People often blame food additives like dyes, preservatives, emulsifiers and flavor enhancers for chronic hives and other skin eruptions. But a new randomized trail shows that they are almost surely wrong.
March 21, 2014 (The New York Times)
Over 10 years, researchers conducted “oral challenge” tests (in which patients ingest a suspect food and wait for a reaction) on 100 people who had been suffering from skin irritations with no known cause for six weeks or longer, what doctors call chronic urticaria. They tested 11 of the additives most commonly implicated in allergic reactions, including aspartame, monosodium glutamate, yellow dye No. 6, nitrites and nitrates. Forty-three of the patients said they had had allergic reactions to such additives.
In single-blind tests, in which the doctor knew what substance was being tested but the patient did not, two patients developed a skin reaction. But neither had a reaction in a subsequent double-blinded test, in which neither doctors nor patients knew what substance was being tested.
No other patients had responses to any of the 11 additives, and there were no gastrointestinal, respiratory or other symptoms. The findings appeared in the March issue of The Journal of Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
“If you have chronic urticaria, you don’t need to avoid certain foods because of food additives,” said the lead author, Dr. Jessia P. Rajan of the Scripps Clinic in San Diego. “Those things are unlikely to cause exacerbation.”
The most common food sensitivities are, in order – wheat, dairy, soy, and corn. The nightshades like tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes are a distant fifth. The histamine response (see my blog on Inflammation – Part 2) that creates urticaria is to the food that contains these additives, not the additives themselves.
However, that is not to say that those additives are safe or healthy. The effects of most additives are from long term storage in the body as artificial additives are very difficult to remove. They require detoxification through both Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification.
Everything that the body gets rid of goes through Phase 1. It is Phase 2 that is overwhelmed. In a natural setting, 100 years ago or more, Phase 2 liver detoxification was reserved for spent hormones that our body made and alcohol. I list alcohol as most societies have used some form of alcohol for thousands of years.
Today, virtually every artificial additive, preservative and all other man-made chemicals, including prescription drugs, have to go through Phase 2 liver detoxification in order to be removed from the body. To make matters worse, many of these chemicals are much more toxic and carcinogenic after going through Phase 1 liver detoxification. If Phase 2 is impaired or overwhelmed, then these harmful chemicals are stored in the tissues of the body, mostly in the fat cells. Over time, the chemicals irritate the tissues and cancerous degeneration is often the result.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Avoid these additives and the processed foods that contain them, like the plague. Indeed, they are responsible for much of the chronic disease that haunts our society.