Wondering If You Have Food Allergies or Food Intolerances?

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How do you feel after you eat? Do you feel better on an empty stomach or a full stomach? Do you ever feel bloated or often have residual abdominal discomfort? How about skin irritation or brain fog that leads into a dull headache or full-on migraine?

We often feel one or more of those things on a regular basis; we just don’t associate it with our food consumption, or maybe we do and just don’t know what to do about it.

That’s where we come in. Here at SFNM we test for for true food allergens, food sensitivities and food intolerances. It’s important to know the difference and what you are actually experiencing so that one of our licensed naturopathic doctors can help you identify and treat accurately. After all, knowledge really is power.

There are a number of ways to identify and distinguish among the three of these. If you suspect certain foods to be bothersome, whether it’s an immediate or delayed response, it’s important to diligently investigate to find out exactly which foods, food groups or ingredients may be causing unwanted harm or inflammation to the body.

Drink more water. Water is such a basic requirement and so key to survival, yet ninety percent of us don't drink enough! Six to eight cups a day is the recommended minimum. We can live for several weeks without food but only a few days without water. If you don't like the taste, mix it with juice, sugar-free cordial or make hot fruit tea. Vegetables and fruit contain plenty of water too. If your urine is darker in color than straw, drink more water!

Symptoms of Food Allergies and Sensitivities—What is the Difference?

The most common symptoms of food allergies and sensitivities experienced by patients are eczema, rashes, acne, chronic runny nose, constipation, upset stomach, dizziness, mucus formation, asthma, brain fog, restlessness, irritability, stiff joints, and headache.

Food Allergies

Food allergies activate what we call an IgE immune response. Often patients already know these, but not always. An example would be immediate hives or throat swelling after exposure to peanuts. There are roughly only 8-10 foods that are responsible for more than 90% of true food allergies.

Food Sensitivities

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On the other hand, an IgG response of the immune system is related to food sensitivity. These are often delayed reactions and the most helpful in identifying since they are often not associated with symptoms that have a fast onset. An example of food sensitivity could be a person who ingests yeast and later in the day or the next day begins experiencing fatigue or brain fog that lasts until it’s cleared from the bloodstream. In some cases, this can take up to 72 hours to be completely symptom free, that is until the next time you consume the offending agent, in this example, yeast.

Get what you give! Always giving and never taking? This is the short road to compassion fatigue. Give to yourself and receive from others, otherwise you’ll get to a point where you have nothing left to give. And hey, if you can’t receive from others, how can you expect them to receive from you?

Food Intolerances

An intolerance is still a reaction that often has symptoms associated, however; the cause and body’s response is quite different. Often an intolerance can be because of an enzyme deficiency or just the body’s inability to digest a specific food. An example of food intolerance would be lactose. It’s neither an allergy nor a sensitivity but for many, an intolerance most likely because of deficiency of the enzyme lactase which is responsible for breaking down and digesting this protein efficiently.

SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Testing! Testing is the key component to truly identifying your food allergens or sensitivities. Many of you may know about or possibly have even had the skin prick test by an allergist or other health practitioner. This is an insightful tool primarily for environmental allergens as well as some basic food groups you may be reacting to; however, they’re not quite as insightful or informative as an actual IgE/IgG Comprehensive Food Allergy Panel.

At SFNM we offer this comprehensive food allergy testing by performing a simple blood draw. The blood tests are helpful in gaining insight on whether you have true allergies, sensitivities or merely intolerances.

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An intolerance is still a reaction that often has symptoms associated, however; the cause and body’s response is quite different. Often an intolerance can be because of an enzyme deficiency or just the body’s inability to digest a specific food. An example of food intolerance would be lactose. It’s neither an allergy nor a sensitivity but for many, an intolerance most likely because of deficiency of the enzyme lactase which is responsible for breaking down and digesting this protein efficiently.

We’re here to help

The bottom line, we’re here to help! And this type of testing is our specialty as naturopathic doctors.

We will work very closely with you to determine the cause of your underlying symptoms, whether that is with only food allergy testing or with other useful testing we do here in office that we feel may be insightful on your overall wellness.

If you are wondering about possible food intolerances, sensitivities, or true food allergies, call SFNM for a free consult and possible testing. Our comprehensive allergy panels will likely give answers to your prolonged persistent symptoms holding you back from the life you were meant to live.

Get Enough Sleep. The importance of getting enough quality sleep can not be overstated. It may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more. Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance. What's more, it is one of the strongest individual risk factors for future weight gain and obesity. One study showed that short sleep was linked to 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults.

Schedule an appointment with any one of our doctors TODAY if you’d like help navigating steps to better health.

We look forward to working with you!

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Dr. Jillian Shannon is SFNM's newest doctor. She has a general naturopathic practice and specializes in regenerative medicine including BHRT, joint injections and IV therapies. She has been working closely with other practitioners specializing in functional endocrinology and anti-aging medicine with the use of stem cells, ozone, and PRP. She is available full time at SFNM and is accepting new patients.