Food Allergies and Skin Reactions | Podcast #264
For this episode, we will be hitting some of the skin reactions due to food, which is common to everyone. Dr. J is with Evan Brand today to talk about the different types of food allergies, the skin reactions to it, how we are going to address it and how can we prevent it. Review the podcast below.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani
In this episode, we cover:
00:16 Food Reactions and Skin Issues
04:32 Nut Sensitivity
10:00 Importance of Chewing Properly
14:31 Vegan/Vegetarian Diet
19:05 Gut’s Connection to Skin
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And we are live. It’s Dr. J here in the house. I got Evan Brand here right before the Christmas holiday. I think Today’s the first day of Hanukkah, Happy Hanukkah. Merry Christmas. Christmas Eve is tomorrow. Really exciting. Evan, how are you doing today man?
Evan Brand: I’m doing wonderful. I brought up the idea of food reactions and skin issues. And this is something that a lot of people experience and they don’t even know it. Think of your kids who you feed like a gluten free cookie. And that cookie is loaded with potato starch and rice flour and corn flour and and then your kid gets a rash on on a face and then you don’t even think about it. So like our daughter summer. That’s what happened to her probably, I don’t know, maybe a year year and a half ago when we were trying to feed her some rice snacks. It was like these little rice cookies or rice crackers. I don’t remember exactly what it was. And she started getting a rash and I thought okay, What the heck is going on here. And this is a very, very common thing that adults experience but they don’t pay attention to it or they’re covered up and makeup. So the women don’t see what’s happening. But underneath all of that, there’s some mechanisms that are dysfunctioning, which is probably your gut barriers messed up, or your immune system is messed up, which your gut is basically your immune system. And so why don’t we kind of break this apart a little bit?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so just in summary, will be hitting kind of some of the skin reactions due to food, that’s going to be the big thing we had off the bat. Well, I have a four month old son who actually had some skin reactions recently, and we noticed some nuts and seeds and eggs were actually a big deal as well. So some women who are breastfeeding and their kids have skin issues. The first thing you want to look at is your diet. The natural tendency is to go to the pediatrician and typically it’s going to be some type of corticosteroid cream, a lot of time that’s going to be recommended, but a lot of times but changing the diet helps. In this particular situation. His skin was awesome, more reactive because it was just super, super dry. The time of the year, so we just use a pure lanolin. And that helped as well. But also making some diet changes also really, really move the needle. So one of the first things we can do is make diet changes on top of that, and sometimes people who are already coming into this health space on a paleo template, they’ve already cut out grains and, and maybe the junk food and the refined sugars and the not so good fats, but then they’re like, wait, I’m still having an issue. And it could be eggs, it could be knots, it could be seeds, it could be those, you know, will be the bigger foods that could also be a problem, maybe even nightshades. And I say autoimmune template, maybe the next thing we want to jump on versus just a strict paleo template.
Evan Brand: Yeah. And it’s hard for kids to write. I mean, my little girl is what she is eight months old now. And your little boys? What coming up on four months?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes. My second son Hudson. He’s almost four. And then my son Aiden and my first son Aiden’s two and a quarter or so? Yeah.
