Have you ever noticed your body reacting in an “unusual” manner after you eat certain foods? Perhaps you feel lethargic, get a headache, or have to run to the bathroom. Or maybe you experience something subtler, like heartburn, bloating, a skin rash, or joint pain. You might have something known as Food Sensitivity, aka Food Intolerance.
Food Sensitivity vs Food Allergy
Unlike a full blown food allergy where the reaction is immediate, the symptoms of a food sensitivity or intolerance tend to manifest themselves hours, days, or even weeks after eating a problematic food. And while food allergy reactions are always severe, food intolerance reactions range from mild to severe.
Food allergy is an IgE immune system response that is typically characterized by hives, shortness of breath, upset stomach, and, in some cases, anaphylaxis. The most common food allergies are to nuts, shellfish, eggs, wheat and dairy. According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, only about 4% of the United States population has a true food allergy.
Food intolerance or sensitivity, on the other hand, is much more common than food allergies and is characterized by digestive disorders, migraines, obesity, chronic fatigue, aching joints, skin disorders and behavioral issues. The inflammatory response in the body can cause a wide range of chronic or temporary issues. It has been stated that upwards of 70-80% of the US population has food intolerance. Unfortunately for many, those food intolerance symptoms are often identified as individual problems and treated as such, thus treating the symptoms and not the cause.
Because symptoms from a food sensitivity are often not as immediate or severe as a food allergy, diagnosis can be difficult without clinical testing. Food Sensitivity Testing is now considered the, “gold standard” laboratory method for identification of non-IgE mediated reactions to foods, chemicals, and other substances. This simple blood test will test hundreds of foods and other substances, rating the severity of reactions, so you know exactly which items to eliminate from your diet and which foods are safe to eat every day.
10 Signs of Food Sensitivity You Shouldn’t Ignore
Inflammation caused by chronic activation of the immune system from food intolerance can be linked to a wide range of symptoms. While this list covers a good number of the symptoms often associated with food sensitivity, it is by no means exhaustive. As a Functional Medicine Practitioner, Dr Kramer is skilled in identifying potential disease states and health issues that may be linked to food sensitivity.
- AutoImmune Disorders
- Including Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, etc
- Digestive Disorders
- Including IBS, GERD, Crohn’s, frequent indigestion, bloating, diarrehea, nausea, gallstones, constipation, gas, etc.
- Migraines and Headaches
- Sleeping difficulties
- Obesity/Weight Gain
- Including the inability to lose weight
- Chronic Fatigue
- Aching Joints and Arthritis
- Skin Disorders
- Including dermatitis, acne, eczema, hives, cracked heels, itching, dry/flaking skin, etc
Testing for Food Sensitivity
Identifying food sensitivities is one of the defining tools in a Functional Medicine Practitioners playbook. A simple blood test is all it takes to find out if there are food intolerances and to what degree the patient reacts. The comprehensive blood test identifies IgG and IgA type reactions in your body to hundreds of foods, medicinal herbs, food additives and colorings, environmental chemicals, molds, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory agents. Food Sensitivity Testing does not detect Food Allergy.
Results are returned to your doctor within in 14 business days, and he will review those results and any necessary diet changes with you. In many cases, the dietary changes only last a 3-6 months before the reactive foods can be reintroduced. At that time you will monitor how your body responds to the food to determine if additional time avoiding it is necessary. Another round of blood tests may also be recommended to determine if sensitivity has been reduced.
Testing is available at Senara for the whole family, and for all ages.