If you're suffering from a variety of unexplained symptoms - sensitivity to foods, chemicals or electrical products could be the cause. Reactions can vary from headaches, joint pain, stuffy/runny nose, bloating, exhaustion and wheezing, to skin rashes, mood swings, hyperactivity or depression. Don't worry, we are here to help ease your suffering.
More and more people are becoming sensitive to everyday chemicals and foods, yet many sufferers are completely unaware that a simple change in lifestyle can dramatically improve their health. If your symptoms are due to a sensitivity reaction, simply replacing the problem food or product with an alternative can help you feel better again .
There may not be a cure for food intolerance or multiple chemical sensitivity, but there are ways you can take control of your illness. There are many things you can do to improve your general health and immune system that should start your body on the road to recovery.
Join a support group to share ideas, experiences and coping strategies. Try to spend time with people other than family to keep life in perspective and take your mind off food and health.
Set realistic goals for yourself as a treat to work towards and look forward to. On bad days, look back at your diary for reminders that you have improved, and remember that relapses are only temporary setbacks.
Many people find some form of counselling useful, especially if they have had to make significant changes to lifestyle because of their illness. Having someone to tell your troubles to can prevent overburdening close friends and family and help keep relationships positive.
Many symptoms of chemical and food intolerance are similar to those of other illnesses so it is important for your doctor to rule these out before embarking on self-help. Excluding major illness should set your mind at ease even if no specific diagnosis can be made. GPs should also be able to test for true food allergies, although the tests are unlikely to reveal food intolerance.
Some people find their illness exacerbated by conditions such as enzyme deficiency; leaky gut; parasitic, viral or yeast infections. Your GP may be able to test for these or at least refer you to a specialist who can.
It is helpful to have one medical practitioner to co-ordinate and oversee any treatment strategies that you wish to try.
It is essential to manage your energy effectively and pace yourself sensibly so your body can reserve some energy for healing. Chemical and food sensitivities will exacerbate exhaustion. For more information see the section entitled 'Coping With Exhaustion'.
Chemical and food intolerance, environmental pollution, stress, lifestyle and diet can all raise levels of toxicity in the body and increase the likelihood of illness. To reduce toxic levels in the liver and stimulate the lymph system, consider gentle exercise, massage, baths with Epsom salts, dry skin brushing, complementary or herbal therapies.
Physical, mental and emotional stress can exacerbate food and chemical sensitivities so try to sort out the source of the stress. Finding out information about an illness can help to allay fears and taking some action to improve general health can give you some semblance of control over your condition. Consider meditation, yoga or relaxation therapies, which can be practised daily even if you are bedbound.
Chemical and Environmental Triggers
If you know your body has become hypersensitive to chemicals, light, noise or electricity you need to take steps to reduce the triggers. Some people with multiple food intolerance may find they are also sensitive to environmental allergies. Any steps you can take to reduce allergic reactions will take a significant load off your immune system; reducing chemical sensitivities is also likely to reduce food intolerance reactions.
Geopathic Stress (GS)
Anyone with a long history of poor health should question whether his or her home is built on an area affected by geopathic stress. Geopathic Stress is a phrase used to describe several types of low level, natural radiation above 8 hertz. If you suffer from electrical sensitivity you are especially likely to be geopathically stressed.
GS does not directly cause illness, but can place an additional burden on the immune system. Remedies are as simple as moving beds or chairs to unaffected parts of the room.
Individuals suffering from hypersensitivity, exhaustion or general poor health may find they have an underlying nutritional problem which is hindering recovery: Malnutrition (vitamin or mineral deficiency) can be caused by an inadequate diet and by ill health. Enzyme deficiency, leaky gut and parasitic, viral or yeast infections such as Candida, can all affect levels of food and chemical intolerance. Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) will exacerbate exhaustion.
Most of these problems can be easily resolved. Tests can sometimes be carried out via your GP, or you may need to consult a qualified dietician or nutritionist.
Food Sensitivity / Intolerance
Food intolerance is not the same as a true food allergy. Some hypersensitive people find they develop intolerances to many foods. Sensitivity symptoms can be similar to those of MCS, so sufferers may be unaware that they also have food intolerance. Equally individuals may confuse chemical reactions with food sensitivity symptoms. If you are not sure whether food intolerance is affecting your health, read Where to Start. Once sensitivities have been identified, it is possible to minimise further intolerances through eating foods on a carefully planned Rotation Diet. Alleviating food sensitivities should take pressure off the immune system and reduce the severity of any chemical allergies. More information is given in the section entitled 'Food Intolerance'.
Deep and efficient breathing helps improve oxygen levels, affecting every cell in the body. This is a tremendous help to healing. Abdominal breathing exercises can be taught through meditation or yoga practices or you can ask your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist for help with posture. Improving posture will also help with digestion.
Some people affected by chemical or food sensitivities may be suffering from hyperventilation - breathing too deeply and quickly, causing low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. Symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, tiredness, rapid speech, numbness and tingling. Other symptoms are very similar to those of food and chemical sensitivity. The problem can sort itself out when the sensitivities are dealt with, or you can retrain yourself with breathing exercises.