Brimhall Puzzle Piece

Food Intolerance Causes Obesity and Premature Aging

September 7, 2009


This weeks Puzzle Piece is discussing allergies/sensitivities from blood testing to compliment A/SERT testing and treatment. The author of the article below is Roger D. Deutsch and can be reached at his e-mail for further insights.

I just had my alcat blood test completed this week. It tells you what the offending foods or environment is so you can avoid them while you treat holistically, including Total Enzymes, Total Probiotics, Total Leaky Gut, L-Glutamine Plus, Total Para or Total Multimune or even Total CMO for an up regulated immune system, as well as other nutrition that might be indicated on the scan and the rest of the Six Steps.

Contact Dr Lynn Kelly-Stevens at for getting yourself and your patients tested. We will have a guest from Alcat speaking to us at Homecoming January 29-31 in Mesa, Arizona and a new update on the latest A/SERT and supportive nutrition as well. Dr. Lynn Kelly-Stevens will give a brief introduction to include information on the testing process at the Denver Nutri-West-Brimhall seminar Oct. 9-11, and supplementation for specific test results and the connection to health conditions, weight management, etc.; the extended lecture will be presented at Homecoming.

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Food intolerance, rather than food allergy, may be a significant factor in the increasing occurrence of obesity and degenerative diseases worldwide. Food intolerance, rather than chronic infection, may well be the most significant underlying cause of the excessive generation of toxic free radicals that eat away at cell membranes, protein structures and DNA. It is also likely the major as well as causative factor in the excessive production of immune chemicals that interfere with normal metabolism, and many degenerative diseases.
Both food intolerance and food allergy are increasing in prevalence. However, despite the long standing recognition of allergy, not to mention its potential lethalness, food intolerance may be, by far, the more significant problem.

True allergy is such that a teaspoon full of grass, weed or tree pollen, is enough to cause a agonizing misery for an entire season. Similarly, a few molecules of peanut may be sufficient to send the victim for a trip to the emergency room; possibly even the morgue. However, the sheer magnitude of exposures to intolerogenic foods, despite it’s less dramatic flare (pun intended) causes greater morbidity and mortality in the long run.

Allergy vs. Intolerance
The etiology of true allergy was unknown until the nearly simultaneous discovery of IgE by the Ishizaka’s from Colorado State U., and a team working at the Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, in 1967. It was soon determined that allergens (allergy generators) were taken up by antigen presenting cells (dendritic cells, macrophages and sometimes B lymphocytes) processed, and complexed with a major histocompatibility molecule (II) then translocated to the surface membrane, where it could be presented to interact with specialized receptors on corresponding T lymphocytes. Given the right chemical milieu, T cell signaling induces B cell transformation and production of allergen specific IgE antibodies. IgE antibodies play a crucial role in the pervasive mast cell production of histamine and other toxic mediators, thus giving rise to allergy symptoms, the hallmarks of which are excessive mucus production, smooth muscle contraction, nerve irritation, and general inflammation. The initial cellular degranulation and release of these mediators interact via substance P with the central nervous system and trigger the almost immediate reactions of mast cells systemically. The effect is quite dramatic, and intentionally so, as this pathway represents our natural defense against parasites, that are, unlike other pathogens (i.e., viruses bacterium) significantly larger than are the cells that must defend against them.

Whereas an allergic reaction can be triggered by exceedingly modest amounts of the relevant allergen, intolerance's to foods appear to be dose related. A significant factor when one considers that the average westerner now consumes in excess of one thousand kilos of food each year.

Economic pressure of the 1970’s impelled greater commercialization of agriculture which fostered production of less expensive foods, particularly soy and corn. Greater emphasis on newly developed and seductively tantalizing processing techniques to enhance shelf life, storage and transportation, ensued. Increased use of numerous artificial ingredients, such as colorings, flavor enhancer's, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and preservatives, followed. These trends triggered an increase in generalized inflammation, as the immune response to novel xenobiotic and distorted food like molecules became more prolific.

A confounding aspect of such intolerance is their insidious nature: smaller quantities of an offending food may be tolerable until such time as the food, or a chemical naturally occurring within the food, or one that has been added to it, exceeds a certain threshold.

It appears likely that the increase of reports of food intolerance is directly related to these trends as they now introduce foreign substances into the diet that may be perceived by the innate immune system as smaller pathogens and toxins. In fact, many of them are toxins, or may disrupt normal physiologic function, as do azo dyes, which inhibit phenolsulferotransferase P, required to breakdown the gut toxin, cresol P. When cresol P is not adequately degraded it may become neurotoxic. Little wonder, then, that along with the increased consumption of food colorings that we also see increased cases of hyperactive and even autistic children (and adults).

