Have you ever wondered why peppers make your spouse gassy but digest just fine with you? Or why red wine gives you a migraine but a cold beer does not? Or why does your grandmother thinks milk makes her arthritis pain worse? All of these reactions can be related to food sensitivities. Medical research has found that foods, food additives, and chemicals can provoke a variety of symptoms and leave you struggling with chronic health conditions.
Food sensitivities will affect an estimated 15 – 20 percent of the population and symptoms from food sensitivities can vary greatly depending on the individual. Research has found that people struggling with irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, fibromyalgia, and chronic depression have higher levels of mediators circulating throughout their body. Symptoms are provoked when “mediators” (i.e. histamines, cytokines and prostaglandins) are released from our immune cells. Therefore, when the “triggers” (i.e. foods, additives or chemicals) are ingested the mediators are released and provoke inflammation and symptoms related to the condition.
The symptoms associated with food sensitivities are commonly known as “chronic” because the mediators that are making one feel sick are being released every time the food, additive, or chemical particle is consumed, which could be daily for some foods.
So how do you know if your food is making you sick? Listed below are common conditions and symptoms linked to food sensitivities. If you struggle from one or more of these conditions then you may want consider ruling out food sensitivities.
Irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory disease, heartburn, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping and bloating
Migraine and other chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, joint pain, muscle pain and muscle weakness
Autism, ADD/ADHD, fatigue, tiredness, insomnia, general malaise, restlessness and “brain fog”
Hives and eczema
Excess mucous production, chronic post nasal drip and chronic congestion
How do you identify what foods are making you sick? Each person will vary in what foods may provoke symptoms. Traditionally, we have used a basic elimination diet to help identify what foods are making one sick. However, with a basic elimination diet, you will never know what specific foods are causing the reaction and you may still be consuming reactive foods even though they are classified as a typical “safe” food. The best way to determine what specific foods are causing symptoms is through a blood test, such as MRT (Mediator Release Testing).
If you are interested in learning more about food sensitivity testing and if MRT may be your missing link, locate a LEAP-certified registered dietitian or contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yvette Quantz is a registered dietitian and lifestyle nutritionist. She owns Food Therapy LLC, a nutrition consulting center based in Lafayette. For more information, go to www.foodtherapyonline.com. She is a provider with Blue Cross Blue Shield and can be reached at 739-3539 or email@example.com.