Eric M. Osansky, D.C.,
Natural Endocrine Solutions
Dr. Osansky discusses the role that food allergies have on your thyroid, immune system and overall health.
Millions of people have food allergies, and for those who have a thyroid condition, such allergies can not only exacerbate their symptoms, but can make it more challenging to restore their health back to normal through a natural thyroid treatment protocol. I’d like to begin with two basic questions, the first being, “what exactly are food allergies?” A basic answer to this is that a food allergy happens when the body reacts to certain food proteins, resulting in an immune system response which can lead to many different symptoms. In some individuals these symptoms can be mild, while in others they can be extremely severe.
The second question is, “why do many people get food allergies?” There really is no definitive answer to this, as genetics may play a role, and younger children seem to be more susceptible to food allergies. Many times these food allergies will disappear when one gets older, while sometimes the person will have them for the rest of their life. One big problem is that millions of people have food allergies, but aren’t aware of this. Others know they have food allergies, but don’t have any intentions of changing their eating habits, which is required to either manage the symptoms, or in some cases, cure the food allergy.
The Consequences Of Not Addressing One’s Food Allergies
For those people who have a thyroid condition and would like to restore their health back to normal using natural thyroid treatment methods, not addressing one’s food allergies can create a lot of problems. This is why when someone initially follows a natural treatment protocol I will recommend they avoid just about all of the common foods they might be allergic to. The following represents the primary foods I will advise them to avoid during this initial period:
I pretty much recommend that for the first 21 to 30 days of the protocol they only eat whole foods, consisting mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables, some organic chicken and turkey, certain types of fish, and to completely avoid the foods I listed above. Of course in some cases they might have to gradually change their eating habits before following such a strict diet. So some people might take one or two months weaning off the junk food, and then beginning the “thyroid diet” when they’re ready.
Eliminating all of these foods is extremely important when trying to recover from a thyroid condition, as eating these foods will continue to cause inflammation, and will therefore impede the healing process. One of the reasons for this is because eating foods you’re allergic to will affect digestion, and if you can’t digest the foods and nutritional supplements you consume while following a natural thyroid treatment protocol, you simply won’t recover.
The truth is that most people who begin a natural thyroid treatment protocol don’t digest their food well. And while avoiding these foods alone isn’t the sole answer to addressing these digestive issues, doing this without question is very important. If the body has a leaky gut or any other health problem that is affecting digestion, eating well and eliminating any foods the person is allergic to are vital steps to fixing their digestive issues.
Why Not Conduct Food Allergy Testing Before Beginning Such A Protocol?
I am definitely not opposed to doing some testing for food allergies before a patient begins a natural thyroid treatment protocol. In fact, many years ago, before I personally went through my very first detoxification, I obtained an Elisa food panel, which is a blood test which determines many of the different foods one is allergic to. This is a great test, although some people need additional testing, such as Cellular Immune Food Reaction tests, which can detect more subtle food allergies which are not picked up by the Elisa panel.
The company Diagnos-Techs has a GI Health Panel which consists of a group of screenings of the gastrointestinal tract, consisting of both saliva and stool specimens to help determine GI function. They also have a FIP Food Intolerance Panel that detects four of the most common food intolerances. So there are numerous options out there for food allergy testing and for determining overall gastrointestinal health.
However, there are a few reasons why I don’t recommend food allergy testing to most of my patients before they begin a natural thyroid treatment protocol. First of all, these tests are expensive, and many people can’t afford these tests when combined with some of the other tests I commonly recommend (adrenal stress index, hormone panel, etc.). Obviously my main goal is to do what’s best for the patient, regardless of the expenses involved. If I truly think the patient will benefit from receiving a certain test, I will without question recommend it, regardless of the cost. Of course this doesn’t mean they are forced to obtain the test, but the point I’m trying to make is that I will recommend any tests I think the patient needs which might be important for their recovery.
A second reason why I don’t recommend a food allergy test to most patients initially is because regardless of what the test says, I will have them avoid all of the common food allergens. Now you may argue that they might be allergic to a “non-common” allergen which I am giving them permission to eat, and this is true. But this is rare, and I find that most people who go through the “thyroid diet” I recommend do fine. For those who don’t, and if it appears they might be allergic to a “non-common” food allergen, then at that point I will recommend a food allergy test such as the Elisa Panel.
A third reason why I don’t recommend food allergy testing initially is because I think it’s preferable to receive such testing when someone is getting ready to reintroduce these foods into their diet again. Because, while some people will always test positive for these foods, some people’s food allergies will actually be cured once their digestive issues are fixed. So I’d rather have someone obtain a food allergy test after they have fixed their digestive problems, as this in my opinion will give a better indication as to what they are truly allergic to, compared to them obtaining these tests when their digestive system is already compromised.
Can One Avoid Food Allergy Testing Altogether?
If someone doesn’t want to spend the money to obtain a food allergy test, there are definitely other options they can take. For example, once someone goes through the initial “thyroid diet” that consists of avoiding all of the common allergens, they can gradually reintroduce one food at a time. If taking this approach then it’s important to only reintroduce a single food at a time, and the process involves eating the food for three days, and then seeing how your body reacts.
So if someone wanted to begin by reintroducing gluten into their diet, they would eat gluten based foods for three days, and see how their body reacts. It’s probably a good idea to keep track of this, so that whenever you ate gluten, you would actually document how you felt immediately after eating it, as well as 30 and 60 minutes thereafter. You don’t want to go overboard though, as you wouldn’t want to constantly eat gluten throughout the day during this 3-day period, but instead would want to consume gluten at a few different intervals throughout the day.
In summary, having food allergies can affect your recovery when following a natural thyroid treatment protocol. The obvious solution is to avoid everything you are allergic to, either by obtaining one or more food allergy tests to determine what you’re allergic to, or by simply eliminating all of the common food allergens from your diet for an extended period of time and then slowly reintroducing them. Either way, addressing any food allergies you have is an important part of a natural thyroid treatment protocol.
About the Author
Dr. Eric M. Osansky, D.C., received a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. Dr. Osansky is a Certified Nutrition Specialist, which requires advanced-degree education qualifications, completing and passing an examination, and substantial nutrition experience. Although he’s not an herbalist, Dr. Osansky has received a certificate of herbal therapy through the Australian College of Phytotherapy. is a licensed healthcare professional who focuses his practice on conditions such as hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease. For more information, please visit his Facebook fan page.