While often used interchangeably, the terms “food allergy” and “food sensitivity” actually have different meanings. A food allergy is a specific immune system response that occurs after eating certain foods. This involves either the immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody or T-cells. Food sensitivity is a more general term. It refers to an unpleasant reaction a person has after eating a certain food. This reaction can range from acid reflux to cramps and more, but it is not the same immune response as food allergies. One example of food sensitivity is Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s response to gluten creates an inflammatory attack against the intestinal lining.
If you think you may have food allergies or sensitivities, contact an expert at LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition for an assessment of your condition.
Common Symptoms of Food Sensitivities
Food sensitivity symptoms often come on slowly and may involve an immune system response. For some food sensitivities you may be able to tolerate small amounts of the food without trouble. Some of the most common symptoms of food sensitivities include:
- Foggy thinking
- Irregular digestion
- Runny nose or excess mucus
- Muscle or joint pains
- Depression and mood swings
- Chronic fatigue
While these are some of the common symptoms of food sensitivities, there are many other possible reactions and each person may experience something different.
Commons Causes of Food Sensitivities
The most common cause of food sensitivities is the body reacting to chemical components of the food it has ingested. These chemicals can occur organically in food or be the result of additives, preservatives, colorings, or flavorings. Another cause of food intolerance can be a deficiency in certain digestive enzymes. Lactose intolerance, for example, is the inability to digest the lactose in milk. Lactose, however, is not alone in causing food sensitivities in many people. Other common causes include salicylate, tartrazine, benzoic acid, amines, nitrates, and sulfites.
Treatment and Diagnosis of Food Sensitivities
At LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition, we’re here to help diagnose and treat your food sensitivities. We do this by using comprehensive food sensitivity testing to identify the foods that should be eliminated or limited in your diet. Once our experts diagnose the foods you should avoid or limit, we will then offer a program of customized nutrition recommendations to help start you on the road to feeling better.
Frequently Asked Questions About Food Sensitivities
Q: How do I know what foods I’m sensitive to?
A: The best way to determine exactly which foods you are sensitive to is to visit us at LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition and let us test you.
Q: Am I safe from food sensitivities if I eat only organic?
A: Because many of the chemicals that cause food sensitivities occur in natural and processed food alike, eating organic cannot guarantee that you won’t experience a negative reaction to certain foods.
Q: Will I have to give up my favorite foods if I’m sensitive to them?
A: That depends on the severity of your symptoms and how much they’re affecting your quality of life. Ultimately, the choice to give up certain foods is up to you. But it is best to make that decision with the full knowledge of which foods you can tolerate and which ones you can’t.
Q: Can I test for food sensitivity at home?
A: The best way to determine once and for all what you’re sensitive to is to see an expert. In the meantime, however, you can try an elimination diet at home. Simply cut out the foods you think are bothering you and see if your symptoms clear up after several weeks. If you reintroduce the foods and the symptoms flare up again, then you know that you do not tolerate that food well.
Contact a Los Angeles Food Sensitivities Doctor
Right now millions of Americans are living with food sensitivities and don’t realize the cause. But you don’t have to. If you think you might be suffering from food sensitivities, simply contact us at LA Integrative Gastroenterology & Nutrition. We have extensive experience in food sensitivity testing utilizing the “whole-person” approach to healing gastrointestinal problems.
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