What is a food sensitivity or intolerance?
You’ve likely heard of food allergies, which can be a life threatening condition leading to anaphylaxis. These are commonly peanuts or eggs, among other foods. Food sensitivity or intolerance is a bit different, and though it’s not life threatening, it can cause a lot of problems. Food sensitivities affect about 20% of the world population and that number is increasing. They can be very challenging to diagnose because they can cause a very wide range of symptoms and the lab testing available is mostly unreliable.
When you have a food sensitivity, symptoms may begin within a few hours of consuming that food. However, there can be a delay of up to about 48 hours and the symptoms can last for a few hours or for days. This can make it really hard to pinpoint exactly which food is to blame. If you frequently consume foods you are intolerant to, it may be difficult to even realize you’re experiencing a negative reaction, because it’s always there. People can get used to and tolerate a lot of things for a long period of time, without connecting the dots, that there’s something wrong.
Symptoms will most often be something directly related to the gut, the skin and/or the respiratory system but not always. Some common symptoms include diarrhea, bloating, rashes, headaches, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, runny nose, reflux and flushing of the skin. Other symptoms may include physical pain like back pain or joint pain, brain fog, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances or hormonal imbalances.
One of the most common, safest, and least expensive ways to diagnose a food intolerance is with an elimination diet. This removes the foods most likely to be causing the symptoms, for a period of about a month. Foods are then gradually reintroduced in a controlled way, to determine which are causing symptoms. You can work with our Naturopathic Physician to come up with a plan that is right for you.
“For years I suspected that gluten was negatively affecting my health. But all the testing for celiac disease and gluten allergy were negative, which left me very confused. My symptoms gradually worsened until I needed an appointment with a gastroenterologist to figure out what was going on. He was the one who finally told me that all the allergy tests can be negative and you can still have a sensitivity to gluten, which will cause inflammation, not an allergy reaction. Light bulb moment! I’m honestly shocked that my family doctor didn’t know this.”
- Kasey Thompson, Clinic Owner