Evan Brand: So see, the interesting thing is a lot of things that we see in kids Like our own kids are the things we see in the people that we’re working with clinically, because I’m not saying that the infant gut is the same as an adult gut. But in the sense that the adult that comes to us that has all these problems, they have a leaky gut, and they probably have low diversity just like a baby does. You know, a baby basically comes into the world with the leaky gut and low diversity that you have to build up and create, you kind of have to manufacture a good microbiome and an infant. So a lot of things that we see in our own kids. It’s interesting because we see the same thing in adults. So you mentioned your son having issues with eggs. Same thing with our little one, we gave her some eggs and then boom, immediately a rash on the cheek, and we gave her some almond butter and then boom, immediately a rash on the cheek. So I want to point out one thing, which is that these foods that are put into the Paleo or like the ancestral category, they’re really not that they’re really not that paleo meaning. If you take like an almond butter bar, for example, how many almonds Would that have taken to create that bar? and How hard would it have been for our ancestors to take the almond off the tree? I think the almond is sealed up in something, isn’t it where you have to probably crack it open and get the almond del verse, right? When you eat a bar. It’s just so hyper process. It’s like, yeah, it’s organic. It’s this and that, but it’s like, that never would have happened in nature. So I think a lot of our food reactions may happen just because we’re being exposed to things that we shouldn’t be exposed to like an almond bar that’s like 200, you know, 200 almonds, for example.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Now, in regards to that, I mean, it can be more of an issue when there’s already a potential nut sensitivity to begin with. And then you’re eating the equivalent of like multiple handfuls of nuts, that could definitely be a problem. But in general, if you’re pretty good health, that could be a good option for like an 8020 thing where like, there may be like a healthier cheat, paleo cheat wise that is in your ballpark, and that’s kind of where you want to try. I think it’s great for that, but we just want to make sure we don’t make those things, staples.
Evan Brand: Yeah, and don’t get me wrong. I love a good organic all mimbar here and there, but just when it comes to food reactions, I’m trying to find a picture of it. This is the sad thing. I’ve never actually been to an almond tree to see how the Omen sits on the tree. I’m sure it’s encapsulated in some sort of shell. Yeah, I see a picture here. So yeah, so it is encapsulated of some sort. So I mean, you think about an ancestor they would have been having to crack that bad boy open. I mean, you probably would have been tired after 1520 almonds worth of cracking, you know, you’re not going to eat just handfuls and handfuls and handfuls or scoops and scoops and scoops of butter.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, 100% I agree. So we have those are other types of food reactions when that when the kids are younger, it’s different because mom has the full ability to control what’s going in to her into her breast milk, right so we have that. The next thing is as kids are starting to eat their own foods now what? So the first thing I always look at is trying to use safe starch alternatives over any kind of grain. I think it’s always safer so I always go to a yucca flower, or a cassava flower or some kind of an arrow root, which is usually a combination of primarily Yucca as a good, healthy, safe starch if we’re going to consume something processed, right? So I always try to keep that in mind. Number one, we don’t get a lot of those in our society, right. And number two, we don’t have the gluten sensitivity component, because there are other types of grains, corn, rice, and oat that you know, are in that gluten free category. They don’t have [inaudible] or zien, in the form of corn. And these are cousins and sisters and brothers of gluten and there could be this case of mistaken identity just like as a family resemblance in certain families. Well, there’s a, an immune resemblance to the immune system in regards to gluten. So we gotta keep that in the back of our head.
Evan Brand: Yeah. So if you just look up gluten cross reactivity, there’s actually some testing out there some highly advanced expensive testing that you could do if you wanted to try to get an answer on paper, but a lot of times you can just figure it out based on how you feel if you get a rash. For example, Like I was doing organic blue corn chips for a while I love done this is like couple years ago and then I started to have reaction he would either be like a headache or just some change with the scan. And so you’re basically saying that with the receptor, corn can sort of fit into this gluten receptor meaning that the body gets tricked. It’s sort of like, Oh, this is gluten and then boom, it’s going to go create this inflammatory response. But it was an accident. It wasn’t actually gluten it was corn. And this is the same thing with chocolate Believe it or not, and coffee as well. What else is on that list? Potato was on the list. yeast. You mentioned rice. I mean, gluten cross reactivity is a huge, huge linked to skin problems. So this is like the low hanging fruit to look at.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, there’s definitely that so we have to keep that kind of in our mind. That’s like the first thing because there are a lot of people that come on to this camp and they just, you know, gluten free is a very trendy thing. We always draw a line between gluten free processed and grain free alternatives. That’s that’s really, really important to kind of highlight number one. Number two poor digestion- even foods that we’re consuming that were our that we’re having an allergen is 32. And immune response to is a big deal as well. So the more we can break that allergen down, makes it easier for our gut to process it.
