What is the Difference and How to Know What Foods Are Causing Your Symptoms
My patient population and my dear readers are gloriously aware and curious. You no longer buy into the advice that your diet has no affect on your symptoms. In fact, you know that it is exactly the opposite. Not only are you trying to eat as much nutrition as possible (I hope you are heeding my unending nagging on this topic!), you also know that certain foods exacerbate or maybe even cause some of your symptoms. You often ask me about food allergy testing- wanting to be able to pinpoint which foods, exactly, are negatively affecting you so that you can diligently avoid them.
Unfortunately, untangling what foods cause problems for you is more difficult than a singular test. That is because there are multiple ways your body can react to food. There are food allergies, food intolerances, and food sensitivities. Let’s talk about the difference between these and how to tell what you have going on.
Food allergy testing is done by a medical professional through scratch testing on the back or arm, introducing the potential allergen through the scratch on the skin, and watching the reaction occur within a matter of minutes.
Food sensitivities, also known as food hypersensitivities or non-allergic food reactions, occur when the body has an adverse response to certain foods. Unlike allergies, sensitivities can trigger a delayed immune response by triggering Immunoglobulin A (IgA) or Immunoglobulin G (IgG), or can set off an inflammatory response by releasing pro-inflammatory cytokines. In both cases, the reaction can take longer- hours to days- after a food is eaten.
Food intolerances involve the body’s inability to properly digest or metabolize certain foods. The most well-known example is lactose intolerance, where the body lacks the enzyme needed to break down lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. This can lead to digestive distress, including bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Similarly, gluten intolerance (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) can cause gastrointestinal symptoms without involving the immune system as in celiac disease.
I rely on elimination challenges and/or breath testing for lactose intolerance. For gluten intolerance testing, I use Cyrex Labs testing. They test immune reactivity to over 20 different gluten proteins which is incredibly thorough.
Identifying the cause of health problems is always of utmost importance, but it is certainly not easy, and when it comes to food it can be particularly frustrating and emotional. Please reach out to me today and I can help you sort through it all.
Call me today to schedule your appointment to help you find out what your food sensitivities, intolerances or allergies are and how to make it better.
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