How do food allergies or sensitivities impact fertility?
When considering healthy eating it is very important to factor in how food allergies/sensitivities impact fertility, your ability to conceive, your pregnancy and the health of your offspring.
Your immune system and fertility are closely related. More and more research shows that what we eat not only directly correlates to how fertile our bodies will be, but also dictates the health of our offspring and subsequent generations.
In fact, more and more studies are discussing the concept of immunological infertility. One of the causes of immunological infertility is food allergies, which illustrates the profound effect of food on our ability to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Since more than 65% of our immune system ‘lives in the gut’ it is no wonder food impacts our health and fertility.
The actual process of conception initiates an immune response because the body initially perceives the embryo to be foreign. An ‘over-reaction’ of the immune system may translate into a negative immune reaction against the developing embryo.
Some researchers believe that increased irritation and inflammation of the gut (possibly due to allergies and other aggravating substances), combined with an overactive immune response, may damage the embryo, prevent implantation and possibly even lead to miscarriage.
Another important point regarding food allergies is that research now shows that an allergic parent may pass his/her allergies onto a developing baby, thus contributing to an allergic child.
So, constant immune assault from toxins or allergens may turn the body against itself, leading to auto-immune antibodies and conditions that affect fertility. Hashimoto’s disease, an auto-immune condition that causes hypothyroidism has been linked to gluten sensitivity. A healthy functioning thyroid is important for fertility . Conditions such Endometriosis are often associated with sensitivities too
Hence I recommend to my patients that all known allergens/sensitivities be totally avoided in the important time prior to conception and during pregnancy. The message is simple: Why should you risk it? Your general health will be so much better too.
Sometimes people don’t connect unpleasant symptoms with their allergies/sensitivities:
- Symptoms of food allergies/sensitivities include:
- Lack of energy
- Stomach pain
- Gas, cramps or bloating
- Irritability or nervousness
- Anxiety (acute or chronic)
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Bed wetting
- Coeliac Disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Hyperactivity Disorder
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Itchy skin problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Water retention
- Weight control problems
so, to be safe, it is always best to investigate via comprehensive allergy/sensitivity testing. Checking for food allergies is vital because they are so prevalent (see below):
|Most Common Food Intolerances and Sensitivities||Prevalence|
|Dairy(including lactose intolerance)||~75%||3 in 4 people|
|Yeast(e.g. Candida infections)||~33%||1 in 3 people|
|Gluten(including wheat intolerance and coeliac disease)||~15%||1 in 7 people|
|Fructose and/or sugar||~35%||1 in 3 people|
|Miscellaneous foods||~1%||1 in 100 people|
The most conclusive way to find out whether you have allergies or not, is by having a comprehensive food allergy test, with a referral from your health care practitioner.
Most basic (i.e. dairy, gluten eggs) allergy tests are too basic to show you the entire picture so it is important that you find a practitioner who knows how to order and interpret comprehensive tests (90+ foods), or you may waste your money and lose the opportunity to transform your health.
If you choose to have a food allergy test you should only begin avoiding the foods you think, or know, you are allergic to AFTER you have completed testing. Otherwise, your allergens may not show up in the test and you will not have an accurate report on which to base future eating habits.
Obviously, the benefit of a food allergy test is that it eliminates the trial and error method of figuring out what to avoid. Why do you need to avoid allergens completely? Well, why would you want to (even slightly) provoke your immune system, particularly when the health of your unborn child is at stake? For more information Food sensitivities and testing click here
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