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Allergies and Gut Health: The Hidden Connection Revealed

The Surprising Connection to Rising Allergies

Welcome to another episode of the Empowered Nutrition podcast! We are so thrilled to have you here. As we bask in the warmth of summer, we’re bringing you a series of quick and casual episodes to match those chill summer vibes. So, if you’re listening to this as it comes out, get ready for a dose of valuable knowledge while you soak up the sun!

Before we dive into today’s  topic, I want to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude. We don’t usually ask for it, but your support means the world to us. If you love this podcast as much as we love creating it, please consider leaving a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts. Your feedback helps us spread the message of empowerment and good health to even more listeners!

Now, let’s unveil the mystery behind a pressing concern: allergies and their unexpected link to gut health. Yes, you heard that right! Allergies are becoming increasingly common, affecting around 10% of adults. But why is this happening, and what can we do about it? Stay tuned as we explore the fascinating world of epidemiology and its connection to your gut health. Prepare to be amazed at the intricate dance between your microbiome and those pesky allergies!

So, whether you’re lounging at the beach or taking a leisurely stroll, grab your earbuds, and let’s embark on this eye-opening journey together! Are you ready to discover the hidden connection between allergies and gut health? Let’s dive in! 🌟🌱🎧

Main Topic: Are Allergies Increasing? The Gut Health Connection (01:06 – 05:54)

  • Erin confirms that allergies are indeed increasing in prevalence, with approximately 10% of adults affected.
  • The rise in allergies is connected to research in epidemiology, which studies the incidence and prevalence of allergies.
  • Gut health plays a significant role in the development of both environmental and food allergies.
  • Dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut’s microbiome (primarily in the large intestine), is a major driver of allergies.
  • Dysbiosis disrupts the production of short-chain fatty acids, essential for maintaining a healthy gut lining.
  • Damage to the gut lining leads to increased intestinal permeability, allowing undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream.
  • The immune system responds by developing antibodies to these foreign substances, leading to allergies.
  • The cycle of unhealthy microbiome, damaged gut lining, and immune reactivity perpetuates and can escalate over time.
  • In the Western world, atopy (hyperreactivity of the immune system) is on the rise, leading to various allergic diseases like asthma and eczema.

Addressing Allergies: Focus on Gut Health (05:55 – 10:09)

  • Improving gut health is crucial to combat allergies and atopy.
  • Some clients might be resistant to the idea of addressing gut health alongside other health concerns.
  • Clients can either generically work on improving gut health or opt for a gut test to identify specific issues.
  • Dysbiosis is a broad term for unhealthy gut ecosystems, but various specific imbalances can contribute to allergic responses.
  • The next episode will provide practical tips and strategies to optimize gut health.

Resources: 

Gupta RS, Warren CM, Smith BM, Jiang J, Blumenstock JA, Davis MM, Schleimer RP, Nadeau KC. Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 Jan 4;2(1):e185630. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.5630. PMID: 30646188; PMCID: PMC6324316.

Warren CM, Jiang J, Gupta RS. Epidemiology and Burden of Food Allergy. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2020 Feb 14;20(2):6. doi: 10.1007/s11882-020-0898-7. PMID: 32067114; PMCID: PMC7883751.

Niewiem M, Grzybowska-Chlebowczyk U. Intestinal Barrier Permeability in Allergic Diseases. Nutrients. 2022;14(9):1893. Published 2022 Apr 30. doi:10.3390/nu14091893

Ready to dive in? Listen here!

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SUBTITLES:

Hey there, and welcome to this episode of the Empowered Nutrition podcast. Erin Skinner here, and so happy to have you. We are doing a very casual little summer series right now, so we’re just doing some really quicky little episodes if you’re listening to this when it comes out just to kind of connect with your chill summer vibes, answering a few little customer questions and a short format.

And so if you love this format, definitely let us know. And if you are loving the episode, we’d super, super appreciate a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts, we don’t usually ask for them, and I need to be a better podcast person and ask for your review. If you do love the podcast, we would really appreciate it. And with that onto this episode’s question. So someone ask us if allergies and are actually increasing and becoming more common. And so the answer is yes. There’s actually people that study this with epidemiology and they research the incidents or how common allergies are and allergies are.

Now around 10, 10% of adults have some type of allergy. And so the kind of question is becomes why is that? Why are allergies becoming more common? And thankfully there is research on that as well. And it’s actually very fascinating that scientists have been able to show that it’s actually gut health that usually is a big driver of, of allergies, whether it be an environmental or a food allergy. And I think that’s really important to understand because a lot of times in our practice we’ll have people that come to us for some other reason, like maybe they’re having a challenge with their, their digestion or their metabolic health, and then they’ll kind of mention their allergy as an aside. And when we suggest that we should take a look at gut health and that ties into their gut health, they’re usually surprised about that and not maybe even really ready to kind of get on board with that idea. And so I just, I would share that like there’s actually quite a bit of research on this. And what I think is really fascinating is that when we have a breakdown of when we have problems with our gut health, what I mean by that is there’s an imbalance typically primarily in the microbiome, which is in the large intestine. And that imbalance of that ecosystem of bacteria that should live there really causes a whole downstream set of consequences.

