What is Food Sensitivity ?
Have you dined on a banquet of seafood, and not long after, you get rashes all over your body? Or have you ever sipped coffee or milk only to find out you’re intolerant to these drinks?
Food sensitivities aren’t limited to skin issues and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Most people benefit from a food sensitivity test to pinpoint specific foods that cause headaches, mood disorders, and body pains. By removing these foods from your diet, you won’t have to suffer these bodily discomforts.
The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ recommends high-accuracy food sensitivity tests for you. But how reliable and practical are food sensitivity tests? Let’s take a True or False Test to find out about the following questionable statements:
- Food allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity mean the same.
- Food sensitivity tests are overrated.
- Food sensitivity tests are accurate.
- Food allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity appears with any test.
- There is no best test for food allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity.
1. True or False? Food allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity mean the same.
False. These three terms mean different conditions.
- Food allergy involves the immune system and immunoglobulin E antibodies. You get itchy red rashes, a tingling feeling around your mouth, and swelling of your face and throat. In a severe case, you’d find it difficult to breathe or worse.
These reactions are potentially life-threatening food allergies. Food allergy is most common in children, and frequently, they outgrow this condition. Examples of food allergies are egg, milk, peanut, soy, and wheat.
- Food sensitivity is a less immediate situation than a food allergy. It also involves the immune system but is mediated by immunoglobulin G antibodies. This immune reaction is subtle and can take days to experience symptoms after eating the food. This reaction causes general irritation and inflammation that results in a variety of symptoms.
- Food intolerance does not involve the immune system. Food intolerance happens when your body can’t properly digest food. It’s associated with the digestive system due to poor absorption of specific carbohydrates or an enzyme deficiency.
Food intolerance and sensitivity are not as dangerous as an allergy, but they lead to alower quality of life. According to a Mayo Clinic allergy expert, the way to identify whether it’s an allergy or intolerance is the amount of food you ingest before getting a reaction. It’s an allergy if you get a reaction to small amounts of the suspected item. Sensitivities and intolerances reactions are usually relative to the amount eaten.
2. True or False? The food sensitivity tests are overrated.
False. A food sensitivity test is vital.
Toxins in your body cause a significant impact on your general health and well-being. It damages your organs, weakens your bones, causes hormonal imbalance, and speeds up aging, among other things. Your body can eliminate toxins with proper nutrition, an active lifestyle, and supplements.
But there are certain foods you may or may not know whether you’re allergic, intolerant, or sensitive to. These foods can cause unpleasant reactions to your body, such as inflammatory symptoms. Symptoms include but are not limited to leaky gut syndrome (LGS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), mood disorders, headache, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
- Inflammation in the gut
A leaky gut happens when gaps in the intestinal walls widen, allowing large protein particles to slip through. The leaky gut also involves microbiota that aid in digestion.
Any imbalance in the microbiota triggers the immune response that leads to inflammation in the gut. As this occurs, there’s an increased intestinal permeability where bacteria, food, and toxins can quickly enter the bloodstream. This increased permeability may contribute to irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
- Inflammation in the brain: the gut-brain axis
According to a study, there’s a gut-brain axis wherein microbiota in your gut affect mental health. The researchers suggest that inflammation in the abdomen may contribute to mental conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Another study revealed inflammation in the brain might contribute to mood disorders such as major depression, bipolar, and anxiety. Inflammation in the brain may be due to diet, environmental factors, lifestyle, and other medical conditions.
- Headaches and food
Certain foods do cause headaches. One hundred seventy women answered questionnaires about their headaches and nutritional habits. The study results show there was a significant relationship between headaches and some foods.
Children and adolescents also experienced recurrent headaches due to the consumption of sensitive foods.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: the gut-joint axis
Certain foods can aggravate body and joint pains. The IgG, IgA, and IgM antibodies linked to dietary antigens among people with rheumatoid arthritis were studied. The study revealed certain foods contributed to a hypersensitivity reaction. Some of these antigens came from cereals, codfish, eggs, milk, and pork.
