Do any of these conditions or symptoms look familiar to you?
Chronic/Frequent Migraines (>2 per month)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Diarrhea Prominent)
Fibromyalgia (unexplained muscle pain & fatigue)
Or any of these associated conditions?
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Otitis Media w. Effusion (fluid in the middle ear)
Chronic Sinus Headaches
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Diarrhea of unknown cause
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis, Urticaria, Psoriasis)
Excess Mucus Production
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Non-seasonal Rhinitis (inflammation of nasal membranes)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
If you answered YES, then chances are you are suffering from food sensitivities! (So Keep Reading)
But with so many symptoms and reactions possible, how can you pinpoint what it is? AND is there really a difference between food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances? YES!
Regardless, we know that no matter if you are suffering from an allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance, they ALL make you feel lousy if you haven’t figured out the source. So, if your interested in feeling better then keep reading! By the end I hope you have learned:
The difference between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances
Steps to take in order to overcome any conditions or symptoms you might be suffering from these different food reactions
1. The difference between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances
Well the long and the short of it is that these three reactions take different biological pathways in the body. Both allergies and sensitivities involve your immune system, however intolerances do not! Food allergies involve IgE (Immunoglobulin E) antibodies, typically producing some type of symptom or reaction within 30 minutes of food exposure. Food sensitivities DO NOT involve IgE antibodies and their reactions can be delayed up to 72 hours after exposure AND can be dose-dependent. Food intolerances do not involve the immune system at all, but are due to the lack of enzymes within a person to actually break down certain foods (think of lactose intolerance here).
You might have heard of something called the Big 8. This is referring to the 8 most common allergens, including:
Did you know that 90% of the time food allergies are caused by one of these eight?!
Remember, allergic reactions will occur within 30 minutes, therefore most of the time you will know very soon if you have an allergy to something. The best way to reduce reactions for food allergies are total avoidance!
Although they are often grouped into the same category, food sensitivities are completely different than food allergies. As mentioned above, they can have delayed reactions (up to 3 days later for onset of symptoms) and they can be dose dependent (you are fine with a few slices of tomato, but not a bowl of tomato soup.) Therefore, to identify if you have a food sensitivity can be very tricky!
Food sensitivities can occur with ANY food or chemical. So, even if you think you are eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, such as turmeric, blueberries, tart cherries, tomatoes, walnuts, salmon, and olive oil these foods might still be causing your body harm! You might also unknowingly be causing your body harm from including common chemicals that might be added to your food or over the counter medications, such as acetaminophen, food colorings, and caffeine!
But, there is good news! The great thing about food sensitivities in comparison to food allergies is that food sensitivities may not need total avoidance forever!
I am not going to say much about this type of adverse food reaction, because food intolerances do not actually involve the immune system.
Food intolerances occur because the body does not have a specific enzyme to break down a food product. The most common example of a food intolerance is lactose intolerance, where the body is missing the enzyme lactase, therefore it cannot breakdown the sugar lactose.
Most often with food intolerances you can avoid the specific food that causes discomfort or by taking an appropriate digestive enzyme with your meals.
2. Steps to take in order to overcome any conditions or symptoms you might be suffering from these different food reactions
Food allergies are typically diagnosed by an allergy doctor by either using a the skin-prick test, an IgE blood test, an elimination diet, or an oral tolerance test. If you suspect you have a food allergy, please seek out a local allergy specialist!
The original method used to treat food sensitivities was done through the oligo-antigenetic diet. Basically, this is a type of elimination diet where you pick a few foods (3-4 foods) that are likely to not cause a reaction and eat only these foods for a few weeks before you start adding in one new food at a time to test for reactions. This is a LONG process and the problem here is what if you chose 4 foods that you thought would be okay, but really they are (or one of the foods) is the one causing a reaction!
Well thankfully we now have tests that are designed to give you results rather than you playing a guessing game for weeks or months! But, there are SEVERAL food sensitivity tests on the market these days. Which one is worth your investment?
Side note: Check out this extensive article from a colleague if you want to dig even deeper and learn about all the different food sensitivity tests available.
Different Food Sensitivity Tests
To sum it up, the gold standard food sensitivity test is the Mediator Release Test (MRT.) This is a blood test that will test for 170 different foods & chemicals to measure the magnitude of your body’s inflammatory response, giving you your level of reactivity for each item tested. I love this test so much beacuse it captures the whole picture!! But, this test is simply just that, a test. MRT is a great tool, but without guidance on the results you are still left guessing on how to get well.
This is where the LEAP (Lifestyle Eating and Performance) protocol comes in! The LEAP protocol is a customized elimination diet that is developed help you get well!! It is a strategic diet plan that is formed based on your individualized test results. With the help of a Certified LEAP Therapist (CLT) you will be given a list of your SAFEST foods, based on test results and personal preference, along with a plan to add in new foods and build variety. Can you imagine, no more guessing?!
Most people even begin to see their symptoms reduced by 50-70% within the first 10-14 days!
Just imagine, after trying countless diets, medication after medication, one doctor visit and test after another, you can see relief from changing diet alone!
Stop putting up with your illness or putting bandaids on your symptoms! Learn how to get well by eating real food that works for your body!
Are you ready to invest in your health?
Are you ready to learn how to heal your gut through foods that work for your specific body?
To learn more you can visit my website https://lexstartnutrition.com/services/gut-wellness/ OR go ahead and contact me here https://lexstartnutrition.com/contact/