Inflammation in the gut, also known as Leaky gut syndrome, is the main cause of food sensitivi-ties.  Inflammation causes food particles to leak into the bloodstream causing a reaction in the immune system.  This inflammation can be caused by abnormal gut flora (bacteria), stress, and medical drugs. 

Food Allergies vs. Sensitivities

When you eat, sometimes your body will react to the food going into your system by producing antibodies against it.  This is an abnormal but common occurrence. There are two types of anti-bodies that can be produced, either causing an allergy or a sensitivity.

A food allergy releases an antibody called IgE.  This causes an immediate response resulting in hives, breathing difficulty, and digestive problems.  Food allergies that what we commonly think of are those of children with peanut or shellfish allergies.

A food sensitivity releases a different antibody called IgG.  This causes symptoms to develop within hours to days after ingesting the food.   The symptoms of a sensitivity can be displayed in multiple different ways.  Ultimately a food sensitivity causes inflammation which increases the symptoms of many other conditions.

Examples of delayed food sensitivity reactions:

Skin- itching, swelling, reddness, eczema, psoriasis, acne.
Digestive- bloating, nausea, gas, IBS, Crohn’s disease (exacerbates symptoms).
Respiratory- recurring lung infections and sinus infections.
Weight and musculoskeletal- weight gain, joint pain and stiffness.
Systemic- fatigue, migraines, brain fog.

How do you determine if you have food sensitivities?

1.    The Elimination Diet- This is achieved by eliminating foods that commonly cause sensitivi-ties in people.  Examples of these foods are; gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, sugar, and many more. It tends to be food that we eat frequently. 
The food is eliminated for four weeks and slowly added back in, one food group at a time.  If you notice a flare up in symptoms, this indicates that food caused a sensitivity.

2. Blood test- there is a specialized blood tests that tests 86 different foods to measure the amount of igG antibody you have.  This test can often be covered by insurance benefits and is an alternative and possibly easier route to determining the sensitivity.  However, depending on the results, a person may have to eliminate the foods from the diet anyway.  The results are sent to a specialized laboratory in Alberta and often returned in three weeks.

The good news is, sensitivities can be cured!  I believe this is usually the biggest misconception.  A personalized elimination diet that emphasizes avoiding certain foods for four weeks to six months and the use of healing supplements can restore your gut health and eliminate reactions to food! The Elimination Diet also eliminates any toxins or chemicals your body is processing on a daily basis.  This includes chemicals such as food additives and alcohol and toxins from envi-ronmental exposure.  Your body will naturally begin to function more optimally as it decreases the amount of toxins it has to process.

Response to the Elimination Diet

There isn’t a typical initial response when beginning the elimination diet.  Many people feel great right away, reporting more energy and a decrease in brain fog (which they often didn’t even know they had).  Some individuals, on the other hand, may not feel optimal in the first three days to one week.  This is usually due to withdrawal from sugar, coffee, and the body eliminat-ing toxic chemicals.  In these cases, people report feeling fatigued and moody.  It is however, important to note, that this phase doesn’t last! 

An elimination diet can help treat many of the conditions listed above, with skin changes, diges-tive problems, fatigue, and pain being the most common.  Weight loss is also often a positive out-come of the elimination diet, even though it is not a calorie restricted diet.  This is because the antibodies that combine with antigens in tissue lead to inflammation which causes fluid retention and weight gain.  Ghrelin is then released to decrease the inflammation which also causes an in-crease in appetite!

Changing food habits can be a frustrating, difficult and sometimes confusing process. It doesn’t have to be.  A naturopath can simplify things with diet menus, recipes, snack suggestions, proper supplement recommendations and other resources and information.   
For details on determining if you have food sensitivities or if the elimination diet could help you, please contact Dr. Kelly Brown, N.D. at Good n’ Natural to book an appointment.
This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.

About Good n’ Natural

Good n Natural

Good n’ Natural started as a small-family owned business in 1994. Our team has grown and diversified to include Certified Natural Product Advisers, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and a part-time Naturopathic Doctor. Our mission is to educate, inspire, and empower our customers to pursue a healthy lifestyle in order to achieve their wellness goals and in turn build a stronger community. is Steinbach's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.