Evan Brand: And why is that process failing, though? So that’s the thing that people don’t they don’t get. It’s like, Okay, I’m eating, I’m eating good. Why am I still having these issues?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, because if if a food is naturally inflammatory for you, or creates a stress response in your body, that stress response is going to make it harder for you to make enough enzymes or acid to be able to process the food to begin with. So we have to just know that that may be an issue and combat it with more enzymes. That make sense. Yes. And kind of like, you know, there are certain foods that are like we call it like an intolerance, an intolerance is lactose intolerance, where maybe you can’t break down that sugar and milk, ie lactose. But if we give you more enzymes, the lactase enzyme you can handle it. So it may not necessarily be an allergen issue, and maybe an intolerance issue. And it may be a combination of the two because the more intolerant you are to something, the larger that molecule is in your gut. And the greater chance that that thing will then now there’ll be an immune reaction to it. Because we were able to break it down into like a peptide type of form a really small form, if you will.
Evan Brand: Yeah, what you’re saying without directly saying it is there’s like a spectrum of reactions. So it could be just a very, very minor quote, food intolerance, or food sensitivity, and then you go all the way up to like, straight allergic reaction where after you eat the eggs, you’ve got the gall bladder pain, you’ve got the sniffles, you’ve got a headache, you know. So in in between that spectrum, of course, there’s other root causes beneath so it’s not just the eggs that you blame, then you have to investigate the gut and figure out what is the gut compromised with some sort of infection? You mentioned the enzymes Well, why is there not enough enzymes in the first place? Is this just age? Is it not chewing food enough? Is it that they were stressed while they were eating they’re like scrolling on Instagram while they’re trying to eat their meal?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The food in itself is stressful. Yeah, so the easiest first thing to do is just get more enzymes and acids in and make sure you’re chewing your food up well and you control the stress in the environment. Those are the first two to three things. And then from there, if we still have problems, then we can of course start cutting their paring back foods, or just trying to cook the foods better people forget that the reason why we cook foods and part of the reason that our brains evolved is through fire, we were able to cook you know, imagine eating like raw flesh, very hard to digest that and process that as soon as you start cooking it with fire, you’re able to start pre digesting a lot of that food and that food then makes it more accessible to your gut into your brain and to all of your organ system. So just by cooking that food up better using an Instant pot or steaming those vegetables or you know soft Tang it you access more nutrition like if you look at like I think it’s you go to like my food data, you go to the US Department of Health with a look at nutrition like like nutrients and food and if you just compared the nutrients and raw broccoli to cook broccoli, the nutrition nutrients actually go higher and cook broccoli. Why? Because we can actually access those nutrients we can access them. That’s the difference.
Evan Brand: Yeah, it’s activator. So the the overall vegetarian vegan people, that’s why if we were to just throw out of a label, you know, if someone said hey, Dr. J. Evan, who are the most malnutrition, you know, most malnourished people you’ve seen on data, like looking at amino acid profiles or like some of the ion profiles, it would be like a raw vegetarian, a raw vegan. And here’s the interesting thing. Those people have a lot of food reactions to that’s probably what led them to that sort of diet in the first place, right? They’ll say, Well, I was reacting to everything. So I just went raw, or I just went carnivore, for example, that could be another flavor of diet where people go to an extreme but they’re missing the root cause of trying to calm the immune system down, restore the gut barrier and clear the infections.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Have you ever seen a raw a raw vegan eat in front of you?
