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How to Identify Food Allergies and Sensitivities

How to Identify Food Allergies and Sensitivities : Colorado Center Health and Nutrition BlogCould a reaction to food be causing your diarrhea? What about constipation? Gas and bloating? Eczema? Acne? Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia? ADHD?

Yes, Yes and Yes!

Reactions to food, either sensitivities or allergies can cause a variety of different symptoms and can be the underlying cause of many health issues, especially chronic health issues.

Let’s start with explaining how a food can cause an immune reaction, and how this delayed reaction, or sensitivity, is different than the immediate reaction we most normally think of as an “allergy”.

There are different parts of the immune system which react differently – for this discussion we are going to be speaking about the IgE and the IgG reactions. The IgE reaction is what we most commonly think of when we hear the word allergy – this is the immediate throat swelling, eye watering, hive producing reaction of the immune system. This is the part of the immune system which is most commonly tested for with the “skin-prick” test and what is most commonly linked to environmental and seasonal allergies, or severe allergies such as to peanuts or shellfish.

On the other hand we have the IgG reactions which are delayed in nature and are most commonly linked to food sensitivity reactions. These reactions can be delayed from 24-72 hours and therefore are difficult to identify. Think about it…if you eat a slice of cheese of breakfast and then you get a migraine headache the next day, what is our first thought – “what did I just eat that triggered this?”  We do not often look for the trigger to be from the previous day.

How can you determine what foods your body is reacting to? Well there are several methods we can use, some take more time and guess work than others. First of all we can eliminate all “common” allergens for 6-8 weeks and then start a rotational diet to re-introduce foods to watch for reactions. This will take time, and there is no guarantee that the foods we eliminated are in-fact the culprits, hence the guess work.

The other method is a blood panel to test for the level of IgG immunoglobulins in the blood and therefore we can determine confidently which foods you are reacting to. We then eliminate those foods from the diet and work on repairing the GI and immune systems before we start a rotational diet.

Healing the GI Tract

There are several reasons why many people are dealing with food sensitivities, and if those reasons have to due with “gut dysbiosis” or an unbalanced ratio of “good” bacteria (probiotics) to “bad” bacteria in the GI tract, then we can work with the patient to make the correction and hopefully allow them to open their food restrictions.

Why and how do people get “gut dysbiosis” in the first place? Well there is not an easy answer, and the problem can go all the way back to infancy. Here are some common reasons why people develop a poor functioning GI tract:

• Formula vs breastfeeding
• Early introduction of foods without proper order of foods
• Standard American Diet – processed foods, artificial sugars, high fructose corn syrup, white sugars, genetically modified foods, pesticides
• Artificial sweetener consumption
• Environmental factors
• Antibiotic use
• Lack of probiotic use
• Lack of fruits, vegetables, whole foods and fiber

When you test your food intolerances with Dr. Bruno you will receive a complete report of findings on your lab work so you can achieve the highest level of results.  Click here to schedule an appointment today.

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