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Food Sensitivities: Could you have them?Posted Thursday, February 7, 2013, at 7:40 AM
Food sensitivities are a little known big problem. Affecting the immune system and inflaming the body, food sensitivities may impact 20-30% of the population, degrading their quality of life. If you suffer from migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, heartburn, arthritis, headaches, depression, chronic rhinitis, burning mouth/tongue syndrome, skin problems, hives, chronic fatigue, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, or autoimmune diseases, you might have food sensitivities causing or exacerbating symptoms. General malaise, waking up with sinus troubles, noticing certain foods don't agree with you, and sluggishness can also be symptoms of food sensitivities.
Food sensitivities are not the same as food allergies. With food allergies, the reaction tends to be more immediate and sometimes severe, so most people realize if they have a food allergy. Although food sensitivities can be severe, they are not immediately life-threatening and are often dose-dependent. Food sensitivities can also take up to four days to appear, making them harder to pinpoint.
In recent months, some friends verified with me that it's hard to figure out food sensitivities on your own. They told me about the foods and additives they tested sensitive to. Some of those included xanthan gum, synthetic zinc, cumin, garlic, oats, and BHT. By now, most of us have heard wheat and dairy, but oats and zinc?
I also suspected my own food sensitivities, despite testing negative to the most common food and environmental allergens a few years ago. I had myself tested, and it turns out I'm highly sensitive to corn and black pepper, and moderately sensitive to high tyramine-containing foods. Omission of offending foods from my diet has largely eliminated the burning mouth/tongue syndrome I felt when eating and improved my sinuses. I'd also previously experienced occasional heartburn with some meals, OJ, and canned tuna. Now I realize the culprits are black pepper and the naturally-occurring chemical tyramine.
How did I figure out these food sensitivities? I used a food-sensitivity test protocol called LEAP (Lifestyle Eating and Performance). Because food sensitivities can lead to inflammation in the body, LEAP has also been called, "The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Diet." First an individual's blood is tested for sensitivities to 120 different foods & 30 different chemicals. Based on the results, one works with a Certified LEAP Therapist (CLT) on an individualized eating plan to calm down the immune system, clear up symptoms, and gradually reintroduce foods.
Once the immune system calms down, because food sensitivities are often dose dependent, in 3-6 months many people are able to reintroduce some foods that were causing them big problems. If the food is tolerated, individuals can start adding it back to their diet in small quantities to find the dose they tolerate.
If you suspect food sensitivities, consider talking to your doctor about food sensitivity testing.
If you'd like to learn more about LEAP and food-sensitivity testing, find me on Facebook at Practical Nutrition Tips where I'll be discussing them in February.
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