Evan Brand: Dude, I never have, I probed some of them because I have clients that will say that they’re all vegans when they start working with us and I’ll tell them straight up Look, I’m really going to push you not to be a raw vegan anymore but just walk me through your lunch, and then they’ll tell me through their lunch and it’s like beans and arugula.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, I’ve seen a couple I’ve seen a handful of people that I know that are raw vegans and I’ve had lunch with them. Here’s my experience number one, is they need a salad that is absolutely massively big because you know if we just have like some protein and a little side salad, that side salads maybe going to have like 30 calories in it right? So they literally have a salad that’s just absolutely massive which is great. Right? No problem with that. But number one, is because there’s so much fiber in there literally takes them about 45 minutes to eat the salad. And it’s kind of it makes sense because if you look at cows right which eat grass, if you look at how much time cow spend eating cows literally spend 16 hours a day eating 16 hours of non stop eating So it’s interesting. If you’re a good vegetarian or vegan, you literally have to be eating for 30 4050 minutes straight at a whack now, where you can kind of sidestep, that is you can do juices like you can do celery juice, or you can juice that, which allows you to get more than nutrition without having to chew a whole bunch. And too, you can steam it or saute it and that kind of makes it more accessible to but the raw vegans, they’re really handicapped in that way. And of course, they are going to need extra amino acids, whether it’s from hemp or a free form amino acid formula, you can do it. From a vegan perspective, it’s a lot harder and it’s much more unnatural. And you’re gonna have to rely a lot on protein powders for the most part, or you’ll be doing rice and beans and you’ll be getting 400 grams of carbohydrates if you want, you know, half a gram per pound the body where you’re going to be consuming a ton of carbohydrate.
Evan Brand: Now, let me ask you this great points. Do you think it’s just a correlation? Do you think it’s just a coincidence that when we do see like a raw vegetarian vegan person, they’re having all these food reactions, they’re reacting to everything. Food they’re getting watery eyes are getting skin rashes are getting hives. That’s what led them to that diet in the first place. Do you think it’s a coincidence that they’re still very sick on that? Do you think it’s due to lack of collagen and things to build back up the gut barrier? So they just stay with the leaky gut? So they’re stuck with veggies and they’re still miserable? Or, or do you think it’s just that? I guess it could the answer could be both. They had a bunch of infections or something or they went to Bali and got a bunch of parasites that screwed up their gut, and then they felt bad. So then they went that-
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s a combination of two. So it all depends where you see them in the cycle. Okay, here’s the cycle. Okay. We call it I’ve heard it described as the vegan holiday. It all depends where you’re coming from in your diet. If you’re coming from a standard American diet, where you eating junky meats, lots of hormones, pesticides, lots of crapple, hydrates, refined sugar and you go to a vegan diet, you’re always going to feel better. It’s always relative to form what you’re coming from to where you’re going to number one. Number two is how much inflammation Like they may have added inflammation through lots of anti nutrients, but the drop and inflammation from all the other crap was greater, so they’re going to feel better. Does that make sense? So there’s this detoxifying effect that from just cleaner foods organic, lots of nutrition and vegetables, less hormones. So there’s that vegan honeymoon that happens. Number two, and then the people that actually do better with it are the ones that are more ectomorphs. They can handle more carbohydrate, good. It’s very hard to be on a vegan diet and not consume a ton of carbohydrate, very, very tough. If you look at the amount of calories you get from just vegetables is no way right, six ounces of protein sources. In animal products like grass fed meat, you need 16 cups of kale to compete with that. No one’s going to do that in a day. And it’s much easier to eat six ounces of meat than 16 cups of kale. It’s just not going to happen. So you need to get other complex starchy sources along with that, that to get the correct amino acid profile and then you Need to combine it with other foods like rice or beans or lentils or whatever. And so then you get about a 65 to 70% carbohydrate split. So then now you your carbohydrates have to be over what the food pyramid recommends, which is about usually a 60 on the carbs 15 on the protein 25 on the fat, and now you’re upwards of 70%. And so if you’re not exercising a lot are pretty active, you’re pretty screwed. So in general, people do feel better, because plants are easy to digest the meats, but when the plants become excessively raw, you’re not using cooking to help break that down, it can become hard. So a lot of the anti nutrients, the phytates, the oxalates a lot of that fiber on a damaged gut can be very, very hard to digest. And then once you start factoring in something like ceiba or bacterial overgrowth, where the gut bacteria is very high in a lot of despotic things like central bacteria, Prevotella, or Pseudomonas, and then you have a lot of these higher fermentable carbohydrates like onions or broccoli or brussels sprouts or Garlic, then that can really feed a lot of these things and you can get more gas and more bloats. And that can disrupt motility, whether you’re on the more on the diarrhea side or on the constipated side, and that’s very common. And of course, that’s gonna make it hard for you to absorb nutrition.
