Are Food Sensitivities Making You Ill?

Image Source: National Cancer Institute

Image Source: National Cancer Institute

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.

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.

How can you determine if you have food sensitivities? 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I have successfully helped many patients discover their food sensitivities and achieve relief from symptoms that ailed them for years. I invite you to contact my office to find out more about how naturopathic medicine can help you achieve your optimal health.

Share this article:

Get Your FREE Hormone Starter Kit with

7 Day Meal Plan & Recipe Guide

This starter pack is exactly what every woman needs to bring her hormones back into balance!

Hormone Starter

Kit

About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

Facebook Twitter Instagram

Dr. Jolene Brighten is a Functional Medicine Naturopathic Doctor and the founder of Rubus Health, a women’s medicine clinic that specializes in women's hormones. She is recognized as a leading expert in Post-Birth Control Syndrome and the long-term side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives. Dr. Brighten is the best selling author, speaker and regular contributor to several online publications including MindBodyGreen. She is a medical advisor for one of the first data-driven apps to offer women personalized birth control recommendations.