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Food Sensitivity Testing: What’s the Culprit in Your Diet?

From dairy or gluten to citrus and caffeine, food sensitivity testing can reveal which unusual triggers are responsible for your unexplained digestive issues.

Unlike food allergies, which sparks an immediate, obvious reaction from your immune system, food intolerances and sensitivities cause a delayed, low-grade immune response. Symptoms of sensitivities might take hours or even days to appear, and unlike allergies, can cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), mood swings, fatigue, and acne. 

Food sensitivity symptoms alone make it difficult to pinpoint your exact food intolerances — especially since your sensitivity side effects may be highly non-specific and appear long after you’ve ingested the food. Not to mention, suggested elimination diets and food journals to identify food intolerances can be gruelling to follow and oftentimes inconclusive in their findings. 

The most decisive way to understand your individual intolerances is by blood private lab testing, available at Neurvana Health clinics in Calgary and Red Deer, Alberta.

What is Food Sensitivity Testing?

A food intolerance or sensitivity is a delayed, low-grade immune response to something you’ve eaten. A reaction is prompted when the food travels from your mouth down to your stomach, then into your digestive tract. Once the food reaches your tract, your body is either unable to break it down properly or triggers a type of sensitivity response which is driven by the mucosal immune system in the gut, like bloating or gas. 

When your digestive system views a type of food or food protein, like gluten, as a threat, we refer to that substance as an allergen. If an allergen enters your digestive tract, your body produces unique proteins called antibodies to protect itself. These antibodies, known as Immunoglobulin G (IgG), are specific to the type of food you are sensitive to. They accumulate in your tissue and contribute to low-grade inflammation which can lead to several health conditions.

Food sensitivity testing analyzes the levels of IgG antibodies circulating in your bloodstream to determine which food(s) sparked the response. A small amount of your blood is drawn and sent to a laboratory, where any IgG antibodies present are identified. Food sensitivity testing is safe for all ages and the most effective method of uncovering the food culprits in your diet, especially when there is more than one trigger.

Why Should You Test for Food Sensitivities?

It can be extremely difficult to pinpoint what part of your diet is causing discomfort, especially since food sensitivity reactions are often delayed by a few hours or even a few days. Seemingly unrelated symptoms like brain fog, mood swings, headache, and fatigue, can complicate diagnosis even further. Unfortunately, the longer you wait without understanding what foods are causing your discomfort, the longer inflammation gathers in your tissues.

It is crucial you receive a food sensitivity test if you’re experiencing one or more of the following:

✓ Chronic digestive stress

✓ Routine issues using the bathroom 

✓ Stomach pains and cramping 

✓ Problems with weight loss or weight gain

✓ Chronic inflammation or swelling

✓ Unexplained skin conditions, like acne or eczema

✓ Cognitive issues, such as brain fog or fatigue

Are Your Symptoms Indicative of a Food Intolerance?

While the majority of food intolerance symptoms are digestive-related, the inflammatory response caused by sensitivities can also create several unrelated symptoms. It’s key you monitor not just stomach pains, but cognitive and skin issues as well as headaches.

Common symptoms of food intolerance include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Gas and bloating
  • Swelling and inflammation 
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Skin conditions such as acne or eczema

Food Sensitivity Testing at Neurvana Health: No Allergen Left Behind

At Neurvana Health, our naturopathic doctors test for sensitivities through specific antibody responses to proteins or peptides in foods. We monitor Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody responses that cause systemic low-grade inflammatory reactions. This differs from allergy testing, which utilizes immunoglobulin E (IgE) reactions that trigger the release of chemicals like histamine to conduct an allergic response. 

However, unlike other clinics, Neurvana Health also tests for complement responses to food proteins and peptides, as well as indirect food sensitivities. A complement response occurs when your immune system has an inflammatory response instead of producing antibodies. The resulting inflammation yields the same chronic symptoms as an antibody response, but hides from antibody testing. 

Indirect food sensitivities are caused by certain microbes in your gut. Microbes are microscopic organisms, like bacteria, that live in your digestive tract. They help break down your food and control how your immune system responds to infection. An indirect food sensitivity occurs when the food you eat reacts with microbes in your gut to cause a non-specific immune response. Much like complement responses, indirect sensitivities can be difficult to track using antibody testing alone.

Our staff believes that it’s paramount to include both complement and indirect testing when testing food sensitivities, for a complete look at all allergens affecting your body. Both the Calgary and Red Deer, Alberta clinic locations only utilize the most trusted names in laboratory testing to analyze food sensitivities:

  • Cyrex Laboratories Array 3X (gluten-only), Array 10 (180 foods), Array 10-90 (90 foods) and Array 10-90X (90 foods including raw and cooked) 
  • Doctor’s Data Celiac and gluten sensitivity
  • KMBO Diagnostics FIT (132 foods and additives) and FIT 22 (22 of the most common food sensitivities)

Can Food Sensitivity Testing Reveal the Cause of Your Discomfort?

Food sensitivity testing is essential for those suffering from unexplained digestive issues. While your digestive tract suffers through bloating, embarrassing bathroom breaks and other stress, inflammation steadily gathers in your tissue and starts to impact other areas of your body. Food sensitivities and intolerances can create a domino effect in your body that causes significant chronic symptoms. As opposed to wasting time tracking each food you put into your body, allow the specialists at Neurvana Health to pinpoint your exact food intolerances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can’t I just do it myself? Why or why not?

The most accurate food sensitivity testing is through blood serum. While some companies do offer dried blood spot (DBS) testing, these methods have been proven to be less accurate than serum testing done through a traditional blood draw, mainly due to antibody and complement stability.

What will I know after doing these tests?

Completing a food sensitivity test will allow you to isolate your unique sensitivities or intolerances and remove them from your diet. This will allow for a reduction of inflammation as well as a significant improvement in your chronic digestive discomfort.

How will it better my life?

Being aware of your unique sensitivities or intolerances allows you to avoid the foods your body doesn’t love. You will be able to rest easier knowing why your body was experiencing discomfort and live better eating foods that won’t cause a sensitivity response.

Uncover The True Source of Your Discomfort

Now is the time to discover the culprit in your chronic digestive issues. Talk to a trained health adviser today to learn more about food sensitivity testing.