Food: Not Always Nourishing
Eating the right foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, fish and poultry may be wrong for you! Why? Because you may be sensitive to some of these foods and they could be the cause of chronic symptoms. Food sensitivity can cause a variety of chronic symptoms which you would never think could be linked to foods. The following health problems and others may be alleviated when you identify and eliminate reactive foods.
- Weight Gain
- Joint Pains
- Skin Rashes
- Sinus Problems
- Achy Muscles
- Fluid Retention
Food Allergy or Food Sensitivity?
In a food reaction, the immune system reacts by releasing cells called antibodies. Foods that cause antibodies to be released are called antigens or allergens. Two types of antibodies commonly produced in response to foods are IgE (immunoglobulin E) and IgG (immunoglobulin G). Food allergy and food sensitivity differ by the type of antibody produced and the speed of the reaction. Food allergy is an immediate reaction caused by the production of IgE antibodies, while food sensitivity is a delayed reaction caused by the production of IgG antibodies to specific foods.
Food Allergy – IgE Reactions – Immediate
IgE reactions generally occur within minutes of eating a reactive food and can, on rare occasions, be life-threatening (e.g. peanut allergies). Skin eruptions (hives, eczema), breathing and digestive problems are also common IgE reactions seen in food allergy. After first time exposure to an allergen, the body remembers what the allergen “looks like” and keeps a supply of IgE ready for immediate release if it “sees” that allergen again.
Food Sensitivity – IgG Reactions – Delayed
IgG reactions take hours or days to develop, making it difficult to determine the food cause without testing. In an IgG reaction, the IgG antibodies attach themselves to the antigen and create an antibody-antigen complex. These complexes are normally removed by special cells called macrophages. However, if they are present in large numbers and the food antigen is still being consumed, the macrophages are unable to remove all the complexes. The antigen-antibody complexes accumulate and are deposited in body tissues. Once in tissue, these complexes cause inflammation, which can contribute to a variety of diseases and health conditions.
Conditions Associated with Food Sensitivities
Conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease have been linked to IgG food reactions. Research has shown that elimination of IgG reactive foods can alleviate IBS symptoms.
A 2007 research study found that 43/65 patients with migraine headaches had complete remission of headaches after one month of eliminating reactive foods. Another study in 2010 found a significant reduction in the number of headache days and migraine attacks with elimination of reactive foods.
Mood/attention deficit disorders:
Deposition of antibody-antigen complexes in nervous system tissues may contribute to hyperactivity, depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate and other mood disorders. There is some evidence that eliminating IgG food antigens improves attentiveness in children.
Antibody-antigen complexes in tissue cause inflammation, which leads to fluid retention and weight gain. To fight inflammation, the body releases a chemical called ghrelin, which also happens to be an appetite stimulant. Thus, IgG food reactions may contribute to weight gain in two ways: fluid retention and increased appetite.
Why Test Food Sensitivities?
Because hours or days can pass between the time a reactive food is consumed and the occurrence of a reaction occurs, testing is virtually the only way to determine which foods are responsible for the reaction. IgG reactions frequently occur to commonly consumed foods such as dairy, wheat, eggs, yeast, pork and soy. The picture is complicated by the fact that many commercial foods contain hidden ingredients that may act as agents in many allergic reactions. Elimination diets (removing suspect foods for a period of time and then reintroducing them to check for reactions) are sometimes used to detect food sensitivities but they are difficult to follow and can take months to complete.
How “Leaky Gut” Contributes to Food Reactions
Leaky gut syndrome is caused by inflammation in the gut lining. Inflammation can be caused by food allergies or sensitivities, abnormal gut flora, stress, certain drugs, and alcohol. An inflamed gut lining causes more food particles to leak into the bloodstream where they may come in contact with food-specific immunoglobulins. Therefore, a test report that shows multiple food reactions to foods regularly eaten may be an indication of leaky gut. If so, your healthcare professional may suggest treatments for your digestive system in addition to dietary changes.
Eliminating Reactive Foods
Once you receive your food sensitivity results, we will help you formulate a plan to eliminate the problem foods from your diet. Most people see improvement of symptoms within a few weeks of eliminating the reactive foods. However, it is important to understand that symptom improvement make take some time, and results vary from individual to individual. Removing reactive foods from the diet can sometimes result in withdrawal symptoms like headaches, tiredness, irritability and hunger.