When you hear the term food allergy it likely conjures up images of someone breaking out into hives after eating strawberries or even worse not being able to breathe after eating a peanut or shellfish. While these types of reactions are frightening and their occurrence is on the rise, they are still a relatively rare occurrence, affecting only 4% of adults. While these reactions can be frightening when they occur, because of the quick and dramatic onset of symptoms, they are usually easy to identify and diagnose.
Food sensitivities are a much more common occurrence. Food sensitivities affect more than 35% of the population and most of those who suffer symptoms cause by them don’t realize that a food is to blame. Food sensitivities can cause a wide range of symptoms including:
• Weight gain
• Low energy
• Lack of focus
• Chronic congestion
• Skin rashes
• Poor sleep
• Muscle aches
• Joint pain
Unlike food allergies which cause immediate onset of symptoms, symptoms of food sensitivities can be delayed by hours or even days. The wide variety of symptoms and the delay in symptoms presentation can make it very hard to make a connection between the food and the reaction. Let’s say that you have a food sensitivity to eggs. When you eat eggs it causes you to feel extremely tired and also causes your right wrist to ache but the reaction doesn’t begin for 6 hours after you eat the eggs. If you eat an egg for breakfast, you are probably not going to suspect that it is the reason you feel tired every afternoon and have to take Advil for your wrist pain.
There is also a wide variability in the type of reactions that the same food can cause in two people who have a sensitivity to the food. For one person the egg caused fatigue and joint pain while in another it might cause bloating and constipation. If a person is eating a food they are sensitive to multiple times they may experience the symptoms more frequently or it may even seem like they occur constantly.
While a little tiredness or joint pain might not seem like a big deal, the insult to the body and the immune system caused by repetitive exposure to food sensitivities can lead to a chronically inflamed state that can be at the root of weight gain, risk of heart disease, depressed mood and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
There are a number of different underlying mechanisms that can cause a person to be sensitive to a food. For example, in some cases a person may lack an enzyme or have decreased function of an enzyme needed to breakdown a specific component of a food. In other cases an immunological reaction to a food develops because of damage to the lining of the intestines. And in other cases the body may not be able to metabolize a naturally occurring or added chemical in the food.
The variety of underlying causes of food sensitivities can make it difficult to find an accurate way for detecting them. While there are blood tests for Celiac disease and other specific immunological food reactions they are not able to test for all of the ways that a person can react to a food and so often times a sensitivity will be missed.
Fortunately, there is another way. In my practice I have found that following a comprehensive elimination and challenge program can be the most successful way to identify food sensitivities and the symptoms that they have been causing. Following my program, you can experience dramatic improvements to your health in just a few weeks.
Why go on suffering any longer?
Schedule a free 15 minute complimentary introductory consult today by calling (207) 805-1129 or by clicking here.
Fall Elimination Diet Class begins October 14th. Click here for more information.