Food sensitivities can play a role in many common health conditions. Chronic health complaints such as digestive problems, headaches, joint and muscle pain, and fatigue are all symptoms which can be caused by our immune system’s “reaction” to foods, additives, or other substances in our diet. Sometimes the reactive food is easy to identify, such as milk. Other times it’s a food chemical, like solanine, which can create difficulty in identifying “trigger foods.” Even foods that are considered healthy, such as chicken, broccoli, or garlic can cause symptoms. Often, there are many reactive foods or chemicals, not just one or two.
In addition, reactions can be delayed up to 72 hours and/or may be dose-dependent. This means we may not feel the effects of a reaction until many hours or days after we’ve eaten the reactive foods, or unless we eat too much of a specific food.
Food and food-chemical sensitivities have clinical characteristics that make it very challenging to identify trigger foods. For example, symptom manifestation may be delayed by many hours after ingestion; reactions may be dose dependent; because of a breakdown of oral tolerance mechanisms, there are often many reactive foods and food-chemicals; even so-called anti-inflammatory foods, such as salmon, parsley, turmeric, ginger, blueberry, and any “healthy” food can be reactive.
For all these reasons, food sensitivity testing can be difficult to navigate on its own—unless you are able to work with a LEAP Certified Registered Dietitian such as Nicole!
Should I take a Food Sensitivity Test?
The First Step:
If you suspect you have food sensitivities, the first thing to do is identify which foods and chemicals are causing issues. The Mediator Release Test (MRT) is an accurate blood test used to identify sensitivities to foods, additives, and chemicals. The MRT blood test is a patented panel that quantifies how strongly your immune cells react to the foods and food chemicals tested by measure intracellular mediator release indirectly. This means that when released from the cells in your immune system, chemical mediators such as histamine, cytokines, and prostaglandins produce damaging effects on body tissues, leading to development of symptoms. Identifying harmful substances is the first step toward improving your health if you suffer from food sensitivities. The next step is to develop an eating plan using the individualized LEAP (Lifestyle Eating and Performance) approach.
How to Identify Sensitivities
The best way to identify sensitive foods and chemicals is with the Mediator Release Test (MRT). MRT does 2 extremely important things:
- It quantifies the degree of the inflammatory response to a wide range of foods and chemicals, identifying your “reactive” foods.
- It identifies your safest foods
(*Note: MRT is designed to identify sensitivity reactions only. It is not intended to identify or diagnose food allergies or celiac disease. If you have food allergies, celiac disease, lactose or fructose intolerance/malabsorption, additional steps need to be taken in your therapy. Make sure to discuss with your healthcare practitioner.)
The best individually prescribed eating plan is LEAP under the guidance of a fully trained Certified LEAP Therapist or other practitioner experienced with the LEAP protocols. The reason is because no other approach is as easy to follow and no other approach decreases diet-induced inflammation as fast as LEAP.
Nicole’s TWELVE Month Phased Diet Approach Includes:
Phase 1—ImmunoCalm: Eating least reactive foods for 14 days to calm down the immune system
Phase 2—Slow Introduction: Slowly incorporating slightly more reactive foods into the diet and tracking symptoms. At this time, untested foods and supplements can be started while paying close attention to reactions
Phase 3—Challenge of “moderate” reactive foods
Phase 4—Challenge of “highly” reactive foods
Find out if food sensitivities are a part of your lingering health problems.