Evan Brand: Yeah, it’s great, great points. I want to go back to some of the band aids and things you mentioned the SIBO. So of course, we’re going to be testing and looking at your gut and trying to get that resolved because a restrictive diet regardless of how restricted or what type of restrictions, there are, that’s, that’s still not root cause right? Like, someone could just say, Well, I feel fine. I’ve got five foods that I can eat it’s like well, that’s not a way to live. You can only five things otherwise you’re miserable. That’s not a way to live, you’re missing something. So in the meantime, though, you mentioned enzymes, which can be good. And then also you and I can use some type of herbal antihistamines, so we may throw in like one ingredient we use Japanese Sephora. That is something that naturally contains course attend and course attend can help stabilize some of these reactions. You’ve got stinging nettle, which can be helpful. You’ve got sodium bicarbonate is added to some histamine solutions we use vitamin C can help with histamine reactions. What else I mean there’s a ton that I know of I don’t have the full list.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I would also say just DAO enzyme [inaudible] oxidase and you can get that in kidney glandular tissue, which helps break down the enzymes. And some people we need just be on a lower histamine diet as well. That could be a big one, too. I’ve seen people when we go after like h pylori infections or gut infections, sometimes this the body gets overwhelmed the immune system and detoxification system get overwhelmed. And the skin gets used as a means to push things out of it’s very possible. That’s the case. So we kind of gone on a couple of tangents, but I want to bring it all home, right? Anytime we have stressing the got the skin can be effective. So I’m just trying to like zoom out. Okay, here are all the things that can happen in the gut. But anytime I’m talking about the gut, the skins intimately connected with that as well. So just keep that in mind. Your head everyone listening, the more we can reduce inflammation in the gut, we automatically help the skin number one. And then number two, when we have issues with the skin, we can always do things to kind of help. I mean there are different essential oils that can be used if it’s eczema reaction. peppermints excellent. calendula is really good. If it’s eczema or psoriatic reaction. Usually psoriasis is more flaky, eczema isn’t. And there’s an autoimmune component. So we really just we default back to that autoimmune diet. I have parents that tell me Well, my kids on it like 60% or 70%, or 80%. It’s like, it’s not enough. That’s the equivalent of your kid having a peanut allergy. And being like, well, he only eats peanuts one day a week. It’s like no, doesn’t work. Like you’ve got to be 100% to see the benefit because every time you stimulate the immune response, there’s a reaction and there’s a reaction and part of the healing comes from not not stimulating that immune system, and then we give healing nutrients to comment down whether it’s college Or whether it’s dgl, or Allah or just kind of soothing things, ginger, these are all you know, clean amino acids, these are all really good things, the parasites in our gut, those leaky gut junctions are made from amino acids are actually needed to help with. That’s why the gaps diet is so high in glycine, from organ meats and collagen, and bone marrow, so high in glycine, because the glycine really helps with the inteiro site. tight junctions so and that’s an amino acid and it’s going to be an amino acid that’s going to be lower in plant based products too.
