Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities and intolerances do not cause an immediate adverse reaction. The symptoms are delayed, and are a result of inflammation occurring within the body as the digestive tract struggles to deal with the problem foods.
Intolerances and sensitivities are often a result of repeatedly consuming a specific food for a long period of time, which is why dairy, eggs and wheat are among the most common offenders. This can be avoided by having a varied and rotational diet throughout the week.
Symptoms of Sensitivities and Intolerances
As the sensitivities and intolerances build up over time, symptoms start to become more severe. However, they are difficult to pinpoint to a specific food, because it can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple days for symptoms to show.
Reactions are characterized by inflammation in different systems in the body, as the digestive system attempts to store the food antigens in tissues. This results in a long list of potential symptoms:
All lab tests are administered by a Naturopathic Doctor, who works with the patient to provide lifestyle, dietary and nutritional advice following the food test.
Step 1: Initial consultation with ND.
An in depth review covering medical history, food intake and diet, and lifestyle habits. Our doctors ensure that a food test is what you really need, as opposed to other diagnostic tests, or a different approach altogether.
Step 2: Blood Sample
A blood sample is taken by either blood draw, or finger prick. Blood draw is the most common method, but finger prick can be used for small children with tiny veins.
Step 3: Sent to lab for testing.
The lab usually takes about 2 weeks to analyze and send back results.
Step 4: Results.
When the results come in from the lab, the ND and patient review them together. Your doctor may prescribe a customized elimination diet based on the test results and often nutritional supplements are recommended as well. Other additions to the treatment plan focus on supporting lifestyle factors such as stress management, exercise, and sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many foods does it test for?
The most common food test our ND's prescribe looks at 95 common food antigens, called an E-95 Basic Food Panel. If the patient often eats foods that aren't in the common foods list, an additional test can be taken to look at 95 more antigens. Check out the full list of foods tested.
When should I consider a food test?
If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, everyday foods may be the cause. You may want to consider ruling it out, or identifying the problem foods.
For many patients, symptoms like constant joint pain, migraines, or itchy skin is just a part of life. Many of our patients are shocked that they could feel so much better just by cutting out an antigen like red pepper, or cucumber.
I love chocolate. If I'm sensitive to it, are you going to say I can't have it ever again? Cause, no...
Many food sensitivities are developed partly because the subject simply eats too much of it, and the body can't deal. Following your test, your ND will help you develop an elimination diet based on the amount of foods listed, and severity of the intolerances.
Most elimination diets last about 3 months, giving your body a needed break from those specific antigens. After the elimination, foods can be reintroduced one at a time. If your symptoms don't return when you reintroduce chocolate, you're safe!
You will want to rotate the sensitive foods more often though, giving the body time to deal with the antigen before more of it is introduced. Eating a wide variety of foods each week can help prevent sensitivities and intolerance's.