You got to be joking… food can do what???

People who don’t know me always look at me sideways when I suggest that what they’re eating might be the source of their problems. I would actually say that people who know me also look at me a little strange when I make this suggestion. And I’m not talking about just digestive problems. It really could be anything.

For example:

  • headaches
  • allergies
  • skin problems
  • joint and muscle pain
  • difficulty losing weight
  • PMS and other hormonal problems
  • fatigue
  • sleep difficulties
  • foggy thinking
  • gas/bloating
  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • auto-immune diseases
  • heart disease
  • neurological diseases

(literally almost anything but a broken bone can be caused by a food sensitivity)

Ok – so now you know what they can cause, you’re probably thinking – well, I still don’t know what it means!

A food sensitivity is a type IV hypersensitivity reaction (an allergy is a type I hypersensitivity reaction). They both involve antibodies, just different kinds. The allergy is an IgE antibody. It reacts immediately. Think peanuts and pollen. The food sensitivity involves an IgG antibody – the couch potato of antibodies. It can take up to 72 hours for a reaction. This is why it can be so tricky to figure out your food sensitivities.

Sometimes people will try elimination diets to figure out their sensitivities. They will eliminate the 5 or 10 most common sensitivities for a duration of time and then slowly reintroduce them. There are also many people who will just eliminate gluten or diary for a few weeks to see what happens. For some the difference is dramatic, and others notice nothing even though they in fact have a sensitivity to gluten or diary (these are just examples, and the most common sensitivities).

The problem with these methods is that because the antibody can take so long to react, if there are other sensitivities, and they are still eating those foods – it will mask the difference that would be shown if they had removed more foods. I have done elimination diets in the past. I have had patients report on elimination diets with varying results. The most common complaint is that the sensitivities are never really clear.

I have been using the ELISA test for almost 20 years now. The ELISA test looks for antibodies to certain foods (I generally check for 96 different foods) from a blood sample. I have used different labs over the years and have always found them to be quite accurate. Of course with every lab and with every test, there is a margin of error. I have tested the same patients using different names at the same lab and the results were almost identical (not exactly, but almost). I have also tested the same patient at 2 different labs using blood samples taken within seconds of each other and the results again were almost identical. I only explain this because people are often skeptical of the results – that is before they actually try it for themselves.

I am never shocked when the patient comes back for their follow up appointment and they tell me they feel so much better. Headaches can improve or disappear. Fatigue lessens. Sleep improves. Joint pain can disappear. Constipation can resolve.

I once had a patient who literally thought she was dying. The diarrhea was so excessive that she had lost 20 pounds in the weeks leading up to her first appointment. All her MDs were stumped. After removing the foods she was sensitive to – her diarrhea completely resolved. Even she was shocked at how much the foods she had been eating had been impacting her. Not to mention a little angry that she’d been suffering for months without any help.

As I mentioned above, almost any chronic symptom can be caused by the food you are eating. Of course there are other problems too – nutrient deficiencies/excess, thyroid problems, adrenal fatigue, low level infections. The list goes on, but food is a great place to start. And for most people, it will change your health more than anything else you do (exercise might top food for the biggest effect on health, but not by much). No pill or medicine, will affect you more that what you put in your mouth.

If you want to get more answers about how food could be affecting your health, please give us a call at 650-233-7327 to schedule a free 15-minute consultation to explore how we can help you.

Here is the link to our last blog in case you missed it.

Here is a link to a video on food and weight loss.