Have you ever experienced dizziness, recurrent headaches, hives, and/or a swollen or itchy tongue after eating a certain food? Do you have consistent joint pain or tummy troubles? Have you experienced bloating, constipation, gas, cramping, or nausea repeatedly after eating? These symptoms could mean that you have a food allergy sensitivity or an intolerance to certain foods. Negative reactions to food are more common than you might think, and if you suspect that you have adverse food reactions, you might be right. Here at Restore Health Center, we offer food sensitivity and allergy testing to help you discover which foods your body reacts to poorly and help you find ways to avoid them to live a healthy, symptom-free life. Additionally, we offer guided Elimination Diets, which can often be just as — if not more — helpful.
Adverse food reactions can be broken down into three basic categories: allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities. Food intolerances and sensitivities are more common than allergies. When you have a food allergy the reaction usually occurs within seconds to hours and symptoms result from your immune system increasing levels of a compound called IgE. You might get hives, rash, or itchy feeling on your tongue or airways. This type of immune reaction has the potential to be quite severe, like with peanut allergies. When you have a food sensitivity, the reaction is still immune-mediated (by IgG and IgA) but can be slower than an IgE reaction and can occur within a few to 72 hours. That’s what makes identifying the source of these reactions so difficult! Unlike the potential danger of a food allergy, food sensitivities are not life-threatening but can lead to several uncomfortable or painful symptoms including belly pain, bloating, heartburn, headaches, joint pain, worsening skin issues like acne and eczema, as well as increased fatigue or sleep disturbances. Food intolerances are not an immune reaction and tend to result from poor digestion such as lactose intolerance because of the low production of the lactase enzyme that breaks down lactose.
Sometimes people don’t realize that they are experiencing adverse reactions to a specific food because of a delayed response and/or a reaction to multiple foods. Ongoing food reactions can also be a contributor to chronic health problems, such as digestive disturbances, chronic sinus congestion/drainage, mood swings, low energy, joint aches, and more. But this is often overlooked as a result of other health issues. Symptoms that have failed to respond to conventional medicine may often resolve by following an Elimination Diet, like the one used by the physicians at Restore Health.
Food Sensitivity Testing at Restore Health Center
Food allergy testing can be reliably helpful when you are trying to detect true food allergies. Food sensitivity testing is not always as dependable as allergy testing but it can definitely help reduce the guesswork in determining which foods your body may be struggling with. Doing a guided 21-30 day Elimination Diet is the gold standard for determining food sensitivities; however, testing takes less time and can be easier for some patients.
At Restore Health Center, we prefer to use food sensitivity tests that examine your body’s reaction to the multiple peptides (the building blocks for protein) within specific foods that are common “offenders” such as eggs, dairy, wheat/gluten, corn, soy, and nuts. When you chew, digest and prepare/cook food many of the proteins are degraded or changed. General food sensitivity panels that test multiple foods are not examining how you react if the proteins change form. We have found that “peptide-level” tests better correlate clinically with the patient’s symptoms.
As mentioned above, a great option for detecting food sensitivities, intolerances, or allergies is with the Institute for Functional Medicine Elimination Diet. An elimination diet removes certain foods that are known to cause uncomfortable symptoms. Then you reintroduce them one at a time no less than 21 days later while observing for symptoms. Once you have identified a food your body can’t tolerate, you can remove it from your diet to prevent any future uncomfortable symptoms. Unlike IgE allergies, foods you are only sensitive to can usually be reintroduced on a rotating basis after 9-12 months.
During the three-week elimination diet, chronic symptoms should noticeably improve. After the three-week period, the food reintroduction process begins. You will add one food at a time back into your diet and observe if there are any negative symptoms associated with it. If a specific food continues to result in any negative symptoms, it is avoided for a longer period of time. Doing an elimination diet can seem daunting at first. At Restore Health Center, we provide patients with a comprehensive guide, weekly planner, and a shopping list to make it as easy as possible. Our health coach, Julie Michelson, can be a great resource to help patients through the whole process.
If you think you might have an adverse food reaction or sensitivity to a certain food, come to Restore Health Center for our food sensitivity testing. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing you with all of the tools and treatments to help you live your best and healthiest life. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn more about food sensitivity testing at Restore Health Center!