Do you feel that you eat a healthy diet but still struggle with your weight or some aspect of your health? Testing for food allergies can be an important diagnostic tool to identify the root cause of your symptoms.
Food allergies occur when your body has tagged a particular food as an allergen. This causes an abnormal immune response in
your body every time you eat that food. These immune responses are often subtle, making them easy to overlook. While the symptoms can be initially minor, over time they can develop into more serious issues such as obesity, mood disturbances, arthritis, chronic fatigue, hormone imbalances, autoimmune disorders, and many others.
If you eat a food that your body is reactive to, it can be hard to digest and break down. Inflammation is then created as your immune system attacks the undigested parts of food. Over time, this can cause increased intestinal permeability and poor nutrient absorption, all of which can lead to fatigue, weight gain, and many ongoing symptoms.
Reactive foods can range from common allergens like dairy, gluten, and eggs to generally healthy foods like specific fruit or grains. It could be that your body is reacting to the banana you have in your smoothie every morning or your milk alternative you frequently drink.
The physicians at Platte Valley Chiropractic & Wellness Center can help you find your food allergies with a simple blood test performed in-office. Once your results come in, your doctor can help you create a diet plan to avoid these foods, repair the gut, and decrease inflammation and irritation to the entire body.
At our office, we have treated many patients with dietary intolerances. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:
What types of foods are tested?
A typical food allergy test will screen for several categories of foods including dairy, meat, fruits, vegetables, and grains. The test is very detailed and specifies between different types of foods such as goat’s milk, cows milk, yogurt, or cheese rather than just “dairy”.
What do I need to do before the test?
Nothing! It is important to not change your diet before the test so that your doctor gets the most accurate results from the foods you eat on a daily basis. If you have already been avoiding a particular food, continue doing this. We are then able to assess whether or not you are still having exposure to this food. All we ask is that you drink plenty of water in order to ensure the best possible blood draw.
How long does it take for the results to return?
We will have your results in about 3 weeks.
Can my kids do the test?
Yes, and what a perfect age to start! We have seen dramatic improvements in children, boosting their immunity and behavior and focus in school. In fact, you can start as young as 6 months old. For young children we do not draw vials of blood. Instead, we use a finger stick and drop the blood on a card.
What is the difference between IgE and IgG immune responses?
IgE and IgG are two types of antibodies produced by the immune system. An IgE response can cause obvious immediate symptoms, like tingling in your mouth, hives, bloating, and sometimes life threatening reactions to foods. IgG refers to a delayed response that may appear more subtle after the food is ingested. Symptoms range from headaches, to skin outbreaks, to fatigue and weight gain.
Will I have to avoid these foods forever?
No, not necessarily. Once your gut heals, you may be able to reintroduce the foods without causing the abnormal immune reaction. However, some people choose to continue avoiding these foods because they feel their best without these foods.
Why did my body react to these foods in the first place?
There are several potential causes to food intolerances. This includes modern day food processing, eating too much of a particular food, toxic body burdens, genetic susceptibilities, lack of digestive enzymes and appropriate gut flora, or eating in a state of stress where the body doesn’t properly break down the food.
What if I cheat and eat my reactive foods?
We want you to be as diligent as possible in order to have the best health outcomes. However, birthdays and special occasions do happen and an occasional cheat is allowed. Keep in mind that many patients often feel the side effects the next day. This may include GI upset, headaches, brain fog, and feeling sluggish.
How should I reintroduce foods?
Be sure to reintroduce your reactive foods one at a time. Generally, your body will let you know if you can add it back or not. If you feel poorly, be sure to take that food back out of your diet. If you feel good, you can continue eating that item and reintroduce the next food.
When should I retest?
If you are reactive to many foods, you will likely want to retest 6-12 months later to make sure your gut health is improving. If you are reactive to only a few foods, retesting every 1-3 years is recommended for maintaining gut health.
Can I just remove the most common allergenic foods?
You can do a trial of eliminating and reintroducing the most common food allergies. However, this can be labor intensive and costly over time. Plus, your body may be reacting to a food generally considered healthy that you consume too frequently.
Can this diet reduce my outdoor allergies?
Yes! Food intolerances can make airborne allergies worse. It is common to see symptoms like nasal congestion improve when reactive foods are avoided.
Will avoiding my reactive foods help improve my mood?
Yes! Food intolerances can trigger anxiety, irritability and brain fog. Once those reactive foods start raising your stress load, it is more difficult to digest your food. This creates a vicious cycle of food reactions causing stress, and stress making your food reactions worse.
My favorite food came back reactive, now what?
This is common when you are eating a lot of one particular food. It is your body’s way of telling you that you need more variety in your diet. If you are feeling overwhelmed, be sure to tell your doctor, and we can share a wealth of resources with you including cookbooks, websites, and handouts to support you.