A patient came in suffering from migraines and chronic sinus infection. She felt constantly bloated and was frequently constipated. Her family doctor and gastrointestinal specialist had not been able to identify the cause of the problem and she was left dealing with the pain associated with her symptoms on a daily basis. Although she had been to an allergist, no allergies were identified.
Conventional skin prick allergy testing is most useful in identifying immediate onset environmental allergies that cause immediate reactions such as itching and hives. This testing is of no use if your body has a sensitivity or an intolerance to foods.
Symptoms of food intolerances can take up to 72 hours after exposure to present, making them tricky to pinpoint. Not only is the timing vague, but the symptoms are extremely varied and can include fatigue, headache, joint pain, congestion, breathing difficulty, hyperactivity, bowel disturbances, difficulty focusing, eczema, depression or weight gain. With so many possibilities, it becomes very difficult to identify the root problem.
Like a food allergy, a food sensitivity triggers an immune response that calls upon a different immune reaction pathway that is typically delayed. When a person consumes a food that they may be sensitive to, the body sees that food as a foreign molecule and produces a molecule that attacks the food protein. This generates an inflammatory response within various organs in the body and is associated with a host of symptoms. Since these reactions often happen hours to days after eating a problem food, they are not easily determined.
If I suspect a patient has a food intolerance, I give the patient two options:
- Eliminate the most common foods to which people are sensitive;
- Get specialized blood testing to identify the specific food intolerances.
Earlier in my career, I suggested that most people try the elimination process to identify problem foods. As time went on, I found patients who elected to do blood testing had better results and were more compliant with a healing program.
Several years ago, during a period of high stress in my life, I elected to do my own blood work for food sensitivity testing. I was shocked by my own list of food intolerances. When I eliminated them, I could not believe the difference. Suddenly the mild arthritic joint pain I had been experiencing for years disappeared, my skin cleared up, digestion normalized and I felt happy and energetic.
If you suspect that food may be a trigger for you, consider taking a deeper look. Since we all need to eat to survive, it’s best to determine what you should be eating to optimize your health and be your best self.
At Bronte Wellness Clinic, our team of Naturopathic Doctors can help you uncover your food sensitivities and provide nutrition counselling to help relieve digestive distress.
To learn more, please contact our Oakville clinic, located in the heart of Bronte Village, for details.