5 Signs that May Indicate a Food Sensitivity

Food matters. Most of us only think about food as calories, as fuel to give us the energy to get through the day. This is a very simplistic view of food. The truth is food is basically a package of messages to our body. The vitamins and phytochemicals found in food send signals to the body to alter how our body functions at a cellular level. Some of these messages may change how our DNA is expressed and others may modulate the function of our immune system. What this means is food is important. Food may be the difference between developing a disease and living a healthy life.  

For some of us, certain foods are sending all the wrong messages to our body. Messages that lead to the production of inflammatory molecules that are reeking havoc on our body. Here are signs that may indicate that the your body is not agreeing with the food you are eating:

1.  You experience gastrointestinal distress after eating.

What do I mean by gastrointestinal distress? This could be a lot of things. Maybe you get bloated soon after a meal, seeing a visible distention of your abdomen. Or maybe it is just a sense of fullness and pressure in your abdomen. Maybe you get gassy or have episodes of belching. Maybe your intestines get really noisy after eating or maybe eating tends to trigger loose stools or diarrhea. Gastrointestinal distress could be any of these symptoms or a combination of these symptoms.

2.  You have chronic constipation.

Constipation may be caused by a lot of things, especially a diet low in fiber and fluids. But maybe you eat plenty of fiber and drink lots of water and you still don't have daily bowel movements. Or maybe you have been constipated all your life. These are warning signs that may indicate an undiagnosed food sensitivity.

3.  You are experiencing chronic muscle or joint pain.

A lot of people complain of just generally feeling achy. And many of these people want to chalk it up to their age. But before we diagnose you as being middle aged, we need to explore the possibility of a food sensitivity. Your body may be making immune system proteins called antigens that bind to foreign proteins so that our immune system will get rid of them. When an antigen binds to a protein, it forms what we call an immune complex and this can get deposited in our joints, leading to inflammation and pain.

4.  You have skin issues.

Maybe you have still have acne as an adult. Maybe you have itchy skin or scalp. Maybe you have dry, red and flakey patches of skin. Our skin is a great indicator of what is going on deeper inside our bodies. It may be that those immune complexes mentioned before are getting deposited in your skin, leading to unsightly patches of skin.  

5.  You are experiencing sleep disturbances.

Maybe you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Food sensitivities can affect the nervous system and its production of neurotransmitters. Not only could this be affecting your sleep, but is also may be affecting your mood and behavior. Do you have anxiety? Are you fidgety or hyperactive? A food sensitivity may be at the root of your concerns.

Food sensitivity faq

what is the difference between sensitivity and allergy?

A food allergy is a specific inflammatory reaction to food mediated by IgE. This results in symptoms like hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling, which can be very dangerous to your health. Food sensitivities are not mediated by IgE, but by other parts of the immune system such as IgA or IgG and therefore, produce very different symptoms that are not life-threatening. 

How to I test for food sensitivities?

The best way to diagnose your food sensitivities is with the elimination diet. For a period of 2-4 weeks, you will eliminate certain foods to allow your immune system to recalibrate. You will then challenge each food one at a time, monitoring your symptoms to see if you react to the food. Reactions may include digestive issues, joint pain, skin flares, changes in energy or mental function and more. Another way to test for food sensitivities is through IgG blood testing. This is not an accurate or reliable way to test because it gives a lot of false positives and false negatives and only tests for one type of immune reaction. But it can be a good place to start if you are not able to complete an elimination diet.

Do i have to eliminate these foods forever?

No. The next step is to determine why your immune system is reacting to these foods. Often, it is due to increased gut permeability, gut dysbiosis, or SIBO. Once the underlying issue is correct, your body may no longer react to certain foods or be able to tolerate them in small quantities. Other sensitivities may be life long.

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I'm Dr. Carly and my mission is to create a health revolution. I believe that another prescription is not the answer. I believe in using natural therapies that go beyond the symptoms. And I believe that doctors should spend way more than 7 minutes with a patient.