Similarly, the preponderance of corn and soy products in the diet imbalance an otherwise healthy fatty acid ratio that would occur if grains were not stripped of their natural germ component, fruits and vegetables were consumed more frequently, fish poultry and other game were not farm bred on these products, and cows still grazed on natural N-3 rich grass. Excessive N-6, acts as a stimulant to T cells and, along with higher levels of arachidonic acid, provide a rich substrate for pro-inflammatory mediator production, while, contrarily, N-3 fats balance immune function and metabolize into anti-inflammatory eicosanoids.

This “total load” phenomenon is further impacted by the integrity of the gut membrane which, under normal circumstances, forms a natural barrier to allergens entering the circulation. Infection, dysbiosis, secondary to: antibiotics, cortisone (exogenous or endogenous, caused by stress) and hormones used in birth control are many of the factors that may contribute to degradation of the tight junctures of the intestine leading to a “leaky gut”.

The absence of nutritional cofactors required for hepatic biotransformation are lower in commercially grown produce than in organic or biological produce. Together these represent the two dynamic factors that contribute to the cyclic nature of food intolerance versus the more fixed nature of food allergy.

Classical, also known as type I, or IgE allergy to food, has been recognized for centuries. The first recorded anaphylactic reaction to egg occurred in the sixteenth century (1) and fish induced allergy was reported in the seventeenth century (2). However, the more recent development of other non-allergic adverse reactions to foods, including food intolerance, attained a modicum of recognition following the work of Chicago based allergist, Theron Randolf, in the 1950’s (3).

Modern agriculture causes modern diseases; inflammation
The link between food intolerance, chemical sensitivity and increase in degenerative diseases associated with aging is clear. The increased incidence in metabolic syndrome, both in adults and children, coincides with the increased consumption of “junk food”. Lower nutritional content of food, and increased use of artificial ingredients, and synthetic chemical use constitute the major contributory factors. When dietary activators of the innate immune system are avoided, inflammation resolves, weight normalizes, and a number of other inflammatory based health problems subside. (Baylor reference, brostoff)

The pathways underlying non-IgE mediated reactions to foods, which may occur hours or even days after ingestion, making identification of offending foods complicated, still remain unclear.(3)

Adverse food reactions may be toxic or nontoxic reactions. Toxic reactions occur in anyone, given sufficient exposures, such as, histamine in scombroid fish poisoning. Nontoxic reactions occur in susceptible individuals and may result from chemicals occurring in aged cheese, chocolate; and may involve either immune mechanisms (allergy or hypersensitivity) or non- immune mechanisms. The former are referred to as, “hypersensitivities” the latter, “intolerances”.

Food intolerances are the most common. They are most likely caused by the pharmacologic activities of chemicals that naturally occur in the food; or, that are added to the food. Examples include tyramine-induced headache and untoward CNS activation following ingestion of caffeine and other stimulants.

However, some intolerances result from inherited enzyme deficiencies, and thus remain fixed. Some reactions are exacerbated by poor digestion related to intestinal dysbioses, or the overwhelming of specific detoxification pathways, that are rate limited. (4) Hence, addressing these underlying issues can result in tolerance of moderate quantities of the food if consumed on a rotational basis.

As numerous mechanisms may play a role in the pathogenesis of adverse reactions to foods .Therefore, definitive identification of offending foods relies upon provocation of symptoms following oral challenge carried out under double blind conditions. Various serum tests exist but are of questionable value. Whereas the testing of serum levels of allergen specific IgE antibodies is useful for classical allergy, it is of limited value for identification of foods and chemicals associated with intolerance (delayed-type reactions) that are not IgE mediated.

Hopes for IgG assays have not succeeded as IgG is a protective, associated with exposure; but, does not play a pathogenic role. Food allergy symptoms include anaphylaxis and urticaria. The range of manifestations of intolerance is broader; including not only GI symptoms, but also skin, respiratory, metabolic, musculo-skeletal, renal, CNS, and virtually every other organ system. Hence, it’s importance in clinical practice is significant, yet, it does not fall under the purview of any particular specialty and therefore has never been as well understood as allergy, and hence, not as well managed.

Allergy tests, such as skin tests or RAST, are not effective for identifying intolerances to food. A good test for intolerances would have to measure the effect of the food substance on the cells on the innate immune system in a non-mechanism dependent manner. It should show a good correlation with clinical symptoms, as confirmed by double blinded oral challenges, and should be repeatable. The only test that meets these criteria is the Alcat test.

