The Development of Allergies and Sensitivities
When permeability increases, unprocessed substances can be passed on to the liver, completely undigested. This means that the liver would have to process undigested foods, bacteria, toxic chemicals, or whatever happens to be in the gut. The system could become overwhelmed and release these substances directly into the bloodstream. When this toxic material begins to circulate in the body, the immune system can become triggered, producing allergic responses to foods or other material released from the GI tract. An allergy or a hypersensitivity is typically an overreaction by the immune system, and can cause symptoms anywhere in the body. The food or substance causing the reactions may be relatively innocent – it is actually the overactive response of the immune system that causes the damage.
This dynamic can have a number of causes and result in a wide range of symptoms. For example, eating an allergic food is also a common cause of hyperpermeability and can be such a powerful trigger that permeability can increase within a matter of hours. This is a vicious cycle – hyperpermeability increases the absorption of more toxins and food fragments, which stimulates more allergic responses and amplifies the reactions in a snowball effect.
Innocent Foods and Toxic Effects
There are a number of ways in which problems associated with an overloaded liver can cause additional symptoms. One is the hypersensitization of the immune system just described. Another is direct damage to the body’s tissues caused by the toxic effects of chemicals in food or digestive debris. For example, certain elements in milk or wheat can have direct toxic effects on the nervous or immune system. Specific sensitivities to proteins in wheat have even been implicated in certain forms of schizophrenia.