Are Food Sensitivities Making You Ill?

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Food Leave a Comment

Are food sensitivities making you ill? Food sensitivities may be driving many of your symptoms. Migraines, difficulty losing weight, acne, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and many other symptoms can be signs of food sensitivities.

Because food sensitivities can be difficult to identify (a reaction may not be evident for up to 3 days after consuming food), many people have no idea that they are reacting to the food they are eating.

Are Food Sensitivities Making You Ill?

How do food sensitivities develop? 

One major way people develop food sensitivities is through a condition called leaky gut. Leaky gut is a condition in which inflammation in the lining of the intestines results in the breakdown of the gut barrier. Partially digested food particles are able to escape the intestine through the small spaces inflammation creates between the cells. These food particles enter the bloodstream and alert the immune system to a foreign invader. Viewing this food particle as non-self, the immune system mounts an antibody attack. The result is low grade systemic inflammation that can result in symptoms such as joint pain, mood changes, rashes or an overall sense of not feeling well.

Why is it important to determine if you have food sensitivities?

If you are consistently eating foods that you are sensitive to then you are consistently triggering your immune system to cause damage within your body. You may find that despite your best efforts to feel better, you just can't achieve that state of health you are after.

If you have an autoimmune condition, it is definitely important to get any foods that are driving an immune reaction out of your diet in order to heal your condition.

In my practice I typically run IgG food sensitivity testing with a simple finger stick. By uncovering food sensitivities and implementing dietary changes, I have seen patients improve dramatically in their symptoms and even reverse their chronic conditions.

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How can you determine if you have food sensitivities? 

IgG Antibody Testing.

A simple in office fingerstick can determine your degree of reaction to 96+ foods. Because the results of this test need to be medically evaluated with your entire health picture in mind, it is important to have this testing ordered and interpreted by a trained and licensed health care professional. Working with a doctor or other licensed healthcare professional can ensure that you have proper physical exams performed, other necessary blood work ordered and can have your specific medical condition both diagnosed and treated. 

Remove The Big 8.

The top 8 food allergens are eggs, dairy, wheat (gluten), soy, shellfish, peanuts, fish and tree nuts. Eliminate these 8 foods completely from your diet for at least 6 weeks. Reintroduction of these foods following a period of elimination should be done one at a time, with at least 3 days between introduction of a new food. It is important to note any symptoms that arise and to avoid introducing another food until those symptoms have subsided.

8 Common Food Sensitivities:

  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Wheat (gluten)
  • Soy
  • Shellfish
  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Tree nuts

Anti-Inflammatory Diet.

For many of my patients, I recommend an anti-inflammatory diet of at least 6 weeks. This involves removing other potential triggers of inflammation, like nightshades and citrus. Again, reintroduction of these foods need to be systematic and symptoms must be tracked to have a clear picture of what may be aggravating your symptoms.

One of the most important aspects of working with food sensitivities is recognizing how the individual is responding to both the elimination and reintroduction of foods. For some people, a simple elimination for a period of time is enough to allow their gut to heal. For others, repair of the gut lining, anti-inflammatory support and balancing of their gut flora is necessary to correct underlying damage caused from years of exposure to food intolerances.

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is a women’s hormone expert and prominent leader in women’s medicine. As a licensed naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic endocrinology, she takes an integrative approach in her clinical practice. A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones. She is the best selling author of Beyond the Pill and Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth. Dr. Brighten is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and a faculty member for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, Elle, and ABC News. Read more about me here.