Food intolerances image showing berries

Food Intolerances

Food allergies are severe reactions that can even be life-threatening, sending someone to the hospital because they can't breathe.

Food intolerances are a different matter. They are milder, but have a cumulative effect of provoking the immune system and increasing inflammation in the body. If you have autoimmune disease, food intolerances exacerbate your symptoms, making them much worse. 

Food allergies are caused by one factor: the food in question. Food sensitivities, however, may have contributing factors that influence sensitivity. For instance, your sensitivity to a certain food may cause a more serious reaction due to various factors, including: 

  • How much you ate of the offending food (or if you overate in general, which can also impact your response)
  • How stressed you are
  • Whether the food contained additives, artificial preservatives, mold or environmental pollutants which may have exacerbated your immune system’s reaction
  • Whether you are already sick (especially if your immune system has been compromised)

 Those who suffer with food intolerance can have a variety of mysterious symptoms that seem to arise and disappear at will.  Over time, your sensitivity can become more active, causing a widespread inflammatory response and chronic illness.


Causes and Treatment for Food Sensitivities

Food intolerances are often caused by intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut). Our intestinal lining is vital to our health. It's designed to let needed nutrients into our bloodsteam, while keeping out everything that's harmful to our health. With leaky gut, our intestinal lining becomes too permeable, letting things into our bloodstream that don't belong there. Amino acids are a nutrient meant to be allowed through. They are the building blocks of proteins in our food, and the building blocks of cells in our bodies. With leaky gut, our bodies let proteins through before they've been completely broken down into amino acids. We're not talking big chunks of food – just molecules bigger than they should be, in a form our body can't recognize as food. So, the body mounts a defense by activating the immune system and ramping up inflammation.

Other causative factors for food intolerances include Gut infections, parasites, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), histamine overload, parasites and dysbiosis. 

Food sensitivities which continue to go unrecognized oftentimes feed into many common chronic health conditions—such as IBS, autoimmune diseases, autism, chronic infections and leaky gut syndrome, among others—which often mask the root issue of food sensitivity or intolerance. 

First it’s necessary to determine whether the symptoms you are experiencing are due to food intolerances. The gold standard testing is to guide you through elimination diets and food diaries to determine which foods you are reacting to. I also offer comprehensive food testing through an independent laboratory you prefer. 

After a sensitivity is detected, your treatment options could include: 

  • Abstaining completely from the trigger food
  • Gradual desensitization to the food in question
  • Medication or supplementation (with probiotics or digestive enzymes)
  • Healing an associated disorder (like leaky gut, imbalanced gut flora, enzyme-deficiency, etc.) and making attempts to reintroduce the food once underlying conditions have been addressed

Food Sensitivity Symptoms

Food sensitivity symptoms and food intolerance reactions can include the following: 

  • Brain fog
  • Nausea
  • Skin breakouts or rashes (including eczema and psoriasis)
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches (including migraines)
  • Mental irregularities like moodiness, restlessness, depression or lethargy
  • Food cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Acne or rosacea
  • Chronic infections
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dark circles under your eyes
  • Digestive complaints like gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation