Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Soy Allergy and Supplements

There are many types of food allergies, any of which can be a very serious issue with dangerous consequences if not addressed properly. In the world of natural healing this is accomplished not just by simply eliminating from your diet what is causing the allergic reaction, especially since the cause may not be immediately known, but also by incorporating key nutrients into your diet. There have been many books written on this subject, whether you’re healing the body naturally or using them in combination with an Rx; supplements play a key role.

Front and center in the war from within is your immune system. It’s what fights off disease, but when weakened it can be an open door to many unwanted guests. Certain vitamins and minerals are used to help boost the body’s immune system. This is crucial since your immune system is already being taxed simply dealing with an allergic reaction. Some of the key players used to increase immune function within the body are Vitamins A, C, D, E, as well as Zinc.

Certain flavonoids such as Quercitin are used for their ability to lessen the severity of the body’s reaction to allergens. It’s their ability to reduce any and all inflammatory response caused by the allergen, as well as their antioxidant affect that makes flavonoids such an important nutrient.

Lets not forget about proper digestion when it comes to allergies. When the stomach lacks what it needs to properly break down foods during digestion, this undigested food can enter the blood stream causing your immune system to treat it as foreign bodies, resulting in an allergic reaction. There are many supplements used in aiding digestion, whether it’s enzymes such as bromelain, or probiotics (the good bacteria in your stomach).

Whatever the allergy there are many reasons to turn to supplements, but certain allergies can make taking supplements a bit tricky. Take soy for instance. If you suffer from a soy allergy you probably already know soy is in most all processed prepackaged foods, but it’s also important to be vigilant when taking supplements. This is primarily due to the incorporation of vitamin E in the form of mixed tocopherals, which are usually derived from soybeans. Now although I’ve been told that with the process used, there should be no soy remaining in the end product, I consistently have a reaction when vitamin E (soy) is on the label. I have seen soy in one form or another in many popular supplements; omega-3 (especially liquid form), all multivitamins, Vitamin D, and many of the probiotics on the market.

So what to do? In my case I have been able to work around this by maintaining a healthy diet first and foremost, as well as scrutinizing all labels and not just the basic ingredients; all product labeling! I have found allergy free supplements for some of the culprits mentioned above, but others I have not. I am a firm believer though, that nothing beats a healthy diet. Whole foods can be your best source of most all nutrients necessary for optimal health. Although I do take supplements, I always consult an expert in the field of natural healing. This way I get that extra boost of what my body really needs, rather than just walking blindly through my local health food store.

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