Food sensitivities affect approximately 35-45% of individuals (Duke Integrative Medicine); unfortunately, many of those individuals are unaware that they have one. What they are aware of this that they struggling with a wide variety of physical symptoms that may include fatigue, headaches, weight gain, and digestive issues and traditional treatments are failing to make them feel better.
Food sensitivities are more common than allergies but are more difficult to diagnose because the body’s response to an offending food is often delayed, slower and milder than a food allergy. With food sensitivities you may not experience the effects until 4-6 days later; this makes it very difficult to find the connection between specific foods and the symptoms being experienced. Despite being milder, food sensitivities are no less harmful to one’s long-term health. Food sensitivities induce an inflammatory reaction in the body and create an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria present in the gastrointestinal tract. Because the digestive system is very closely linked to the neurological system a wide variety of symptoms occur with the presence of an offending food. Age plays a role in the symptom presentation of food sensitivities but as we age the long-term effects of inflammation begin to show.
To identify the offending foods, a naturopath will often perform an IgG test which involves a simple finger prick. Another method regularly used by Naturopathic doctors and other holistic practitioners is an elimination/challenge diet. This diet involves the removal of all common allergenic and inflammatory foods and then the gradual systematic reintroduction of them to determine how your body responds to each individual food.
If you are suffering from any chronic disease, you may benefit from identifying potential food sensitivities as many conditions – including arthritis, gastroesophageal reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, depression and ADHD – have been associated with food sensitivities.