- Psoriasis and food
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease. It’s not contagious; rather it’s inherited. A study shows diet may contribute to the origin and development of psoriasis. Some of the study participants showed elevated sensitivity to foods containing gluten.
Takeaway: If inflammation persists, your body will have a difficult time eliminating toxins. To eliminate inflammation that affects your brain, joints, gut, and skin, you need to remove from your diet the foods known to be bad for you.
You need testing to identify the food that specifically triggers your allergic, intolerant, or sensitivity reaction. Food sensitivity tests are abundantly available.
3. True or False? There are different types of tests for food allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity.
True. There are different types of tests for different kinds of reactions.
- Food allergy: Food allergy tests measure the protein IgE indicative of an immune response. The most common and fastest way is a skin test.
Your skin will be pricked and dropped with a small amount of food. You are allergic to food if your skin turns red or swells. Blood testing can also be done. Your blood will be drawn and exposed to different allergens.
- Food sensitivity: Food sensitivity tests, unlike food allergy tests, look at the presence of IgG. Some of the food sensitivity tests are the Mediator Release Test (MRT) + LEAP Diet, Antigen Leukocyte Cellular Antibody Test (ALCAT), and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) Testing with or without Complement.
- Food intolerance: Food intolerance is interpreted on symptoms after ingesting a suspected food.
But how reliable are these tests?
4. True or False? Food sensitivity tests are accurate.
True...sort of. Some tests are not as reliable as you think.
The next reason is more complicated. Food sensitivity tests that measure IgG (not IgE) can have false-positive results. Dr. Joel Evans is a Founder and Director of The Center for Functional Medicine. He is also a medical director in a company that produces a 2.0 version of IgG food sensitivity tests.
In a podcast, Dr. Evans explains false-positive results can be due to exposures like bacteria, which cross-react with your immune system. Your body creates an antibody as a response, but it has the same composition as your food. As a result, this gives the likelihood of more than 20 foods you have to avoid, which is unrealistic.
He further relates a complement reaction is the next step in which a complement molecule binds to the IgG molecule. It tells whether a substance is triggering an inflammatory response as part of the immune process.
If it gives off a severe reaction to a particular food, then you should avoid that food. . The usual IgG food sensitivity tests don’t do this at all. Without the second complement step, there are lots of false positives.
5. True or False? There is a single best test for food allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity.
False. At this point, there is no one best test for food allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity. It is essential to select the correct test.
IgG testing for food sensitivity cannot be used for food allergy, as food allergy is not synonymous. Remember, IgE mediates a food allergy; so IgG would not capture the allergy, although symptoms for an allergy are usually immediate and distinct.
As earlier mentioned, stand-alone IgG tests result in false-positives. More so, the American Academy of Allergy and Asthma Immunology recommended not using IgG tests at all, apparently due to a lack of peer-reviewed scientific evidence (AAAAI, 2020).
The Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the European Academy of Allergy Clinical Immunology, agree to this recommendation.
The lack of studies doesn’t invalidate the various tests. These tests can still provide information to support a potential solution. These results can customize a diet for you to reduce symptoms of your inflammation.
The reason is due to the lack of that critical second complement reaction step. In our experience, many people have benefited from food sensitivity testing and avoiding the identified foods. Selecting the right test and correctly interpreting the results is critical.
It is also important to remember that professional organizations exist to serve their members...not the public. So any test or procedure that threatens the status quo or bottomline is viewed with great suspicion. This is why so many of these organizations are slow to adopt new technology.
So far, the gold standard in food sensitivity testing is the elimination-provocation diet. It’s a pattern of eating and eliminating foods to determine how your body reacts to particular foods.
It’s a time-consuming and tedious process. It also requires your commitment, especially in recording your progress. We have found a combination of testing and trial avoidance to be the best way to identify foods.
While food sensitivity testing can result in some false positives, the test we use at the Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ utilizes the critical second complement step. Our testing and guidance can get you on your way to feeling better! Schedule a test today by visiting https://infusionclinicabq.com/infusion/ or call us at 505-445-4300.