Crossover reactions took me by surprise when I started my research on the affects of gluten. It of course made my allergy to caffeine make more sense. I have since found out more on crossover reactions, and frankly, it is fascinating.
What is a Cross Reaction?
If you know anyone with Celiac Disease, then you very often know someone with cross over reactions or cross sensitivity. A cross sensitivity or crossover reaction is when your body mistakenly interprets something other than gluten as gluten. The following is a small list of the most common crossover reactions that occur with Celiac or Gluten Sensitivity: Amaranth, Buckwheat, Chocolate, Coffee, Corn, Dairy, Egg, Hemp, Millet, Oats, Potato, Rice, Sesame, Spelt, Sorghum, Soy, Tapioca, Teff, Yeast,
As I began my research way back in early 2017, I wanted to understand the grain sensitivities and allergies most likely to be encountered by those with Celiac Disease to ensure our mixes would be safe for most gluten sensitives or celiacs. It was an eye opening exercise.
As I began to speak to moms and individuals with Celiac, I found a correlation between not being diagnosed and cross reactions. My cross reaction to caffeine got diagnosed in my early twenties. My Celiac diagnosis would take another 30 years to manifest. The doctors knew something was wrong, but not enough to run any tests.
I am lucky. I only have one crossover reaction that I know of (I sometimes think I may have one lurking that I cannot quite put my finger on). My oldest daughter who does not have celiac (again, I do not trust this diagnosis but I trust my daughter) had both egg and dairy crossover reactions – until she got off wheat and gluten. Her reactions have cleared up, mine, I am pretty sure will see me through my days.
Crossover Reactions & Leaky Guts
So what causes a crossover reaction? It is a simple answer, a leaky gut is most likely the culprit. If you have read my blog articles in the past, you might remember that I had three doctors over the years tell me I had a leaky gut, but none could tell me how to fix it. That knowledge would come later.
What we do know is that a leaky gut causes crossover reactions when food particles with proteins similar to those found in gluten ends up in the body cavity. The overactive immune system then mistakes it for gluten and pop, another sensitivity. I have found it seems to be about what we consume the most of that has similar proteins to gluten.
As someone with lifelong anemia, caffeine was how I survived, be it in coffee, or soda, caffeine was the only thing I overindulged in – and now, I can never consume it again. I consumed enough over a twenty year period that my body began to see it as an enemy.
Leaky Gut & Food Sensitivities
Research shows that gluten not only damages the villi of the small intestines, it also creates over time, what is called a leaky gut. A leaky gut is where the damage to the intestines becomes so severe, that the integrity of the intestines is compromised. The junctions between the cells becomes wider leading to actual tiny holes in the intestines, where food can escape into the body cavity triggering an autoimmune response. The gluten actually wears away the lining of the intestines. FYI, this reaction begins approx 15 minutes after gluten is ingested.
Healing Your Leaky Gut
There are multiple aspects to healing a leaky gut. First and foremost is diligently removing gluten from your diet. Secondly a strong course of supplements to encourage the body to heal long term will help to recover your health more quickly.
In the United States, it takes 2-3 times longer to heal than in most other countries. This is due to many things:
- Wheat is very cheap and it is in most things we think of as not having wheat – this means salad dressing, ice creams, yogurts, alcohols, fillers in meat, and even as an additive in cheese (an anti-caking agent) to prevent grated cheese from clumping.
- Convenience food – there is very little convenience food available for those of us with gluten sensitivities, so staying on point with a gluten free diet takes a great deal of commitment.
- The Medical Community – The medical community in America does not take this disease or health issue very seriously. I have met and spoken to so many other people who like me were searching for an answer and was dismissed by the medical profession. Getting Diagnosed is difficult and can take multiple times to find the person who can actually read the test results correctly.
- Discipline – we are a lazy, selfish nation. Adopting a gluten free lifestyle is very hard and expensive. Many people prefer to satisfy their wants more than their needs.
- Dining Out – I mostly get popped with gluten when I venture out. Most restaurants want to be aware, but are truly ignorant as to the strictness that enters into a gluten free diet. Separate grills, fryers, and utensils are the only way to truly ensure safety to gluten free diners.
Supplements to help heal a Leaky Gut
- Probiotics – probiotics are essential to reseeding overall body health and intestinal integrity. You want as many strains as your body can handle.
- L-glutamine – literally heals the intestines at the junction level – the place the gluten weakens – so this undoes the damage of the gluten
- collagen – collagen puts the building blocks your body needs directly into your intestines.
- digestive enzymes – since you already have a problem with digestion and absorbtion, you will need good digestive enzymes to help you get the most out of the food you eat
- bone broth – the most healing liquid our intestines need. Full of nutrients and collagen. We have a wonderful bone broth recipe online
Supplements are extremely important to rejuvenation and repair of a body that has been damaged by gluten exposure. If you are like me, I needed a little more, I needed to rebuild my brain, my muscles and my nerves. I used two very powerful Swanson Products that I really believe in:
- Swanson Youth Tissue Extract– A powerful supplement that actually helped to rebuild my gut, my muscles and my connective tissue. I would not be standing up without it.
- Bacopa Monnieri ExtractThis went a long way in repairing the damage to my brain. The long term exposure to gluten left me with a constant brain fog that simply never quite lifted. Since I had a phenomenal brain, I missed it. I take three a day – every day and in three months, it finally feels like I have my brain back.
Moving Beyond Illness
I was so optimistic in December of 2016 that I would heal within 18 months from 53 years of undiagnosed Celiac Disease. I was determined. And although I am doing fantastic on so many levels, my body just has not been able to repair itself as quickly as i had hoped. So I plug away, keep my diet clean, drink lots of antioxidant teas and do as much yoga as my body can handle.
I hope this article helped a little to explain crossover reactions. To me, it is hard enough to go without gluten in this country. I would love to see a day where diagnoses are done at birth through genetic screening, and that no child has to suffer through the cross sensitivities that many undiagnosed individuals deal with every day. That would make me a little happier. Good luck out there, and try to make the best choices for yourself and your health that you can.