Are You a Highly Allergic FamilyHighly allergic family is the term that I use when we see multiple health problems in siblings. When these siblings are tested for food allergens we often see a pattern of allergens that is creating the symptoms for the family.One common sign is families with multiple is rashes or eczema. Along with this will also be a pattern of anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and insomnia. Basically what you are seeing when you look at a family with these symptoms is just a pattern of inflammation. I know these patterns well because I come from a highly allergic family. My older brother had Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune thyroid disease. I am the next child in the family and I had severe ulcerative colitis. My other brother is next with diabetes, and the last boy in the family had Crohn’s disease. My sister is the youngest and she had multiple sclerosis (MS). I know if you come from a non-allergic family and are reading this you may be amazed that this pattern of family illness can exist. However if you come from a family with a variety of health problems you can see yourself in these patterns. If your family is anything like mine was, you may be asking yourself “why us”. I know that my family would have those kind of talks. More damaging than even the physical symptoms is the emotional and physical stress that these symptom patterns place on the family. And we thought it was just us that had these problems! Now that I have worked with many families with these patterns it is becoming clear that part of what we are seeing is allergy patterns in these families. Allergies run in families, and when a family is allergic to a food that we commonly eat in our culture then there will be a health problems in the family. There is no difference between frequently eating an allergen and frequently being ill. Remember what is happening when the body has an allergic reaction to a food is that the body is treating a food like a bacteria or a virus. Through some confusion in the body’s programing the immune system is tricked into believing that a harmless protein is actually a danger. If the allergen happens to be to one of the foods that we eat a lot then the reaction will continue for a long time. The reaction to the allergen can be very harmful to the body for a long time. The first thing that happens is that the bodies cortisol levels increase. Cortisol is the bodies anti-inflammatory hormone. While this is elevated we will see weight can or inability to loose weight. One of the reasons for this is that the high cortisol levels block growth hormone. Growth hormone is one of the reasons younger people are more lean. Lack of growth hormone is one of the reasons that older people gain weight. So having a high cortisol level blocking growth hormone make it almost impossible to loose weight. Like a truck racing downhill, every time you eat a food that you are allergic to the inflammatory reaction in the body continues. The body will try and decrease this reaction by releasing other chemicals in the brain. These are the brain hormones that we call the “brakes”. But again like that truck racking downhill the brakes will eventually wear out. The is especially true if we keep pushing the truck. When the brakes wear out you will start to see symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. From this point on we start to see depression and either a lack of motivation or obsessive symptoms. Very often these families are diagnosed with auto-immune disease as mine was. If you ask about the health of grandparents you will often see clues there also. Sometimes though only the siblings are affected. I see in some cases where the mom may be allergic to wheat, and the dad allergic to eggs but neither parent has big health problems. However one or more of the kids may be allergic to both wheat and eggs, and this turns out to be too much stress for the body. In cases like these we start to see multiple health problems among the siblings. These health problems could probably be fixed if we were to test for hidden food allergens. My siblings are doing very well, as am I, from this allergy testing.