins and (unbelievably) probiotics. Various genera of yeast are more dissimilar to each than all mammals are. Fungal infections that colonize humans require suppressed immunity, poor hygiene, and/or unhealthy diets and don’t have much in common with yeasts in beers and breads. In order to combat Candida, nutritional supplements are a must, but don’t need to be yeast-free.

Dairy allergies are fairly common. Some are true Type I anaphylactic allergies, but most are either lactose intolerance or Type II allergies, the latter of which cause mild but persistent symptoms, such as arthritis or sinus congestion, that stem from eating too much of a food that an individual doesn’t metabolize as well as he/she should. Most probiotics are cultured on dairy products, so they don’t bear the “dairy-free” allergy tag line.

Again, people are tragically misguided to avoid these life-changing supplements just because dairy makes their tummy rumbly. First, the total amount of dairy in probiotics is miniscule. Secondly, the precise reason why certain foods don’t metabolize as well as they should is because beneficial bacteria in our gut are lacking. Food allergies, obesity, and chronic gastrointestinal diseases are caused or exacerbated by an imbalance in intestinal flora. Probiotics have dramatic abilities to down-regulate immune responses in the intestines.

In the past everybody ate raw and fermented foods. Great Apes eat only raw food and have a much greater range of intestinal flora than we do, despite our more varied diet. Both food scientists and paleoanthropologists hypothesize that by trial and error, prehistoric and early agrarian humans developed “controlled spoilage” such as potted meat, sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, beer and wine so that the microorganisms that did the fermenting were those tolerated by humans. Now we can’t live a healthy life without them.

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