Evan Brand: Yep, absolutely. That’s the that’s the ding ding ding that I was waiting for you to do. That’s like, Okay, if you’re still listening, you’re still vegan after this podcast. And please reach out to Justin schedule a console and let us can let us convince you with science. That’s the thing. It gets really silly when you see various documentaries that come out and it’s all emotional. You and I’ve talked about this before where there’s like an emotional drive behind some of the things but people just lose the clinical piece and so we don’t have an Agenda beyond getting people well, we could care less about this or that and the politics of this or that that’s not our goal, our goal is just to help you get better. And so we use the laboratory testing and we use the data. And of course, most importantly, we use your symptoms. How is your skin doing with this diet change? How is your skin doing? Now that we’ve resolved these issues? Now that we’ve added in the collagen or the bone marrow, we’ve added extra glycine and bone broth? How are you doing? How are you feeling? And our results? And if you look at all of our five star reviews, that’s all you have to know. It’s, we’re doing this to get a clinical result and an outcome that allows people to have less symptoms and to enjoy their life more. And so there’s times where we have to change our opinion on stuff because of that, if we try something and it doesn’t work, then we’ve got to go back and go back to the drawing board.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, the key thing is just look at how we’ve evolved from a food perspective. When you go back and you look at hunter gatherer societies and you look at the nutrition that allowed our brain to grow evolve, it’s easy to see because you can connect the dots. And the only way, the only way you can come to a different conclusion is if you don’t if you are missing that, that accurate timeline of how we got to where we’re at now, if you miss that, then it makes sense. But if you really understand it, or in summary, in summary, all foods don’t cause new disease, right? If you had that mindset, you would not fall prey to the, you know, low fat scam of the 80s and 90s. And, and all trans fats and the margins and the vegetable oil spray. If you had that mindset, you don’t fall prey to that thing. So if you have a different lens and a filter and how to to look at things and perceive things, you won’t get propagandize. Yep, absolutely. Very cool.
Evan Brand: Like I said, there’s a lot of things we can do testing wise, looking at store looking at organic acid testing, there’s nutrient profiles, there’s ways to measure your gut barrier, as Justin talked about kind of sealing up the gut to fix the skin issues and reactions. And so you could drink a gallon of bone broth a day and not get any better number one because bone broth can be Hi and histamine depending on whether it’s store bought or home cooked, or how long you cooked it for. So, you know, people just think you could just sit bone broth and stay in your pajamas all day and fix your gut. But that’s not how it works. In reality, you’ve got to do underlying, you gotta find and fix underlying causes as well.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I mean, an example is this, okay? people listening to that. Just imagine, you put aloe on your sunburn every day, but you still go out past, you know, the amount of time you should be outside and you get burned every day. I’m going to go outside, I’m going to get burned. But I’m going to just rub aloe on every single night and then you repeat that cycle. Is your skin ever going to heal? No. And it’s the equivalent to what people’s guts are. They’re just, they’re sunburned every day, and they’re just continuing to ravallo on it.
Evan Brand: I love that. I love the analogies. It really just helps clarify things I need to get better at analogies.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, then with an analogy is it sticks like you don’t have to memorize that analogy. It resonates. It’s in your soul. You get it because there’s a picture. you visualize it in your brain. You’ve had that experience before and you’re thinking It’s not something you have to memorize. It’s not a mechanism that you have to read and study and memorize it.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, people walk away with a couple of, you know, pictures in their brain about the concepts we’re talking about. I think we’re in good shape. Is there anything else you want to highlight in regards to food reactions on the skin?
Evan Brand: I would say that they are reversible. You know, I’ve had my fair share of food reactions as well just in various stages of healing with my body adrenals gut, and on and on. And so things that you react to now are not things that you necessarily will react to in the future. We’ve had people that were on such limited such restricted diets, and they were so happy that they could add back in nuts and seeds and add back in eggs and add an avocado again and add in citrus. So don’t just assume that because right now you can only eat five foods or 10 foods or you can eat this and you wish you could whenever going to say go eat gluten and all this other garbage but I’m talking real good foods like let’s say cashews but you have a bad problem with cashews or eggs but you are in pain every time you eat eggs. The good news is a lot of this stuff is reversible, you just have to get to the root cause. So if you try the digestive enzyme route, you’re still struggling, look deeper, reach out clinically, even if you don’t work with us, you work with somebody else. As long as they know what they’re doing, and they get you better, we’re happy. But of course, we would love the opportunity to help you. So Justin and I work with people around the world, we send these advanced lab tests to your home, if we need to send you out for blood locally, we get blood locally, we do a lab review, we review it all together, we lay all the puzzle pieces out on the table and we put those in the correct order, which is the secret sauce to getting people better.