So when we have what’s called dysbiosis or that ecosystem is, is thrown off without now, then don’t have the byproducts that we need, those healthy bacteria to produce that are called short chain fatty acids. And the these short chain fatty acids that come from these healthy gut bacteria are important for helping to maintain the lining of the gut. And so then the lining of the gut really starts to suffer. And then you have more permeability between the contents inside the gut. So the food that’s getting digested and broken down, that’s turning into stool is too much, is crossing from that into the actual person’s body, basically through the lining of the gut. If you think about it, one good way to think about the gut lining is that it’s really, think of it almost like a gigantic wound that everyone has all the time. It’s not really a wound if it’s healthy actually, but it is an interface that your body has with the outside world. Kind of think of your digestive tract as everything from like mouth to anus is just things from the outside world. And you’re, and that gut lining is having to deal with that exposure to the outside world in a very similar way to the way that you would if you had a cut on your arm and you had an immune and inflammatory reaction to that cut. And so when we have that, the natural design of that interface become unhealthy because of the damage to the gut lining, we now have an immune system that isn’t able to really handle the degree of stimulation that it’s having in that gut lining from, again, the outside world.

So you eat a food, the protein is coming now too much into your bloodstream, and then the immune cells in your, in your blood have to then react to that food. And then that triggers you to kind of be in a phase where your immune system is over reactive to that food and develops antibodies to that food more specifically. And then you then have that allergy. So the, the question kind of is what do you do about it? Because what I think is really not well understood from the research is that’s that problem where you have the dysbiosis causing intestinal permeability or leaky gut causing the increase of inflammation and then the increase of immune antibody and reactivity. That’s, that’s more well understood. But what what they’ve actually shown in studies is that then in turn that overreactive inflammatory response in the gut ca is, involves this release of inflammatory cytokines and these inflammatory cytokines in turn then damage the gut lining farther. So you have this real vicious cycle going on where unhealthy microbiome leads to damaged gut lining leads to immune reactivity, and then immune reactivity in turn, then further damages gut lining.

And so I’m sure you can kind of see how this whole thing can just kind of spiral out of control over time. And so again, if you think about that, that would, that’s a big, that’s explains why there’s such a huge increase in not even just food allergies, especially in the western world where our microbiomes are less healthy, but also what’s called atopy in general, atopy refers to these families of allergic diseases that are not autoimmune, but it’s, it’s a, it’s a dysregulation of the immune system such that there’s hyper reactivity. So you would include in that asthma and then skin reactivity like eczema for example. So, so with the way that we live in the western world and the way that our diets are and the way that our lifestyle is, it impairs the microbiome. And that’s why in the western world we have this rapidly increasing prevalence of atopy and and including allergies.

So what you do about it, of course, is you work on gut health, which again is sounds simple probably, but it’s a huge leap for a lot of our clients. They’ll, they’ll struggle with that sometimes. And so one thing you can do if you’re not totally bought in on the idea of working on gut health is a lot of time we’ll make a decision around, okay, do we want to just generically work on gut health or do we wanna get your gut tested? Because there’s a lot of different ways that gut health can go wrong. There’s the dysbiosis we talked about, but how specifically does that look? Are you low on healthy bacteria? So which ones are you high on unhealthy bacteria? If so, which ones are you producing enzymes to break your food down? Well, do you have other types of inflammatory responses? Do you have, are you having a, an amount of blood that comes through your stool? Are you, do you have a parasite or a viral infection or a fungal or a candida overgrow? So there’s a whole, dysbiosis is a pretty general term that just re refers to unhealthy gut ecosystem. But in general there’s, there’s a lot of specific ways it can go wrong. So you can look at getting a gut test to see and address specifically what’s going on in gut health and see if there’s even any imbalances or you can come in with a more generic approach.

So this being a casual summer series, I’m gonna record a second episode. So the next episode that’s gonna come out is gonna be exactly what to do to optimize your gut health. And so hopefully you look forward to the episode and jump over and listen to it if it’s available or when it comes out. And with that, I’m gonna leave it at this. So definitely we love answering these quickie little questions. If you have a question you’d love to see us discuss on the podcast, send it over to us. You can find our email at in the show notes or it’s just info, or excuse me, it’s podcast at Empowered Nutrition Health. And if you’re Interested in getting insurance-based root cause nutrition centric healthcare, that’s also where we can help. You can head over to Empowered nutrition.health to learn more about our practice and how we can support you. And with that, hope you have a great rest of your day. Take care.

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