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.

Try new foods. So many illnesses and health-related problems could be avoided if we just ate more produce. Replace one thing that you would normally eat with a new fruit or a vegetable. Not only does this keep healthy eating interesting, but you also may end up trying something that you didn’t know you liked.

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.

Eat Nuts. Despite being high in fat, nuts are incredibly nutritious and healthy. They are loaded with magnesium, vitamin E, fiber and various other nutrients. Studies show that nuts can help you lose weight, and may help fight type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, about 10-15% of the calories in nuts aren't even absorbed into the body, and some evidence suggests that they can boost metabolism.

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.

Girl enjoying the sunlight outdoorsGet plenty of sun on exposed skin (but don’t burn). Or, take 2000 to 5000 units of Vitamin D3 with a meal, daily, for life. Have your Vitamin D levels tested annually and keep them between 55 and 75. ALWAYS take Vitamin K2 whenever you take D. Here’s one of several in the online store…

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.

Hydrate Dry Skin With Coconut Water. Start your morning with a glass of fresh unsweetened coconut water. And, throughout the day, drink filtered water. At meals include skin-hydrating foods such as wild salmon, avocado, olives, and coconut.

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.