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May 15, 2014

Nutritional intervention in allergies

by Helene van den Berg

Dr. Robert Buist states in his book “Food Intolerance” that,

  • whenever staple foods are withdrawn completely/reduced from a diet, possible NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES can occur:

When we withdraw milk products from the diet, it is imperative that the alternative foods, substitute the two vitamins, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and calcium. When a pyridoxine (vitamin B6) supplement is used together with a dairy-free diet, the potential for a riboflavin deficiency is quite high – vitamin B6 uses up vitamin B2 in it’s biological reactions. Symptoms like a sore purplish tongue and gritty, burning light sensitive eyes, cracked lips, hair loss and eczema could be reversed by administering vitamin B2.

NOTE: we can easily mistake deficiency signs for actual manifestations of allergic reactions.

In addition, with specific nutrient deficiencies, we are more prone to allergic reactions!. Vegetarians with intolerances to eggs or dairy products, need to add food sources of essential amino acids, vitamin B12, riboflavin and calcium to their diet. It is not uncommon for vegetarians to develop sensitivities to legumes, grains seeds and nuts, their major source of protein. Therefore these foods need to be adequately rotated and pay attention to food combinations, where ALL the amino acids are supplied at the SAME meal. It is of no use to eat legumes for lunch ( essential amino acids, isoleucine and lysine) and grains, nuts and seeds for dinner (high sulfur and tryptophan amino acids).


Therefore, the overall nutritional content on a elimination/rotation diet must be carefully considered.

Alternative riboflavin sources: soybeans, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, liver (meat eaters)

Alternative calcium sources: sesame seeds, almonds, soybeans, broccoli, cabbage, lima beans.

Spirulina is the best vitamin B12 source.

When in doubt about the nutritional adequacy of the diet, take a wide spectrum of vitamin and mineral supplement, free of common allergenic components.

  • The FIBRE CONTENT of the foods, is an important consideration in designing a balanced diet:

There is a correlation between low fiber diets and a high incidence of colon cancer, diverticulitis, gall bladder problems, diabetes, heart disease etc. To add wheat bran to everything, is NOT the best approach, because of it’s wheat origin. Guar in legumes and vegetables, is a superior fiber source. Women on vegetarian diets have lower incidence of breast cancer, because the lignans in vegetables are converted to anti-cancer and anti-oestrogen substances (called equol, enterodial and enterolacetone). Vegetarian-style diets favorably alter oestrogone metabolism in women to further reduce the incidence of breast cancer. Adequate fiber levels can be maintained during the rotation diets, by effectively using, peas, beans, sprouts, lentils, rice, seeds, nuts, vegetables and whole corn. Pectin, in fiber, activates the carbohydrate digesting enzyme (alpha-amylase), improving carbohydrate digestion.

Therefore the fiber content of the diet supplies:

  • Roughage
  • Changes hormone levels
  • Changes enzyme activities
  • Regulates the flow of digestive fluids –all of which minimizes food intolerances.


Nutritional supplements play a vital secondary role in:

  • Optimizing the biochemical reactions in the body
  • Facilitate hormone and neurotransmitter production
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Support the digestive process
  • Re-establishing the homeostasis in the body

NOTE: Supplements must be FREE of allergenic components such as corn, wheat, dairy, yeast, soy, chemicals, sugar, artificial coloring and flavoring. The supplements need to be rotated in the same manner as foods. Allergic reactions may be caused by wheat germ oil in vitamin E capsules or soy-derived amino acids or lecithin etc.

Malabsorption frequently accompanies food intolerances. Aids to malabsorption are:

  • The use VEGETABLE ENZYMES (pepsin/pancreatin) can assist in the proper digestion of food and help to digest potential offending food proteins. These food proteins may cause irritation of the gastro-intestinal tract, irritate the central nervous system, cause arthritis or eczema and psoriasis or asthma. Digestive enzyme supplements combined with a rotation diet.

By ingesting an allergenic food, the body can become acidic –to reduce this acidity take ½ teaspoon of a bicarbonate preparation (2 parts sodium bicarbonate and 1 part potassium bicarbonate) with 2-3 glasses of water, 30-60 min after the meal, together with pancreatic enzyme supplements. The bicarbonate activates these enzymes and aids in protein digestion and reduce the acidity. Bicarbonate must NOT be taken with ascorbic acid and should not be used continually.

  • Use of MIXED AMINO ACID SUPPLEMENTS (hydrolysed/predigested protein).

Vitamins A +E (micellised) is highly effective with fat digestion, as well as cystic fibrosis and with pancreatitis.

Fatty acids play a very important role in the treatment of food intolerance disorders like asthma and eczema. These fatty acids are GLA (gamma-linolenic acid- in evening primrose oil) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid- in salmon, sardines and herring). These fatty acids form prostaglandins, which control inflammatory reactions (redness, swelling, oedema and pain) and other parts of the immune system.

According to Dr. Buist, the supplements of the greatest value for food intolerance are: Vitamin A, C, E: Vitamin B5, B6, B12; folic acid; zinc, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese:

Vitamins B5, B6 – vital for formation of cortisone and ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone).

Vitamin B5 – controls amino acid metabolism and reduce oedema.

Vitamin C, E, B6, zinc and magnesium – major catalysts for the production of prostaglandins (which control the inflammatory reactions).


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