Have you ever been caught up in the cycle of eating the same 5 to 10 foods for months at a time?? As in, every. single. day. Are you reluctant to move outside of your comfort zone and add new foods to your diet because you are afraid of how your digestive system might react?
It is not uncommon at all for people with chronic digestive issues to experience what is known as “loss of oral tolerance.” This means that the immune system has a malfunction and is tagging undigested food proteins as foreign. While it is an immune issue, it has its roots in digestive dysfunction.
If you react to lots of different foods and have dwindled down your food selection from eating a wide variety of foods to just a handful, you may be experiencing food sensitivities.
Maybe you thought you had food allergies but when you went to the allergist, you came up empty handed. Maybe you have tried an elimination diet and food journaling with little to no solid leads on what is causing your symptoms? Frustrating, I know.
It could all come down to immune tolerance, the immune system’s ability to not react to chemicals, food proteins or even the body’s own organ tissue.
Luckily, there are ways that you could improve your immune tolerance and start adding new foods back into you diet, just the way it should be!
First, you should know that food allergies differ from food sensitivities.
A true food allergy usually comes on very quickly after even limited exposure to small amounts of the food and happens each time you consume it. Allergies can cause hives, itchy skin or a rash as well as more serious symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain or even difficulty swallowing. As you can see, the response can affect the entire body, not just your digestive system. Food allergies are what’s known as an Immunoglobulin E (IgE) response by the immune system. Generally speaking, most people with a true food allergy are well aware of it and steer clear of the offending food(s) at all costs.
More common are food intolerances and sensitivities. Here’s a quick overview of the differences between the two:
A food intolerance means the body lacks an enzyme needed to breakdown a specific food which then triggers a response by the digestive system. Think lactose, found in milk. If you don’t produce the enzyme lactase, you can’t properly breakdown lactose, leading to unpleasant symptoms after consuming milk.
Food sensitivities occur when a particular food or group of foods trigger an Immunoglobulin G (IgG) immune response. This type of immune response is usually delayed by up to 72 hours, making it difficult to pinpoint which food caused the reaction. Symptoms can range from bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain and migraines and are not life-threatening like some true allergies can be.
If you have symptoms of loss of oral intolerance and are ready to do a food sensitivity panel or need help better understanding where to start in this seemingly overwhelming process, reach out and schedule an appointment today. Not all tests are created equal (something you will often hear me say) and 99% of food reactivity tests only tell half the story. A lot of our clients never even need a food reactivity test at all. Let us help you move past food reactions!