Written by our Kamloops Naturopath, Dr. Kayla Ruschkowski
Food sensitivities can cause a range of digestive symptoms, including nausea, heartburn, gas, bloating, IBS, constipation and diarrhea. You may be surprised to find out that food sensitivities are connected to non-digestive symptoms as well. As a naturopathic doctor always looking to find the root cause of symptoms for my patients, I consider food sensitivities in cases of eczema, psorasis, skin rashes, joint pain, fatigue, migraines, and any condition related to excess levels of inflammation.
The reason that food sensitivities can cause symptoms outside of the digestive tract is due to what is called IgG Type III delayed hypersensitivity reactions. Essentially, when a person is sensitive to a particular food, their immune system creates IgG antibodies that bind to that food antigen, forming immune complexes that cause inflammation. Normally macrophages remove these immune complexes, but in cases where there are excess antigens, immune complexes may be deposited in tissue, causing inflammation and tissue damage. This inflammation and tissue damage is what can cause a range of symptoms. Because it is a delayed-type reaction, symptoms occur within several hours to several days after eating the food.
Testing for Food Sensitivities
In cases where I suspect food sensitivities are the reason for my patient's symptoms, there are two options to identify the offending foods. The first option is to do an elimination diet, which involves doing some guesswork to try and figure out the food sensitivities, eliminate the suspected food for 2-3 weeks, and re-introduce the food while monitoring symptoms. Although this method works, it requires step-by-step dietary changes and can take several weeks or months.
A quicker and more convenient way to identify food sensitivities is with a blood test. For this test, I use Rocky Mountain Analytical Laboratory, which offers a blood test that measures levels of IgG antibodies to up to 222 different foods. With this test we receive a report that tells us which foods are sensitivities, which foods are borderline sensitivities, and which foods are not a problem. With this information, it becomes easy to identify the biggest food sensitivities and immediately begin making dietary changes to help you feel your best!
If I can answer any questions about food sensitivities, testing options, or naturopathic medicine in general, please book a free 15-minute consultation!