How are food sensitivities different from food allergies?
When you think of someone having an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts or shellfish, this is a food allergy. An anaphylactic response is an IgE mediated immune reaction. When an individual has an allergic reaction to peanuts their body produces IgE antibodies against the food protein. These IgE antibodies then trigger an inflammatory response in the body that causes swelling of the face, hives and throat constriction. Most of the population does not have anaphylactic food allergies, but many do have food sensitivities or intolerances. Testing positive for a food sensitivity means that your body is producing IgA and/or IgG antibodies against certain food proteins. When these antibodies are produced, the inflammatory responses create various physical symptoms. The most common symptoms associated with food sensitivities include: constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, weight gain, fatigue, mental fog, eczema, psoriasis, acne, allergies, asthma, auto-immune conditions, muscle and joint pain, hair/skin/nail changes, menstrual irregularities and much more.
What is food sensitivity testing and how is it done?
Food sensitivities can be determined through a blood test. The blood test looks at levels of IgA and IgG antibodies to various foods.
Why is food sensitivity testing beneficial?
70 percent of our immune system resides in the gut! Certain foods can trigger an immune response in our GI tract and this inflammation does not remain localized. In fact, food can cause systemic inflammation. There is a huge link between food sensitivities and auto-immune conditions, hyper inflammatory condition (asthma, seasonal allergies, and eczema) and various GI issues (IBS, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease).
Why do I need this test if I eat healthy?
Even “healthy” and “nutritious” foods can cause immune reactions in certain people. For example, someone who is eating a mostly plant based diet low in refined sugars and carbohydrates may still be reacting to certain foods they’re consuming. The food sensitivity test looks at an individual’s immune response to various meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains and legumes. Eggs, for example, are considered a healthy protein source in many diets. However, I notice many patients are highly reactive towards egg yolk and/or egg white. I believe the most beneficial diet to promote health, wellness and longevity is an anti-inflammatory diet. Through blood testing you are able to see what foods are causing inflammation and create a truly individualized anti-inflammatory diet.
How can I find out more information?
If you are interested in learning more about food sensitivities, you can schedule an appointment with our naturopathic physician, Dr. Estrada.