Society as a whole is starting to pay more attention to what we are feeding our bodies and considering the idea of food as a medicine. Food sensitivities have stepped into the spotlight as more and more people are identifying the direct connection between what we are eating and how our bodies are performing. Research has demonstrated the need to take food sensitivities seriously because left untreated, a food sensitivity can lead to chronic illness.
What is a food sensitivity?
As the body breaks down the food we ingest, protein fragments can be “miss-labeled” as foreign invaders in need of being “destroyed.” This triggers an immune response which creates inflammation in the body. This is a food sensitivity. You might experience bloating, gas, upset stomach or diarrhea as the body tries to eliminate these “invaders.” These symptoms pass relatively quick, but your body is still experiencing inflammation caused by the immune response. When your body is exposed to a continuous inflammatory response (even low-grade inflammation), you are susceptible to disease and accelerated aging.
Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivities
A true food allergy is characterized by an almost immediate response of the body, such as itchiness, runny eyes and nose, and trouble breathing. A food sensitivity will take longer to manifest itself and is often missed because the symptoms are usually cumulative and attributed to something other than a food you may have consumed hours or days prior. Food sensitivities often present themselves in the form of migraines or headaches, irritability, foggy thinking, bloated of puffiness, skin problems, and irregular bowel habits. Dr. David Blywiess, Chief Medical Officer at Cell Science Systems (the makers of ALCAT testing) estimates that over 80% of the human population has a food sensitivity of some degree. Only 5% of these people have a true food allergy.
Identifying The Culprits
An elimination diet is one of the tools recommended in identifying foods that cause you issues. This means you eliminate certain foods for a period of time (usually 3 to 4 weeks) and then reintroduce them slowly and monitor symptoms to identify possible reactions. This is done by keeping a food journal. This is really helpful for identifying the “big offenders” such as gluten, dairy, and soy. The elimination diet can be time consuming and difficult when you consider the dozens of other foods you eat that don’t fall into the “big offenders” categories. This is when food allergy testing might be recommended. At Wise Woman Wellness, we have trusted the science behind the ALCAT testing for many years. They are considered the gold standard for testing allergies and sensitivities to food, chemicals, and molds, because they use a live blood cell test instead of the typical IgG test. The live blood cell tests measures reactions as the various elements are introduced, while the IgG test is a dead blood test that measures antibodies and pieces together an incomplete picture of possible food sensitivities based on the number of antibodies found in that particular blood sample. If the patient hasn’t been exposed to a certain food, chemical, or mold for an extended period then it can be missed.
Good nutrition is crucial health and wellness. Feeding your body what it needs to thrive is important to how we feel and age. That is why it is part of each patient’s customized wellness plan at Wise Woman Wellness.
To find out more, please visit us on the web at WiseWomanWellness.com
Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, NCMP, is the owner of Wise Woman Wellness LLC, an innovative wellness and hormone care center at 1480 Swan Road, De Pere. Mann is the author of the eBook: A Guide to Gluten and Going Gluten Free. She is a board-certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and certified NAMS Menopause Practitioner, one of a handful in Wisconsin and less than 700 worldwide to achieve this distinction. She combines the best of conventional, functional and integrative medicine to help women with female, thyroid and adrenal hormone issues to live healthier, more abundant, joy-filled lives using a blend of compassion, cutting edge science, practical guidance and humor.