Joseph Smith, DC

Diets need to be tailored to individual needs

Food Sensitivities: Do they Matter?

Date aired: March 17, 2017


Episode Description

One diet does not fit all. Each person may have unique food sensitivities that lead to inflammation and set off a long chain of adverse reactions leading to chronic illnesses. Foods need to be broken down for the body to use. When foods are not broken down and when the gut is permeable to allow undigested proteins into the blood stream, the body produces antibodies against the undigested protein that seep out of the gut. Through cross mimicry, these antibodies may also attack different parts of the body. Through this process, food sensitivities can lead to chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and dementia. Dr. Smith will discuss the how to detect food sensitivities, their health consequences and how to avoid adverse health effects. The importance of the microbiome, digestive enzymes, sufficient stomach acid will be addressed so that the listener can live with his unique response to foods in his diet.

Food Sensitivity-  when a person develops an immune to food through proinflammatory mechanisms.

  • Food sensitivity always starts with incompletely digested foods independent of gut health
  • Low stomach acid always results in undigested foods
  • food is improperly broken down into individual amino acids but instead presents as chunks of food
  • The gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) surrounds the small intestines and composes 70 % of the body’s immune system.
  • When the lining of the small intestines breaks down, undigested food chunks come into contact with the white blood cells surrounding the small intestines (in the GALT). As these clumps are not recognized by the body, the body mounts a immune response against them
  • As soon as the heart beats, this local inflammation becomes systemic

Food Sensitivity vs. Food Allergy

Food Allergy

  • An immediate, life threatening reaction to a food
  • Involves IgE antibodies
  • Epi Pen is used in this situation.

Food Sensitivity

  • IgG and IgA antibody reactions
  • This is slower involving the mucosa and a blood borne response
  • This can leads to inflammation and every chronic condition including depression

Most common foods that are Not Completely Digested

  • Gluten hard to break down binds to intestine and by it self creates inflammatory response. When this glue like gluten is removed from the intestine, it leaves a hole in the intestine and a “leaky gut.”
  • GMO
  • Processed grains fried, altered to increase shelf life
  • Non-organic foods
  • Chemical in pesticide binds to protein in food so protein no longer recognizable to body’
  • Food colorings

Causes of small intestinal lining break down

  • lectins are proteins in grain, eggs nuts night shades.
  • Gluten and lectins bind to the inside of intestine like gum. When the body pulls this sticky “glue” off, a hole is left
    • Gluteomorphin is the addictive part of wheat
  • Unhealthy gut bacteria /microbiome
  • Hypothyroid
  • Head Injuries (TBI) can occur within hours
  • Acute and chronic stress
  • Lyme disease
  • Nutrition
  • Environment
  • Any undigested food

A person with healthy intestine can still develop

an autoimmune reaction through dendritic cells reaching from blood or lymphatic tissue and assessing the undigested protein as a foreign body against which an autoimmune reaction should be mounted.  This can lead to a leaky gut.

Causes of incomplete food breakdown

  • Low stomach acid (hypochloridia)
    • Neurological difficulties resulting in poor vagal nerve signals, wine, soda, H pylori, antacids
  • Low thyroid (there are 24 different patterns)
  • Anything that takes blood away from the stomach
    • Stress removing blood from the stomach for “flight or fight” reaction.
  • Inefficient digestion
  • Poor sleep

Oral tolerance

Oral tolerance occurs when our bodies do not react to food going down the system.  That is no autoimmune reaction is generated.

