Food Allergies: could they be causing your problems? And how to test for them

When most people think of a food allergy, they imagine a child going into anaphylactic shock after eating peanuts. This kind of food allergy is scary, no doubt, but it’s also very rare. Much more common are low-grade food allergies or sensitivities that never get pinpointed as the cause of systemic inflammation.

I test for food allergies in my office, and I see this all the time – patients with vague symptoms (bloating, constipation or diarrhea, weight gain, foggy head, fatigue, joint pain) who have no idea that they are sensitive to certain foods in their diet.

A low-grade food allergy can be hard to spot. The problem is that most people eat foods they are allergic to several times a day, and symptoms are delayed up to 72 hours after eating, making it difficult to see the connection between consuming those foods and the symptoms you suffer from.

Every time that food enters your body, the immune system goes into a frenzy. Without diagnosis or awareness, this damage is repeated over and over, meal after meal. Eventually, inflammation seeps throughout the body, establishing an environment ripe for weight gain and chronic disease.

Identifying and treating food allergies and food sensitivities is crucial for healing. Just six weeks after eliminating problem foods patients lose weight, have less pain and more energy. I have seen dramatic effects in weight loss, autoimmune disease, and even depression and anxiety.

Here are three ways to determine if food allergies are undermining your health.

Three ways to identify food allergies and food sensitivities:

–       Get a blood test. Test for IgG food allergens (not IgE, which is what most doctors and allergists will test for – these are the anaphylactic-type of allergens, which I’m pretty sure you would have realized by now if you had one). In my office, I use a test by USBiotek. While these tests do have limitations and need to be interpreted in the context of the rest of your health, they can be useful guides to what’s bothering YOU in particular.

–       Go dairy and gluten free for 6 weeks. These are the most common triggers, and you will be able to see if you feel better avoiding them, and how you feel when you add them back in. Temporarily cutting them out of the diet allows the inflamed gut to heal.

–       Avoid the top food allergens. If you don’t feel relief from eliminating dairy and gluten, you may need to eliminate other top food allergens: dairy, gluten, wheat, corn, eggs, soy, and yeast. Try this for a full six weeks. That is enough time to feel better and notice a change.

Within a few short weeks you’ll see a dramatic difference from cooling off the inflammation in your gut.


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