A Natural Remedy For Food Allergies

 
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Ya'll! I feel like I've made the greatest discovery, but come to find out it's been known for a long time: activated charcoal & food allergies! Even backed by science! My first experience with activated charcoal was while I worked in the ER as a nurse. We used it for accidental ingestion of chemicals & drug over doses. 

    I was diagnosed with celiac disease almost 14 years ago. After many blood tests, colonoscopy's & meeting with dietitians, doctors still didn't know what the problem was. My mom heard about celiac disease while listening to NPR and told our PCP exactly what labs to draw. There are a few events in life you will always remember where you were, what time it was, who you were with and what you were wearing. This was one of those moments. My PCP called me on my cell phone at 9:45pm on a school night right when I was finishing up homework and going to bed. She was shocked and didn't know much, if anything at all, about celiac disease. She told me I probably had to go on a 'special diet for 2 months'. She referred me back to my Pediatric Gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic to have an endoscopy to confirm.  When we came in for our follow up appointment, he told us I was the 'most unhealthy, healthy celiac' he had ever seen. He said I had no visible villi seen during the endoscopy in my small intestine & usually patients are hospitalized due to not being able to gain weight with no villi. 

After being diagnosed, I have maintained an extremely strict gluten-free (and more recently about 99% dairy-free) diet. Although I am super careful, there have been a few times I have accidentally ingested gluten. The reaction is HORRIBLE. Within the hour, I start violently projectile vomiting. It's almost like a toddler who shows no signs of the stomach flu, and then just starts puking wherever they are. About 4 years ago I ate a couple bites of what I thought was a gluten free english muffin (at home that I prepared!) . I thought it tasted funny so I stopped at a couple bites. We immediately left to go see a Marvel's Superhero show in Cleveland. I got so sick out of no where on the drive there and started projectile vomiting all over the passenger side of our minivan. When we came home I whipped out the frozen "gluten free english muffins" but found out they were SPROUTED organic english muffins!! Not only does the throwing up happen, then come the terrible stomach pains that don't go away and diarrhea :( It's like a 2-3 day process.

 
 

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL

We just came back from an awesome vacation in Florida recently. We landed late and I was so hungry I came home and made myself a tuna sandwich on a "gluten-free" hot dog bun (the only bread I could find in the freezer). I had completely forgot that I bought Rudi's Organic Hot Dog buns for the FIRST time a couple weeks ago for the kids. I'm still not even sure how this even happened, but I ate almost 3/4 of the bun. All of a sudden I thought "that tasted pretty sweet". I looked at the bag and realized what I had done. I went from being completely relaxed after finally being home and getting the kids in bed to sheer PANIC. I thought there HAS to be something I can do. I miraculously thought about the activated charcoal I keep on hand for the stomach flu (or an accidental ingestion of a toxin). We don't have many, if any, harmful chemicals in this house, but you never know- we don't live in a bubble. I knew taking activated charcoal couldn't hurt and I'd do anything to try and lessen the terrible symptoms. To my complete surprise, I didn't feel symptoms until about 3 hours after I ate gluten and they were less than usual. I had stomach pains for about two hours and only threw up once. (Props to my husband who sits outside our bathroom at 2 am with water and a towel). When I woke up in the morning, I didn't feel terrible. While I still had symptoms like sweating and then feeling really cold, getting tired easily & going to the bathroom a lot, it was much less than when I had even two bites of an english muffin years ago. 

Activated charcoal should be a household staple in my opinion, whether you have food allergies or not. I wish more people with food allergies would know about this! Food allergies are on the rise. It is estimated that 1/4 of the population will have an adverse reaction to food in their lifetime. While it is no replacement for an epinephrine pen or steroids, it can certainly help. 

HOW IT WORKS

Activated charcoal is highly ADsorbent (which is different than absorbent). This means that other substances bind to the surface. It is so effective, it is an emergency room staple for drug over doses and accidental ingestion of toxins. It is also used for infant jaundice, gas, colic, indigestion, stomach flu & whitening teeth. {I was using the powder in addition to my toothpaste for a while. Watch out! It is messy. I have now found toothpaste that already has activated charcoal in the product}. Activated charcoal for food allergies is a lesser known use. AC binds to the offending proteins and it moves almost unnoticed thru the digestive tract. This is why the symptoms are alleviated. WHY haven't I known about this for the past almost 15 years!!! There was even a study published in The Journal for Allergy & Clinical Immunology regarding peanut allergies & AC; "these data suggest that administration of AC may be useful as an adjunct to slow or to prevent further absorption of peanut protein from the gastrointestinal tract after accidental ingestion by individuals with peanut allergy". My brain can't help but also think that every school, daycare, and preschool should have AC on hand.

AC should be taken as soon as you've accidentally ingested the allergen, whether or not you feel symptoms yet. Of course, you don't always know when you've accidentally ingested a food allergen (like the time I was served regular pizza instead of gluten-free!). Although activated charcoal can reduce symtoms, it should not be used to cheat on your diet. Some proteins still leak into your blood stream after taking AC which cause inflammation & may also cause leaky gut.

DOSAGE

We use Nature's Sunshine Activated Charcoal. Take 2 capsules at time of ingestion of allergen & take 1 capsules every 3 hours as needed. For smaller children, its best to start with 1/2 capsule. You can mix in water or juice. 

USAGE

-Systemic Inflammation

-Manic Episodes

-Acne

-End-Stage Renal Disease

-High Cholesterol

-Intestinal Gas

-Prevent Hangovers

-Adverse Vaccine Reaction (not be a stand alone treatment but with other therapies). 

-Drug Overdoses or Poisoning (AC is used as a first-line treatment in the ER for overdoses).

-Cerebral Malaria

** Studies are inconclusive on these uses & more evidence is needed to come to these conclusions. Ask your primary care physician before using**

CONTRAINDICATIONS 

-AC binds to micronutrients. Don't take at the same time with medicine, vitamins or supplements. Take 3-4 hours in between medicine and vitamins. 

-If taken regularly or too much, it can cause nutritional deficiencies. 

-It can cause constipation and dehydration so take with plenty of water.

-AC will turn stools black.

Activated Charcoal has been used in hospitals for overdoses for decades, but the scientific evidence of using it for other purposes in still inconclusive and more studies need to be done. I just wanted to let everyone know my personal experience with AC and celiac disease. I hope this helps you or someone you know with food allergies. 

References:

Acute Psychotic Mania Treated With Activated Charcoal. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3521259

End-Stage Renal Disease Patients. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20061701

Dialysis Free Protocol Using Activated Charcoal For Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease. charcoalremedies.com/activated_charcoal_research

Activated Charcoal Lotion Used in Acne Treatment.  ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21182451

High Cholesterol. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2874369

Intestinal Gas. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3521259

Overdosed & Poisoned Patients. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1306980/

Activated Charcoal Forms Non-IgE Binding Complexes with Peanut Proteins. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12847495