Meat Glue: The Hidden Ingredient in Meat That’s Making You Sick
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Do you remember hearing about ‘pink slime’ in meat a few years back? It was all over the news, generating mass outrage–but then people seemed to forget and move on. Concerningly, meat glue is still being used in meat today, and you may even have it in your fridge right now.
What is Meat Glue?
It’s perhaps a little disturbing, but not surprising, to learn that a pack of ground beef can contain meat from hundreds of animals located around the globe, but did you know your steak may be made up of different animals and glued together to appear as one whole piece? Pieces of meat that are too small to sell are oftentimes glued together with an enzyme called microbial transglutaminase, commonly referred to as meat glue.
We know enzymes are good, so why is transglutaminase so scary? The meat glue enzyme (mTG) is produced from a strain of bacteria called Streptoverticillium1. In previous decades, it was taken from guinea pig livers, but today manufacturers go for the cheaper option and source this compound from cow or pig blood plasma.
It is then cultivated and dried into a powder which is sprinkled on meat, where it becomes the infamous ‘pink slime,’ and the meat is wrapped in plastic wrap and refridgerated. The reaction of mTG and meat protein linking up creates a seamless bond: even expert butchers can’t discern a ‘real’ from a ‘fake’ steak!
The Risks Associated with Meat Glue
There’s a reason the title of this piece is “the *hidden* ingredient that’s making you sick,” food manufacturers are not required to disclose the use of meat glue. It’s a shady practice: the manufacturer glues together scraps of meat that would have otherwise been discarded, and sells it from a premium under the guise of it being a real steak. Besides being deceitful, meat glue comes with health risks that we want to be able to avoid.
Meats treated with meat glue mTG have a higher possibility of spreading food poisoning. Bacterial contamination of these glued steaks is hundreds of times higher than a pure piece of steak, which is exponentially more risky for those who like their steak rare. Additionally, since meat glued steaks contain meat from an unknown number of cows, when outbreaks occur, it’s near impossible to know which batches are contaminated.
Microbial transglutaminase has been shown to increase gut permeability, which can cause all sorts of leaky gut related issues, like fatigue, digestive issues, cognition problems, nutrient deficiencies, and more. Meat glue can also create symptoms in those with Celiac disease, as mTG acts as a binder, can increase the potency of gluten, and cause cross-reactivity.
Click here to work with a functional medicine doctor if you are suffering from leaky gut symptoms!
As a binder, meat glue also binds to proteins which creates antigenic peptides: these can trick your body into thinking the proteins are an allergen, which sends the body into an autoimmune response. Meat glue can drive inflammation, autoimmunity, food allergies, leaky gut–not to mention the higher risk of food poisoning. Everyone should be staying away from this substance–but if it’s not required to list on the food packaging, how do you avoid it?
How to Avoid Meat Glue
So, how do you avoid this gross and potentially dangerous additive if manufacturers are allowed to process meat with mTG pink slime without disclosing it? Your best bet is to support local farmers who you trust. If you must shop at a grocery store, choose organic grass-fed and grass-finished meat fresh from the butcher’s counter.
Microbial transglutaminase is also used in processed foods like sausage, cheese, and yogurt, so your best bet is to eat fresh foods, and to choose high quality cheeses and yogurts–raw (unpasteurized) or goat’s milk are better dairy choices.
Luckily, if you are eating a diet high in healthy fats, organic veggies, and grass-fed proteins, you are probably already avoiding most sources of mTG. I recommend a paleo-keto type of diet as it is best for burning fat and increasing energy. If you think you may be suffering from health issues related to mTG, you may want to try an elimination diet to give your body a reset.
Click here to ask a functional medicine doctor about the elimination diet!
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Lerner, A., Matthias, T. (2015). Possible association between celiac disease and bacterial
transglutaminase in food processing: a hypothesis. Nutrition Reviews. 73(8), 544-552.
Skovbjerg, H., Koch, C., Anthosen, D., Sjostrom, H. (2004). Deamidation and cross-linking of
gliadin peptides by transglutaminases and the relation to celiac disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 1690(3), 220-230.