Millions of people throughout the world suffer from the effects of eating foods that trigger an adverse reaction, which we call allergy or intolerance. The symptoms can range from mild effects in specific areas such as stomach upset, throat tightening, nasal stuffiness, itchy skin and hives, to acute responses that involve multiple organ systems, which in extreme cases can result in a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction.
What is most surprising to many people is to hear that food does not cause allergy or intolerance – in fact food is incapable of causing disease! Food is not like a bacterium or a virus that can cause infection; and food is not like a cancer cell that can multiply unchecked and cause havoc in the body. It is the body’s own response to the food, a component of the food, or something added to a food product during it’s manufacture, that causes disease.
Furthermore, the symptoms experienced by one person can be quite different from those of another even though they all have eaten the same food! For example, after eating shrimp, one person may develop hives, another stomach ache and diarrhea, yet a third may have an asthma attack, and a fourth may even experience a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. It is not the shrimp that caused the symptoms in these people, but their own body’s response to it. That is because it is the reaction of each individual person’s immune system, or their unique metabolic pathways, that determines the type of symptoms he or she will suffer as a result of food sensitivities. Of course, most people will not have any adverse effects from eating shrimps; only those allergic to shrimp will develop symptoms.
The sole purpose and mandate of Vickerstaff Health Services Inc, which is owned and administered by Dr. Janice Vickerstaff Joneja, Ph.D., RD, is to provide the resources for every person who finds food a source of distress to discover the cause of their illness and the means to manage their problem. We provide services to the food allergy sufferer and to the health care professionals who counsel and care for them.