Food Intolerance/Sensitivity Testing
What is a food intolerance?
A “food intolerance” or a “food sensitivity” refers to a delayed immune response, which often makes it very difficult to connect the offending food to a specific symptom! Although careful analysis and using a diet diary can help, it is still often very frustrating to identify causation.
This is the type of situation where blood food intolerance testing can be helpful. Food intolerance testing helps to identify foods that we would not even suspect as a common allergen. For example, papaya is not a common allergen, so no one would think to do a trial elimination of such a nutritious food, but if the test comes back positive to papaya, it has to at least be eliminated for a few months while we heal the leaky or permeable GUT, rebalance the microflora or GUT bacteria, rebalance digestive enzymes, and improve gut motility. The good news is that most patients can often reintroduce some if not all flagged foods once the GUT has healed.
This rapid (non-delayed) type of food reaction or a digestive intolerance is a reaction to a specific food that is isolated to the digestive tract. An associated symptom or reaction would be diarrhea or constipation, and is often caused by a deficiency of enzymes required to break down the ingested food. For example, lactose intolerance -which is very common in many populations present this way. Lactose is a sugar in dairy, and most adult humans have low levels of lactase (the enzyme required to breakdown lactose), and therefore it leads to maldigestion of the dairy, and thus gas, bloating, and sometimes diarrhea.
A different, and more slow, digestive intolerance would be the chronically constipating effect of the protein in dairy (casein). These people are also reacting to the same food group, but manifesting their reaction in a very different way because the mechanism is very different.
How does food sensitivity cause symptoms?
When the body’s immune system starts to react to foods, it creates antigen-antibody complexes, these complexes can then circulate in the blood stream and lodge into tissues. Depending on where the complexes land, food intolerances (or food sensitivities) can manifest in a multitude of ways including:
Migraines and headaches
Weight gain (obesity)
Hashimotos thyroiditis (thyroid problems)
Sjorgen’s and other autoimmune conditions