What is food sensitivity testing?
You have been prodded by your gastroenterologist and poked by your allergist and still they find nothing wrong. You have all kinds of symptoms and are sure they are related to some of the food you are eating, but you can’t get any answers. Then, someone mentions Food Sensitivity Testing…
Before you roll your eyes at another test. Let’s get the answers to 4 key questions:
- Why would I need this test?
- How did I end up with food sensitivities in the first place?
- What is the difference between food sensitivity testing and food allergy testing?
- Can I get rid of food sensitivities and how do I do that?
Why do you need food sensitivity testing?
You have been feeling like crap for quite some time and still don’t have any answers. You may have any one or all of the following symptoms:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Reflux, heartburn or GERD
- Constipation and/or Diarrhea
- Hives or Rashes that won’t go away
- Achy joints
- Eczema and/or Acne
Many of these symptoms can have their root in the foods you eat. Think about this: What happens to the food you eat? Maybe a better question is why do we eat? We eat for the nutrients in food. Those nutrients go into each and every cell of your body. The burger you had yesterday, becomes your skin cells today.
The food you eat takes a path from your mouth through your digestive system. Assuming everything is working properly in your digestive system, the food is broken down into it’s components and distributed throughout your body.
- The meat of that burger is a protein. Proteins break down to amino acids. Amino acids are used to make muscle tissue and enzymes that keep you body running.
- The lettuce and tomato contain phytonutrients that serve as antioxidants to prevent aging and help detox your body
- The fat from your burger becomes part of cell structure. Assuming it’s good fat from a grass fed cow, this can be really healthy. If not it can cause inflammation. A blog for another day.
- The bun provides lots of carbohydrates which may provide energy for your cells or just be turned into fat if you are overeating carbs. Again, another blog for another day.
- And magically the burger becomes part of YOU!
What if your digestive system isn’t so great? What if you have a really upset digestive system? Or you have Leaky Gut? Or what if you are the 1 person in 3 who have digestive issues without any symptoms. Keeping in mind, 60-80% of your immune system is located within your digestive system. The food you eat goes everywhere in your body!
You may be thinking, wait a minute, I thought we were learning about Food Sensitivity Testing and now we are talking about Leaky Gut!
So, how did you end up with food sensitivities in the first place?
Here is the short answer:
The food you’re eating is messing with your immune system because of your trashed and leaky digestive system. The Food Sensitivity Test measures the drama your immune system is creating toward food. So hang with me…
My immune system is involved with digestion? Let’s get a little background info. Frankly put, every mouthful of food we eat contains a certain amount of bacteria, viruses, yeast, and toxins. I know!! EWWWWW!! But our body is set up to handle it. In a healthy digestive system:
- The saliva in our mouth contains digestive and antibacterial properties.
- We have acid in our stomach. It is there not only to break down food, but serves to sterilize your food.
- The bile from your liver, stored and released by your gallbladder, serves to grab the fat from your diet, along with adjusting the pH of your intestines.
- We have TRILLIONS of bacteria that live in your intestines.The normal gut flora (think probiotics) also helps keep the bad bacteria to a minimum, processes and digest food, makes vitamins and feeds the cells of your intestines.
- Our immune system, with it’s army of white blood cells, resides in your intestines. It gets involved at the digestive level as well, by surveying the incoming food for virus, bacteria, toxins, and yeast.
What happens when our immune system sees the food we are eating as a toxin or as a bacteria or worse, like a body part? (See my Hashimoto’s and Gluten blog)
Well, our immune system gets overloaded with this crap we call food. The Standard American Diet, SAD, or the Modern Urban Diet, MUD is basically processed food, these are toxins not food. This “food” doesn’t appear like food to our immune system. That, coupled with any previous body stresses like antibiotics, mental and emotional stress, alcohol and too much caffeine etc. breaks down the digestive track.
In short, this is what causes little leaks in the intestines, AKA Leaky Gut. The leaks create an overload on the immune surveillance systems. And the immune system starts reacting to your food as if it were a foreign invader.
Your immune system becomes rebellious. It is supposed to protect you from toxins, yet, it is overrun with toxins. So, it does what it knows to do, it creates antibodies, and turns on an entire avalanche of inflammatory molecules.
With Food Sensitivity Testing we are concerned with looking at IgG antibodies. These increase when you when you overexpose your immune system to the same things all the time. Antibodies are supposed to help your body get rid of things, but now that food is involved, your immune system is on high alert, every time you eat.
When the immune system goes into attack mode against a certain food, several things happen:
- Antibodies are produced
- Inflammatory molecules are produced. These are the same molecules that get produced when you have an infection. How do you feel when you are sick? Achy? Tired? Headache? Except now it’s to certain foods…
- Immune cells – your white blood cells – are activated as if you had a foreign invader creating more inflammation to breakdown the foods your body thinks are invaders.
- This immune attack increases every time you eat the offending foods, creating more and more inflammation.
- When the inflammatory chemistry makes its way, via circulation, to your DNA – your genetics – it will “flip switches” on your genes.
- When the genes are activated, we perceive the effect as “diseases” or symptoms like joint pain, heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune diseases like Hashimoto’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Although genes are unique to you, other blood relatives may respond in a similar way.
- YES!! Food creates immune disruption to the point of a “disease”.
- No, your traditionally trained doctor doesn’t know this as they have most likely never had a class in nutrition.
- YES! You can begin to heal your immune system with a few simple steps.
This is where all the symptoms and disorders start…all from the SAD MUD you are consuming, screwing with your digestive track and pissing off your immune system.
Food Sensitivity Testing looks at the antibodies your immune system produces to certain foods.
GEEK ALERT: Antibodies are very specific to each toxin, virus or bacteria. They are produced when our immune system “reads” certain molecular shapes that are unique to each food. If we put that food in a little dish with the antibodies, they connect, like a key going into a lock. We can count how many antibody reactions have taken place, which gives us a way to know whether your body makes a lot of antibodies or just a few to any given food. For you science geeks, this type of test is called an ELISA test.
How is this different than Food Allergies?
As you can see, this process involves time. Time for your body to respond to the constant barrage of junk, time for your body to become devoid of the nutrients it needs to stop the frustrated immune system, and time to mount the attack of IgG antibodies. This is what creates a sensitivity over time.
Food allergies are based in a different mechanism. Yes, antibodies are involved. The IgE antibody is made, but the IgE antibody turns on a different part of the immune system that produces an immediate reaction. It causes the release of histamine along with other inflammatory molecules that cause the throat and tongue to swell, the airway to close down, severe itching or hives and worse, anaphylactic shock and death. The immediacy of the reaction is the problem.
Most people discover these immediate reactions when they are kids and have learned to avoid those foods. This is also what the medical profession is concerned about, because it can kill you.
On the other hand, the traditional medical profession doesn’t know or care about Food Sensitivity Testing. These reactions do not have fatal potential.
How do I get rid of the Sensitivities?
The answers gut healing and a 90 day food elimination protocol. Traditional doctors, even your allergist and ENT, generally have zero training in nutrition, so they have no need to know about the testing. Your traditional doctor is trained to keep you from dying, not to keep you healthy…yep…another blog for another day.
So, the upshot of this whole thing is:
- SAD MUD creates many health issues
- Your immune system can be turned on or off by what you consume – choose wisely
- Food Sensitivity Testing can help you know what to avoid for a short period of time while you heal your gut and get your immune system to chill
You can take control of your health! Your body totally knows how to heal when you give it what it needs to run like the Ferrari you were designed to be!