Food Intolerance and Allergy

Dr. Otis G. Carroll is considered one of the most significant naturopathic physicians of this century, practicing from 1917-1962 in Spokane, Washington. With all of his successes, he was unable to help his chronically ill son.

This stimulated his continual search for better methods of diagnosis leading to a method of testing for foods which are not well digested or metabolized in a particular person, and thereby become a source of maldigestion, intestinal toxemia, dysbiosis, and chronic irritation to body tissues.

Through this work, Carroll discovered that his son was intolerant to fruit, which he had always thought was a perfect and healing food for anyone. He removed fruit from his son’s diet, and for the first time his son recovered.

In applying this method of testing to all of his patients from this point on, he determined that there were common categories of food intolerance. Most people tested intolerant to one of the following foods or food categories: Milk, Egg, Meat, Sugar, Fruit, Potato, Gluten, Soya. Food combinations are also tested. For example, intolerance to eating two types of foods within 4 hours of eachother. One common combination is Potato + Grain.

Since its inception in the 1920’s tens of thousands of patients have proven its reliability. In my practice, I would say this has been one of the most important dietary tools to helping people get better. Currently, we are aware of several different kinds of reactivity to foods. Intolerance has to do with digestion and metabolism, and is an enzymatic phenomonon, genetically determined. Food Intolerance means that a particular body does not digest or metabolize a particular food well. As a consequence, maldigestion occurs, and toxic metabolites are formed in the intestine and
absorbed into the blood. These will affect or interfere with normal function of the body, and become part of the basis of chronic illness.

Avoiding your food intolerances, allows your metablolism and immune system to function optimally, allowing the body’s own natural healing processes to work effectively.

Your digestion is the seat of our immune system, our neurotransmitters, and health. You must begin with how you digest and assimilate your nutrition if you want to heal. If the food is not working for you, it is working against you. If improperly digested, the food intolerance will sap your strength, divert your immune system, and stimulate a disease process, affecting the weakest area of your metabolism. This is why one person will have asthma and someone else will have arthiritis. The toxins from the improperly digested food will affect any tissue that can’t resist it. Individual weak areas are often genetically determined.

Allergy is different. Allergy is the occurrence of an immune-mediated antibody-antigen (protein) response to certain components of foods. The immune system can perceive a food as if it were a foreign protein and the body inapproppriately reacts, creating symptoms. Allergy test results can change rapidly from day to day in a patient and also vary greatly from one lab analysis procedure to another. Allergy is often the result of an underlying intolerance and can often be considered a symptom of underlying intolerance and/or immune dysfunction. Some food intolerances (ie. Dairy) also develop into allergies and eating a lot of a food intolerance can cause more allergies. Identification of the food intolerances is key factor to regaining optimal health.

By Dr. Kathleen Finlay, BScH, N.D.