WIN-ning Wednesday: Food Intolerance or Allergy?

I see many people searching for insight about the food they are eating and how it effects their body.  Conventional health care is good at definitively diagnosing lactose intolerance and celiac issues through blood work, however when it comes to discovering if other foods are problematic, the testing is limited.

Skin tests, done by Allergists, that use the skin to test reactivity to certain allergens.  This test is best for deciphering what environmental allergens, like pollen, dust or dander, may be a concern.  It is not often effective at truly determining what foods may be a concern.

Naturopathic Doctors offer advanced and specialized food testing that observe the complete picture of food sensitivities.  These specialized food tests are done by way of a blood sample, and can be done in office.  Samples are sent to professional labs for analysis and results are returned to the Naturopathic Doctor, which are then reviewed with the patient.

A food sensitivity can manifest a few different ways depending on each person’s unique state of health, biochemical make up, diet and lifestyle.

1) FOOD INTOLERANCE: This is when a food that is eaten is not properly digested or broken down by the digestive tract.  Foods that are not properly broken down in the gut, can lead to intestinal symptoms such as bloating, cramping, diarrhea and/or constipation.

2) FOOD ALLERGY: This is when a food is eaten that evokes an immune mediated response.  Depending on an individual’s biochemistry, their immune system may react to a food that it identifies as “allergenic.”  This triggers a rise in antibodies as a response to a particular food, which in turn triggers a cascade of cellular events that finally results in the release of inflammatory mediators.  These inflammatory mediators lead to allergic symptoms such as runny nose, respiratory tract congestion, itchy eyes, eczema, fatigue.

Working with a patient, we compare a current diet diary with test results we can see the complete picture of how the foods eaten is affecting a person’s health.  With this information, I give guidance, and can create individualized nutrition plans, so they can eat a nutritious diet while eliminating and avoiding problematic foods.

If you suspect that something you are eating is giving you difficulty, or are curious about what foods your body may be sensitive to, consult a licensed Naturopathic Doctor.  Naturopathic Doctors can give more information about specialized food testing, preform these tests and get answers about a person’s unique food sensitivity profile.


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