What is a Food Sensitivity? Do I Have One ?
By Dr. Raquel Espinol
Gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, soy-free…these are now terms we may be coming familiar with we’re at the grocery store or out to eat. Why are foods without these certain ingredients becoming more prevalent? What health concerns are related to food sensitivities? And how can you find out if you may them as well?
A food sensitivity is not the same response as a food allergy. A food allergy is an immediate, allergic immune response to a component in food, that may result in hives, a rash, swollen lips, swollen throat/airway, and can be life-threatening. A food sensitivity is a delayed immune response, usually to a protein in food (but may also be to a starch, additive or pesticide), that can occur up to 72 hours after having eaten the food. It is not life-threatening, but can be associated with a whole host of symptoms and health concerns.
Symptoms like indigestion, belching, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain are very common with food sensitivities. However, there are many more health concerns associated with an immune reaction to food, which may seem completely unrelated. These may be concerns such as chronic ear or sinus infections, interstitial cystitis, recurrent canker sores, IBS, asthma, allergies, eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, migraines, and fluid retention. Mental-emotional concerns like depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, OCD, irritability, brain fog and seizures are also correlated.
Many factors increase our risk of developing a food sensitivity, such as a poor ability to absorb nutrients; low digestive enzymes like stomach acid; lack of beneficial gut bacteria; poor diet and overeating; gut irritants like soda, alcohol, coffee, nicotine and medications, antibiotics (just once or taken several times); high stress; a history of food poisoning or parasites; auto-immune disease; being formula-fed as a baby; and, finally, chemical or environmental sensitivity are all risk factors.
If you have any of the above health concerns or symptoms, they could potentially be related to or caused by a food sensitivity.* A simple blood test can check for 96 different foods, spices, fruits, vegetables, oils, and yeast, making it very comprehensive. The results take two weeks, and are able to show a practitioner how well you’re digesting and absorbing your food, how inflamed your gut is, whether leaky gut is present, and how long it will take to heal your digestive tract. So, if you’ve suffered enough, if the therapies you’ve tried haven’t relieved your symptoms, or if your doctor can’t find a cause for your symptoms, please strongly consider testing for a food sensitivity.
* Each individual’s treatment and/or results may vary based upon the circumstances, the patients’ specific situation, as well as the health care provider’s medical judgment and only after further discussion of the patient’s specific situation, goals, risks and benefits and other relevant medical discussion. Testimonials or statements made by any person(s) within this site are not intended to substitute for this discussion or evaluation or as a guarantee as to outcomes. Examples of treatment outcomes in this websites are not intended to convey and warranty, either express or implied, as to outcomes, promises, or benefits from treatment. Whether to accept any treatment by a patient should be assessed by the patient as to the risks and benefits of such procedures and only after consultation with a health care professional.