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Food Allergy Link to Arthritis Types

  • Date: 2015/03/24 (Rev. 2018/03/16)
  • Thomas C. Weiss - Disabled World
  • Synopsis : Article examines possible link between food allergies and arthritis conditions including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Main Document

Arthritis is one of the most debilitating conditions in the United States of America. Arthritis is the number one cause of lost work days for employees of the Boeing Corporation, for example. Treatment is limited and almost entirely concentrated on anti-inflammatory medications, not on eliminating the original cause of the inflammation. The word, 'arthritis,' means, 'joint inflammation.' There are basically two forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

A food allergy is an adverse immune response to certain kinds of food. Food allergies are distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacological reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions. The protein in the food is the most common allergic component. These kinds of allergies occur when the body's immune system mistakenly identifies a protein as harmful.

Osteoarthritis involves inflammation caused by degeneration of a person's joint and is due to chronic wear and tear - something many caregivers understand all too well. Rheumatoid arthritis is a more generic term used to describe pain, inflammation and swelling of a person's joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is usually experienced in a person's hands, although it may affect nearly any joint in the body. In children, rheumatoid arthritis is called, 'juvenile arthritis.'

If you have thought your joints felt sore after eating a meal, just to doubt yourself after finding there is no evidence linking food allergies and rheumatoid arthritis you are not alone. Until now there has been little evidence of certain foods causing joint inflammation. Evidence suggests it might be time to consider a rheumatoid arthritis diet.

The majority of studies have focused on, 'antibodies,' or proteins that attack and destroy foreign substances in a person's blood, yet the focus may have been incorrect. Food-related antibodies might show up in a person's gut rather than their blood if the person has rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers in Norway in the year 2006 pursued a study related to this and found some interesting results. The researchers discovered that in test tubes at least - the intestinal fluid of people who experience rheumatoid arthritis had increased levels of antibodies to proteins from the following:

  • Pork
  • Cereal
  • Codfish
  • Cow's milk
  • Hen's eggs

Food Allergies and Inflammation

According to Dr. Jonathan Brostoff, a person's gut is the first site of exposure to food and is the first to recognize possible allergens. Food allergies happen when a person's immune system mistakenly thinks something a person ate is harmful. In order to protect the person, their immune system produces, 'immunoglobulin E,' also referred to as, 'IgE antibodies,' against the particular food in question. The antibodies then set off a chain reaction that causes the person to experience symptoms.

In some people, the antibodies and proteins bind together and form immune complexes in their intestines. The immune complexes circulate and get into every part of a person's body to include their joints, where they might contribute to inflammation, according to Dr. Brostoff. After antibodies are made against a particular food, a person's body instantly recognizes the food the next time a person eats it and the cycle starts all over again. What should a person do if they believe certain foods are causing inflammation and making their rheumatoid arthritis worse

First: Bear in mind that the study by Dr. Brostoff is a preliminary one that examines results only in test tubes. Researchers withdrew intestinal fluid from participants in the study and looked at results only in test tubes.

Second: The researchers withdrew intestinal fluid from participants and then added proteins to the fluid in the lab.

Third: The participants did not actually eat suspected foods; unknowns do remain.

Chart showing arthritis statistics in America
Chart showing arthritis statistics in America

Arthritis Statistics in America

One out of every five adults in America report having doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Between the years of 2010 to 2012, 49% of adults age sixty-five and older reported a diagnosis of arthritis.

In people between the ages of 18 and 44, 7.3% reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Of people between the ages of 45 and 64, 30.3% reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Additional statistics related to arthritis in America include:

  • Men with doctor-diagnosed arthritis 19.1%
  • Women with doctor-diagnosed arthritis 26%
  • Obese adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis 31.2%
  • Under or average weight adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis 15.9%

Among the Hispanic population of adults, 2.9 million reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

In the non-Hispanic population in America, 4.6 million African-Americans reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

280,000 Native-Americans reported experiencing arthritis, while 667,000 Asian/Pacific Islanders reported having arthritis.

Arthritis and the Traditional Approach to Treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis is considered by conventional medicine to be an autoimmune condition of unknown cause. The belief ignores a large amount of scientific evidence pointing to food allergies as a major cause of arthritis. The medical community has concentrated almost entirely on treating arthritis with anti-inflammatory medications whether they are over-the-counter or prescription ones. The medications offer temporary relief to affected persons of swelling and pain, yet they do not cure arthritis. Over an extended period of time, this type of treatment also comes with a number of side-effects.

So is it possible to eliminate inflammation and pain associated with arthritis without taking medications? A lot of the time it is actually possible to eliminate the cause of inflammation without using medications to suppress it. Inflammation is actually caused by a person's immune system. The question that counts is, 'Why is the person's immune system creating inflammation

Determining if You Have a Food Allergy

The majority of doctors are not well-versed in evaluating people for allergies to food, to be plain. Skin testing is not adequate and a number of blood tests are not thorough enough to find a food allergy. The best way to determine if you have an allergy to a food product is to have your blood tested for both, 'IeG,' and, 'IgG,' antibodies. The test is done with an ELISA Food Allergy Panel that measures your immune response to around 100 different foods. Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are the most common cause of disability among adults in America and have been for at least fifteen years.

Most doctors are not well versed in evaluating patients for food allergies. Skin testing is inadequate, and many blood tests are not thorough enough to discover a food allergy. The best way to determine if you have a food allergy is to have your blood tested for both IgE and IgG antibodies to a variety of foods. This is done with an ELISA Food Allergy Panel, which measures your immune response to approximately 100 different foods.

Statistics

  • About 50% of children with allergies to milk, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and wheat will outgrow their allergy by the age of 6.
  • In Central Europe, celery allergy is more common. In Japan, allergy to buckwheat flour, used for soba noodles, is more common.
  • This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S. That's roughly two in every classroom.
  • Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department - that is more than 200,000 emergency department visits per year.
  • In the United States, food allergy affects as many as 5% of infants less than three years of age and 3% to 4% of adults. There is a similar prevalence in Canada.
  • Seventy-five percent of children who have allergies to milk protein are able to tolerate baked-in milk products, i.e., muffins, cookies, cake and hydrolyzed formulas.
  • Eight foods account for 90 percent of all reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction.
  • According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.
  • It is estimated that up to 12 million Americans have food allergies, and the prevalence is rising. 6 to 8 percent of children under the age of 3 have food allergies and nearly 4 percent of adults have them.

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