10+ Reasons to Consider Food Sensitivity Testing

March 24, 2019

Sometimes certain foods can make you feel unwell, regardless if they are healthy or not. They may trigger any number of food sensitivity symptoms, such as headaches, digestive issues, joint pain or skin problems. It can be tricky to figure out which foods are the culprits, as food sensitivity reactions are often delayed by a few hours or longer after eating the foods.

 

1. Depression and Anxiety

Research confirms that intolerance to various foods is linked to depression, anxiety and mood disorders. Once gluten is removed from the diet in the gluten sensitive, depression and anxiety can actually be resolved.

2. ADHD

Alternative approaches to ADHD address food sensitivities and intolerance as a root cause of behavioral disorders. Neurotransmitters are produced directly by what’s broken down in the digestive system. Leaky gut can facilitate a number of mental health issues because gluten and other food proteins are essentially sneaking into the body where they don’t belong.

3. Brain Fog

When you feel disconnected or ‘out of it’, it might not be all in your head. Food intolerance or sensitivity can lead to ‘foggy brain’ in sensitive individuals. Research suggests there may be significant cross-reactivity of IgG antibodies that could result in mental fogginess. These antibodies can also cause inflammation which can further exacerbate the condition.

4. Autoimmune Disease

Gluten consumption and other food sensitivities have been linked to numerous autoimmune diseases.

5. Low Immunity

If you are prone to frequently getting sick, you should consider gluten to potentially be an issue. IgA’s are your first line of defense when a cold comes knocking at your door. When you’re sensitive to certain foods, IgA levels become depressed, meaning that you don’t have the proper defenses in place to keep you well. It is seen in many autoimmune diseases.

6. Dental Issues

Cavities, canker sores (mouth ulcers), broken teeth and tooth decay can plague those with undiagnosed food sensitivity. Calcium levels in individuals with food sensitivities san be staggeringly low due to malabsorption, which can lead to weak bones and teeth.

7. Unexplained Weight Loss or Weight Gain

Can’t keep your weight in check? A sudden or even gradual change in weight while eating habits remain more or less unchanged can be an indicator of a bigger health problem. For some with malabsorption and gut permeability due to intolerance or sensitivity to various foods, unwanted, unwanted weight loss despite regular calorie intake can have dangerous effects. On the other hand, gluten can trigger systemic inflammation in the body that mimics stubborn weight gain. Removing certain foods for good and healing the gut with a healthy diet can restore weight to healthy normal levels.

8. Migraine Headaches

Anyone who has ever experienced a migraine knows how seriously painful they can be. While not all cases of migraines are related to food sensitivities, they have been linked as a significant cause for some.

9. Skin problems

From eczema and acne to psoriasis and other dermatitis, food sensitivities can cause some extremely uncomfortable (and unsightly) skin issues. Inflammation under the top layers of skin can occur and cause eruptions of rashes, itchiness, burning, redness, and even painful blisters. Ingestion of various foods in people with sensitivities triggers an immune system response that deposits a substance called lgA (Immunoglobulin A) under the top layer of skin leading to a variety of skin disorders

10. Hormonal Imbalance and Adrenal Fatigue

Hormone imbalance can manifest itself as irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain or loss, hot flashes, low energy levels, erratic sleep patterns and more.  A strong relationship has been established in medical literature between certain food sensitivities and various hormones imbalances. Significant problems often begin to reveal themselves when women with food sensitivities reach their menopausal transition. As ovarian output of sex hormones drops, the resulting hormone imbalance is worsened by over consumption of certain foods. The adrenal glands respond to the stress of unstable blood sugar and gastrointestinal tract inflammation caused by food sensitivities by increasing cortisol. This causes increased body fat, fatigue and unstable moods.

11. Joint and Muscle Aches

Got joint and muscle aches? Damaging inflammation caused by food sensitivities in susceptible individuals can cause flares and pain. Joint pain and inflammation are (also) common symptoms of food sensitivity. There is a significant link between sensitivity to certain foods, joint pain, and arthritis conditions.

 

Three different terms are commonly used for adverse reactions to foods: food allergy, food sensitivity and food intolerance.

The term food allergy is best reserved for potentially life-threatening food reactions that involve immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies of your immune system. These are ‘true’ food allergies.

In contrast, food sensitivities and food intolerances generally are not life-threatening but may make you feel bad.

Here’s a quick comparison of food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances:

 

 Food allergy  Food sensitivity  Food intolerance
 Immune system involved?  Yes (IgE antibodies)  Yes (IgG and other antibodies, white blood cells and other immune system molecules) No (Digestive enzyme deficiency, poor absorption of certain carbs)
Examples of foods involved  Top 8 most common: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish. Varies from person to person and may include foods you eat often. Fermentable carbs (FODMAPS): milk (lactose), legumes and certain vegetables, fruits, grains and sweeteners.
 Onset of symptoms after eating the food Rapid, often within minutes. Within a few hours but may be delayed up to a few days. Within 30 minutes to 48 hours after eating.
 Examples of symptoms  Trouble swallowing or breathing, nausea, vomiting, hives. Can result in anaphylaxis.  Headaches, joint pain, digestive issues, skin issues, an overall feeling of being unwell. Most common are digestive issues: bloating, excess gas, gut pain, diarrhea, constipation.
 Amount of food needed to cause symptoms Tiny  Varies depending on your degree of sensitivity. Generally worse with larger amounts of problem foods.
 How it’s tested  Skin prick tests or blood tests of IgE levels to specific foods.  Many tests are available, but their validity is uncertain. Breath tests may identify fermentable carb intolerances (lactose, fructose).
 Age of diagnosis  Commonly in infants and young children, but adults can also develop them. Can appear at any age. Varies, but lactose intolerance is most likely in adults.
 Prevalence  1–3% of adults; 5–10% of children.  Uncertain but suspected to be common.  15–20% of the population.
 Can you get rid of it?  Kids may outgrow milk, egg, soy and wheat allergies. Peanut and tree nut allergies tend to continue into adulthood. May be able to consume a food again without symptoms after you avoid it for several months and address any underlying issues. Can minimize symptoms by limiting or avoiding problem foods in the long term. Antibiotic treatment for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth may also help.