LET’S TALK FOOD SENSITIVITIES
LET’S TALK FOOD SENSITIVITIES
By Kerri Dodson, MNT, MCHWC, Master Nutrition Therapist
Many think that food allergies and food sensitivities are the same when in actuality, they are very different. With a food allergy, a person has an immediate response. Think about someone who eats peanuts and has an anaphylaxis response.
Food sensitivities can produce a much less reactive response which can also be delayed up to three days.
Unfortunately, food sensitivities play a role in many common health conditions. Adverse food reactions are one of the most commonly misidentified health issues. Chronic health issues such as digestive problems, headache, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, constant runny nose or constant congestion, are all symptoms of our immune system’s reaction to foods and additives in our everyday diet. Food sensitivities can also play a role in asthma, IBS, ADD/ADHD, arthritis, obesity and autoimmune diseases.
Some people can easily identify foods they are sensitive to, such as diary. While other times it’s a food chemical that is not easy to determine. What makes it difficult, is that any food or chemical, even healthy foods can be reactive. Another issue muddying the water is that it can be several food/chemical sensitivities at once.
Food sensitivities can take up to 72 hours to present any symptoms. This means if you eat eggs on Monday, you may not feel the effects, such as a migraine, until Wednesday. Another issue, it can be several low-grade sensitivities that compound causing issues. To make it even more difficult, it can be dose dependent. Meaning if you eat a little of that food you may not feel the negative effects even though it is still causing damage to your gastrointestinal tract and/or inflammation. It is not until you have eaten a decent amount that you feel the negative effects.
Is Food Sensitivity Testing Really Accurate?
Short answer is yes, as long as it is the appropriate test. Not all tests are created equal. As a Nutrition Therapist, I am trained and have access to some of the most accurate food sensitivity testing.
The one I prefer is the Mediator Release Test. It is the most accurate test available to identify foods, additives and chemicals that are causing reactions. This is a blood draw test that quantifies how strongly your immune cells react to 170 different foods, chemicals and additives. This test measures changes in the ratio of liquids to solids after whole blood exposure to various antigens. Since the changes in the cell volume can be quantified, it can determine just how sensitive you are to that particular food/chemical.
These food sensitivities are damaging to the intestinal lining, can contribute to leaky gut and chronically stimulate your immune system causing chronic inflammation.
How I Use This Testing
As a Nutrition Therapist, I rarely use this as a stand-alone test. We just cannot remove the sensitive food without healing and repairing the gastrointestinal lining. Almost all of my clients have chronic issues or severe digestive symptoms that also need to be addressed with gastrointestinal testing. Pairing these two tests together allows my clients to heal and have symptom resolution. When that is accomplished, we can then begin the reintroduction process of the sensitive foods to see if they are tolerated.
When you heal the gastrointestinal tract and fix leaky gut, while calming inflammation and immune response, food/chemical sensitivities are reversed. In doing so, my clients heal from their autoimmune issues, we can correct digestive disorders, rebalance the gut microbiome, significantly reduce inflammation and allow them to restore their energy, clear brain fog and get back to feeling incredible.