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Food sensitivities are well known for causing digestive issues such as gas, bloating, indigestion, or changes in bowel movements (constipation or diarrhea). However, in addition to digestive issues, food sensitivities can cause other symptoms that may not seem as obvious, including fatigue, brain fog, sinus congestion, headaches, joint pain, sleep and mood changes, acne, and skin rashes, for example.
It is important to know that a food sensitivity is not the same as a food allergy. A food allergy is an immune system response (IgE antibody) to a food that can cause immediate symptoms including hives, itching, digestive distress, or a swollen airway. A food sensitivity is also an immune response (IgG antibody) to certain foods, but results in a delayed reaction, meaning it may cause a symptom an hour after eating the triggering food, or it could be the next day, or even up to 48 hours later. The delayed reaction to the triggering food in addition to the variety of potential symptoms from a food sensitivity can make it difficult to identify what you’re reacting to.
So, how do you know if you have a food sensitivity?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, or they seem to be worse after certain meals, or come and go, then it’s worth exploring if you have a food sensitivity.
The gold standard (meaning the most reliable) way to identifying food sensitivities it to follow an elimination diet (where you take potential triggering foods out of your diet strictly) followed by a reintroduction diet (when you reintroduce foods systematically). I have found that completing this process can not only help you see improvements in your health when taking foods out of your diet, but also helps you identify specific symptoms triggered by food.
Elimination diets can be challenging to do on your own and it can be hard to commit to cutting out a long list of foods. If you aren’t prepared for a restrictive diet, or don’t have clear reintroduction guidelines, it makes it difficult to be successful. I can guide you every step of the way; including what to avoid, for how long, what to eat during the elimination diet, and perhaps most importantly, (and also most challenging) how to do a successful reintroduction.
In certain cases, it can be helpful to complete a food sensitivity test that can measure your levels of IgG antibodies for up to 80-90 different foods. Along with your symptoms and history, testing helps provide more information to be able to individualize your elimination and reintroduction diet.
It’s important to have your lab results interpreted by a knowledgeable health care provider, since sometimes, your IgG antibodies levels can also help identify whether you have intestinal hyperpermeability, or “leaky gut syndrome.” This is when there is damage in the lining of the digestive tract, from chronic stress, poor diet, drugs, alcohol, or infections, for example, that can cause more reactivity to foods and worse symptoms. Leaky gut is associated with chronic conditions such as autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, inflammatory bowel disease, mood disorders, and nutrient malabsorption. If this is the case for you, then we will focus on healing your digestive tract as an essential part of improving these chronic conditions as well as for overall health and wellness.
If you think certain foods are affecting your health and would like an expert in your corner helping guide and support you, consider scheduling a video appointment. I can help you identify food sensitivities that are causing symptoms, guide you through an individualized elimination and reintroduction diet, and help you heal your gut for optimal health and wellness!
At WellnessScript, we focus on solving health problems others can’t. Our video appointments bring experts from across the country into your home or office and are great for everyone as they fit into our crazy and hectic schedules and ensure that you have the time you need to feel heard and get all of your questions answered.
Functional & Naturopathic Medicine
$200 Initial Consult - 1 hour
Dr. Julie Briley
Follow-up Appointment: $100 for 30 min/$200 for 60 min
Expertise: Food sensitivities, gut health, detoxification, nutrition.
Clinical Experience: 10 years practicing naturopathic and functional medicine, including advanced training in digestive disorders and food as medicine.