What's the Deal with Food Sensitivities

Nowadays everyone and their mom is “sensitive” to particular foods. While some of that may be trendy, there is actually some truth there. This post is meant to clear the air on what exactly “food sensitivities” are and talk about the testing I use with my clients to eliminate the guesswork and streamline results.   

If you…

  • Notice you’re congested after meals or have frequent sinus issues
  • Suffer from brain fog or low energy levels
  • Have a difficult time losing weight
  • Experience digestive issues on a regular basis
  • Have acne or skin issues (rosacea/eczema/psoriasis)
  • Frequent joint aches and pains
  • Frequent headaches 
  • Or have any of the following conditions:
    • Migraines
    • Fibromyalgia
    • IBS/chron’s/colitis
    • GERD
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Hashimoto's thyroiditis
    • other autoimmune issues

...then food sensitivities might be to blame

Before we dive in you need to know there are three different classes of adverse food reactions: allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. These are three very different things and need to be differentiated before we go any further because they are inaccurately interchanged quite a bit.

  • Food allergy: immune-mediated response that triggers IgE antibodies. Typical symptoms arrive immediately and include: hives, swelling, itchiness and anaphylaxis. Example: peanut allergy.

  • Food intolerance: inability to properly digest a food due to lack of enzymes. Typical symptoms are digestive in nature: bloating, diarrhea, etc. Example: lactose intolerance (lack of sufficient lactase enzyme).

  • Food sensitivity: immune-mediated response that triggers IgA and IgG antibodies resulting in a low-grade, systemic inflammatory response. Symptom presentation ranges greatly, from immediate up to 72 hrs after exposure to the food and can include water retention, digestive issues, migraines/headaches, stubborn weight loss, hormonal imbalances, low energy, chronic runny nose, auto-immunity etc.  

How A Food Sensitivity Triggers Inflammation:

(not my image) Shows gut barrier permeability. Left is "normal", right is leaky and inflamed. 

(not my image) Shows gut barrier permeability. Left is "normal", right is leaky and inflamed. 

Our intestines house over half of our immune system (crazy, huh?). The immune system’s job is to protect us from any harmful components to the foods we eat like bacteria, parasites, viruses, etc. Food itself contains proteins that can trigger the immune system as well and, if the barrier of the intestines is compromised, it allows the immune system to be exposed to food proteins that it should not have been. THIS is where the immune reaction followed by inflammation can occur. If left untreated, this leads to near constant triggering of the immune system: sapping your nutrients, your energy and potentially expanding your waistline.

When you have food sensitivities, your body is “simmering” with chronic, low-grade inflammation that stands in the way of optimal functioning and health. When the body is using its resources to try and calm the inflammation, gut health is compromised and the immune system is functioning on overdrive, many health issues can arise. Since symptoms can show anywhere within a 72hr window, it makes identifying sensitivities very difficult. Fortunately, there is a way to eliminate the guesswork: lab testing.

Food Sensitivity Testing

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The lab test that I use with my clients is the gold standard for accurately identifying food sources of inflammation: the MRT test (Mediator Release Testing). The MRT test will tell you what foods and food chemicals are triggering an inflammatory reaction the body. Without getting into the nitty gritty of testing specifics (check out the video at the bottom if you want to know more), the MRT test is looking at the end point of the inflammatory reaction to foods. This eliminates the false positives/negatives that occur with typical food sensitivity testing. This is a huge deal for me and my clients because I don’t like to waste their time (or mine)!

The MRT test identifies your level of reactivity to 170 different foods and chemicals (like dyes, artificial sweeteners, ibuprofen, etc.) but the real “secret sauce” comes from the LEAP protocol: a custom elimination and reintroduction protocol designed to reduce your inflammation rapidly and liberalize your diet as quickly as possible while keeping symptoms at bay. The test results alone are great information but the LEAP protocol tells you WHAT to do with the results: a systematic approach for what foods/chemicals to remove, how to test foods that aren’t on the panel for reactivity, how to meal plan/find recipes that work in your specific case and ongoing support and symptom assessments throughout the duration of the 8 weeks (typically). There is immense value in the protocol and that is ultimately why I decided to become a Certified LEAP Therapist through Oxford Biomedical late last year.

If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know I firmly believe that there is no one-size fits all approach to nutrition and I am incredibly passionate about helping people find THEIR path. There is so much power and freedom that comes from identifying what works for your body. To me, the MRT + LEAP is the ultimate customization since all of us have different foods that cause inflammation - even healthy foods. For example, when I did this test I found I was reactive to turmeric which is supposed to be the “best” natural anti-inflammatory (what the?!)  

The good news is food sensitivities aren’t permanent. Removing the offending foods for a specific period of time based on your level of reactivity and focusing on healing the gut lining should help eliminate a large portion of your sensitivities. Doing so helps to significantly reduce inflammation and lower the burden on your immune system. Completing the LEAP protocol is not easy. It takes diligence, planning and discipline but for those suffering from chronic conditions it can be a HUGE game changer that can mean fewer symptomatic days or possibly complete resolution.

To summarize, at the core of most health problems is inflammation and a large part of that can be attributed to diet. All of us have different lists of anti- and pro-inflammatory foods and my expertise is helping people identify their lists and modify their diet and lifestyle to reduce symptoms of inflammation.

 

If you have any questions or are curious if you're a good candidate, comment below or shoot me an email at kaely@kaelyrd.com 

 

MORE INFORMATION:

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Check out this website for even more info: www.nowleap.com