Loss of Oral Tolerance

Occurs when an immune reaction occurs to food.  This generates inflammation that spreads through out the body even to the brain

  • This can result in an autoimmune reaction to any tissue in the body.
  • Loss of oral tolerance can lead to chemical hypersensitivity and vice versa. (chemical sensitivity include a strong reaction to things such as carpet smells, cigarettes, exhaust, pollen and mold)

Heartburn /GERD

  • Acid reflux often secondary low stomach acid
  • Low stomach acid results in an incomplete breakdown of foods causing putrification producing excess acid leading to acid reflux
  • Antacids relieve symptoms but does not address underlying issues
  • Low stomach acid can result in low acid in the small intestines so the pancreas and gall bladder do not produce enzymes and bile accordingly.
  • Hence low stomach acid leads to incomplete digestion
  • Some of the undigested food releases toxic materials
  • Need to look at causes of the low stomach acid
    • Hormonal
      • Thyroid
      • insulin
      • cortisol,
    • Neurological difficulties resulting in poor vagal nerve signals
    • Wine
    • Soda
    • Excess water consumption
    • H pylori growth
    • antacids
    • Neurologic Problems
    • Infections
  • In summary, a loss of stomach acid (which is caused by many things such as low thyroid, stress, an imbalanced vagus nerve results in incompletely digested clumps of food which gets out of the gut to cause an autoimmune reaction and the sensitivity to anything in the environment.
  • Food sensitivity can result from a loss of chemical tolerance and vice versa.

Molecular Mimicry

  • Can cause an autoimmune disease because parts of these foods are similar to body tissues
  • The body misidentifies these proteins creating inflammatory response
  • Gluten sensitivity may result
    • in Hashimoto Disease (thyroiditis) because the antibodies mistake the thyroid enzyme for gluten.
    • Gluten ataxia because parts of gluten are similar to the Purkinje Cells in the Cerebellum (balance cells leading to gluten ataxia)

Cerebellar ataxia directly linked to gluten

  • insulin dependent diabetes by attacking the islet cells of the pancreas.
  • Examples include corn diary, and soy
  • Molecular Mimicry can result in a reaction to a food that has never been eaten.

Testing for food sensitivities

  • Cyrex labs
  • Tests IgG IgA  antibodies to various foods both cooked and uncooked.
  • To the many components of gluten, not just the gliadin antibody which is what MDs typically test for.
  • Some people cannot generate an immune response.  This condition is assessed through measuring SIgA


  • Goal of any treatment is to address autoimmune issues and make sure we can have ability for oral tolerance
  • More complex than giving glutamine to heal leaky gut and removing offending foods
  • Removing the offending foods will result in a honeymoon phase where the person feels better. However, removing the offending food removes the torch that burns the house down, but does not repair the house.
  • Removing foods results in eating fewer foods which can exacerbate the lack of oral tolerance resulting in a decrease of oral tolerance.
  • Eating a lot of any particular food can lead the body down the same inflammatory path
  • It is important to address the cause of the loss of oral tolerance.

Treatment Approach

  • Fix oral tolerance as well as leaky gut
  • Fixing Oral Tolerance involves more than Diet
  • Identify food sensitivities
  • Need to solve oral tolerance puzzle
  • address each system so can tolerate these foods
  • want people to eat more foods
  • all these systems are interconnected

Examples of Causative Factors

  • causes of injury to vagus nerve,
  • causes of increases of cortisol or insulin,
  • thyroid, disorder sleep , stress, infection
  • Many other contributing factors

Brain Gut Connection

  • A leaky gut is connected with a leaky blood brain barrier.
  • Any local inflammation in the gut can go to the brain
  • With a leaky blood brain barrier, substances can pass into the brain and can activate the microglial cells causing inflammation and neurodegeneration which is hard to stop.
  • This leads to brain fog and can lead to Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, depression, multiple sclerosis (MS), and accelerate any neurodegeneration

Functional Neurology

  • Clinicians who look at brain and network and can determine which parts of the brain/ nervous system work well and which don’t.   ‘Functional neurologists look for brain areas where the light is dim.  Neurologists look for power outages.
  • As the eye has the weakest muscles of the body, eye sarcodes, pupil reflexes are used in the assessment
  • Treatment involves stimulating the regions of the brain that are under-stimulated
  • Avoid stimulating the over stimulating / over excited brain regions.