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Reply To: Under nourishing and developing food intolerances

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Yes, starvation, sub-clinical or otherwise, an definitely increase food intolerances. Here’s a couple of long sections from 12 Paleo Myths. It may not all apply to you, but it may be helpful in strategizing for recovery.

Autoimmune disease

Autoimmune disease is something that the Paleo crowd likes to pin almost entirely on gluten. While gluten can trigger an inappropriate inflammatory response in someone with a hyperactive immune system, that doesn’t make it the cause. Often, it isn’t. I’ve seen many autoimmune diseases emerge on wheat-free diets, and clear up when wheat is reintroduced, for example.

The theme is definitely reduction in metabolism, which exerts a lot of influence over the thymus gland (thought to be pretty central in the development of autoimmune disease). As Hans Selye’s pivotal work on stress showed, the thymus gland undergoes radical change when the catecholamine and glucocorticoids are elevated ? a frequent result of calorie restriction, carbohydrate restriction, and other dietary errors. I’m not so concerned with the physiological details though, as all I need are eyes and ears to see that autoimmune disease is a frequent result of a Spartan health regime involving too much exercise, too little food, not enough carbs, lack of sleep, too much stress or trauma, or a combination of several inadequacies.

Just look at the incredibly high rates of autoimmune disease seen with bariatric surgery, for example. Is it because they are eating more wheat on their 400 calorie diets that’s causing autoimmunity? I don’t think so. Broda Barnes, one of the Godfathers of metabolism, reported that he never saw a single case of lupus develop among his patients ? one of the more common autoimmune diseases.

?Throughout my medical career, I have routinely treated each case of lupus I have encountered with adequate thyroid therapy and each has responded satisfactorily without evidence of any involvement of the internal organs. Among the thousands of hypothyroid patients I have treated with thyroid in that time for other manifestations of thyroid deficiency, not one has developed lupus. To be sure, lupus is a very common disease, and yet I have the feeling that thyroid therapy used where indicated to correct thyroid deficiency may act as a prophylactic agent against lupus.
~Broda Barnes; Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspecting Illness

Estrogen appears to play some role as well ? probably why women are 3 or more times as likely as men to develop an autoimmune disease. But thyroid plays a key role in this as well, as the more thyroid you produce, generally the more of the hormones that oppose estrogen that you produce. This equates to more testosterone in men, and more progesterone in women.

Increased Allergies/Sensitivities

Want to become hypersensitive to gluten and a bunch of other foods? Then cut it out of your diet along with everything else that you might be reacting to.

Not to discredit food sensitivities and allergies. Clearly there are circumstances that warrant removal of certain foods ? at least temporarily.

But the root problem in most food sensitivities is the person, not the food. Change the person, eliminate the sensitivity/allergy. I do believe this is a plausible and obtainable goal for a lot of people. I hate to see people quickly eliminate foods from their diet as if it is just no big deal. Restricted diets can paralyze and alienate an entire family from the rest of society. Dietary restriction is a LAST RESORT, not a first line of action. Can ya tell I got a pet peeve with this one?

The etiology of autoimmune disease is probably very similar to the etiology of allergy, sensitivity, and general hyperactivity of the immune system and inflammatory response. There may be another co-factor in why Paleo frequently elicits greater hypersensitivity though ? the type of fat consumed in large quantities on a typical Paleo diet.

Paleo eaters often choke down gobs and gobs of Arachidonic Acid (AA) as if it hasn’t been shown to directly increase the inflammatory response?

??research has proven that a high AA diet has the potential actually to change normal immune responses to abnormal, exaggerated ones. A study carried out in 1997 by Dr. Darshan S. Kelley and colleagues at the Western Human Nutrition Research Center in California showed that people on high-AA diets generated four times as many inflammatory cells after a flu vaccination as people on low-AA diets.
~Floyd Chilton; Inflammation Nation

Foods highest in AA include eggs, pork fat, organ meats, poultry fat? many Paleo-friendly foods. Many Paleo eaters also consume substantial quantities of nuts and seeds, which contain a great deal of Linoleic acid ? a precursor to Arachidonic acid formation with anti-metabolic, pro-estrogen implications. Not good. But even without lots of nuts, seeds, pork, and eggs ? just taking in most of your calories as fat ensures much higher levels of Arachidonic Acid intake unless you are hypervigilant about it ? but I know of no major Paleo author who has paid much attention to this potentially-important piece of information.