Until recently, childhood diabetes was exclusively of the Type 1, auto-immune based destruction of insulin producing islet cells, type. The consequence: high blood sugar levels and tissue degeneration. Perhaps this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Adult onset diabetes is not auto-immune per se, but occurs when insulin receptors on muscle, liver and brain, lose effectiveness. Insulin resistance is a hallmark of metabolic syndrome, or, “Syndrome X” characterized by obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Initially, insulin is produced, but it cannot sufficiently facilitate the uptake of glucose because of the insensitivity of the insulin receptors. The pancreas then produces increasing quantities of insulin but of lower quality. Blood sugar levels increase as though there was a paucity of the sugar transporting hormone.

The innate immune system mediates this phenomenon. Interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha block insulin receptors. After the glucose is stored as fat in adipocytes, these cells themselves continue to produce these very same mediators and perpetuate a state of obesity – inflammation – and degeneration. Adult onset diabetes now occurs at younger ages. Along with this we see an increase in childhood obesity and associated health risk, social and quality of life factors. These occurrences are coincident with a general increase of overweight in the general population.

Studies have shown that inflammatory mediators block insulin receptors. This is the likely cause of insulin insensitivity. Epidemiological studies reveal an association between chronic activation of the innate immune system and metabolic syndrome as well as other degenerative conditions. These can target any bodily system, such as the CNS (as in Alzheimer’s) joints, rheumatoid arthritis, and many in between.


The frontline treatment for Type 1 diabetes and overweight in children and adults should be dietary, rather than pharmacological; emphasizing healthy natural, nutritious food along with exercise, stress management and the right nutritional supplementation.

Testing of white blood cell reactions, particularly the neutrophils, following in vitro challenge of whole blood is independent of any single or limited number of mechanisms. It thus reflects pathological responses to foods that are mediated by all on immunologic, non-immunologic, pharmacologic as well as toxic pathways. Whole blood analysis offers the additional advantage of reflecting in vivo response more accurately. Tests, such as the Alcat test, exhibits the highest degree of correlation with blinded challenges and is the most accurate. (5) Symptom resolution, normalization of weight, and broad clinical correlation, affirm this as a useful tool to be added to the arsenal of integrative health practitioners. (6)

1. Cohen SG, Saavedra-Delgado AM. Through the centuries with food and
drink, for better or worse II. Allergy Proc 1989;10:363-73.
2. Harper DS. Egg?—Ugh! In: Avenberg KM, editor. Footnotes on Allergy.
Uppsala: Upplands Grafiska AB; 1980. p. 52.
3. Bruijnzeel-Koomen C, Ortolani C, Aas K, et al. Adverse reactions to
food. Allergy 1995;50:623-35.
4. Deutsch, R. The Right Stuff: Use of Alcat testing for determining dietary factors effecting immune balance, health and longevity. Anti Aging Therapeutics. Chapt. 9, Vol. 10, 2007
5. Høj L. Diagnostic value of ALCAT test in intolerance to food additives compared with double blind placebo controlled (DBPC) ora l challenges. Alleg Clin Immun 1996: No 1, part 3.
6. Brostoff, J., et. al., 45th An. Congress ,Am. Col. Of Allergy & Imm.

Wow. I know this week’s addition was long and informative. There is more to come and don't forget the nutritional solutions...Leaky gut is one of the biggest factors leading to food reactions, and healing the gut is a primary concern. Glutamine regenerates intestinal cells, and since a health intestine sloughs roughly 70 billion cells a day, formulas containing glutamine are extremely helpful. Nutri-West's Total Leaky Gut synergistically combines glutamine and other nutrients to address all area of the permeable intestine. Nutri-West's Total Probiotics can also help. Probiotics heal the leaky gut and reduce food allergy symptoms. In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study, researchers found that "probiotics modified the changes related to allergic inflammation, and furthermore that probiotics may counteract inflammatory responses beyond the intestinal environment" (Isolauri E, et al. Clin Exp Allergy. 2000 Nov;30(11):1604-10.)." The health scan may show other areas, but these supplements will be critical. Watch the puzzle pieces and get to one of our Nutri-West/Brimhall Seminars real soon.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

John W. Brimhall, DC and the Wellness Team

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Dr. Brimhall's Health Puzzle Piece is a weekly email newsletter distribution that has been brought to you by the collaborative efforts of the Brimhall Wellness Team. All newsletters are published and available at a division of Health Path Products, LLC.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The nutritional information, suggestions, and research provided are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. Please see your health care professional in all matters pertaining to your physical health.