Food can be our medicine as well as food can be our poison. There are many symptomatic individuals that are not sure what is causing their IBS, migraines, muscle and joint pain or other inflammatory conditions. These inflammatory conditions are interfering in ways that cause discomfort and pain in many areas of their life. For example, feeling anxious over getting into a car to go across town or on a trip, not knowing if you are going to be able to make if through a meeting or not, or knowing what to eat at a restaurant. These and many other situations can make life more challenging and uncomfortable. Searching for answers on how the symptoms occurred can be challenging and complex. The treatment for such conditions is either not fully understood, not being addressed appropriately or misdiagnosed. As a registered dietitian and integrative and functional nutritionist, I deal with patients that have irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal issues frequently and by removing food sensitivities, replacing enzymes or stomach acid, repairing the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and rebalancing with gut flora, many of the symptoms subside.
The symptoms that I see most often entail the gastrointestinal tract and I believe gut health is as important as the roots of a tree. Just as a tree or plant health rely on their roots, the same importance in human health can be established from the trillions of bacteria living in the large and small intestines. These bacteria help with many different physiological processes. For example, they help with digestion and absorption, production of short chain fatty acids, as well as make vitamin k, biotin and b12. There are other important aspects that take place in the GI tract but if these commensal bacteria are not functioning correctly or overpopulated then the symptoms can include abdominal pain, bloating/distention, constipation and/or diarrhea. In order to correct these symptoms we have to figure out first what is the cause to eradicate the condition.
What does cause irritable bowel syndrome, SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth), inflammatory bowel disease like Crohns or ulcerative colitis or an autoimmune disease? And by the way, IBS can entail constipation, diarrhea or a mix. There are many possible causes to these illnesses and it can be complex to figure out, since we are all different and there are multiple causes. So, in order to figure it out a detailed assessment needs to done, which is one of the most important first steps in resolving your condition.
I believe the cause of many of our symptoms comes from either stress, toxins, adverse food reactions, infections or from different nutrition deficiencies. There are a few different diets that can help to some degree but the patients that have come in to see me have not benefited as much as they would like. The low FODMAP diet has concluded 86% of overall symptoms relief. I will incorporate the low FODMAP diet into to my protocol or combine it to get the best results. Some of the reasons why patients dont get the results they want are possible poor compliance, having a hard time executing the diets or not having a trained practitioner to guide them through the process. There are many reasons why someone may not get the results they are after but having a knowledgeable practitioner that deals with these diets and how to properly execute them can be helpful.
In the protocol I use with many patients, it includes a blood test to identify which foods and chemicals your body is reacting to and causing your symptoms. As there is not a test out there that is 100% accurate, this test that I perform has a reproducibility over 90%. Its called LEAP MRT and it stands for Lifestyle Eating and Performance Mediator Release Test. LEAP involves identifying which foods are causing a immune system response. Meaning, the immune system attacks the antigen (food or chemical) that you ingested and releases its mediator (chemical from the cell) that causes inflammation and the subsequent symptoms you are having. These symptoms that include IBS, migraines, fibromyalgia, and various others such as eczema, reflux, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. are exacerbated from the immune system and its chemical that is released. Also, from various other reasons, the gut lining can begin to leak and cause foreign substances into the blood stream and an immune response.
Whats the cause of food sensitivities?
It can come from any food or chemical that has been consumed, inhaled or lathered onto your skin. Basically, from anything and theres no rhythm or reason for it.
Common foods that cause adverse reactions
A lot of people think gluten is a big issue and it possibly can be but is it actually the gluten or is it the glyphosates (herbicides) that are put on the crop or both. There can be a lot of symptom relief from patients by avoiding gluten but also think about dairy, junk oils, artificial ingredients and flavors. One of the proteins in dairy called casein contributes to patients symptoms. Quite often many of the patients I have tested are sensitive to corn and soy. Corn and soy are high in genetically modified foods (GMO) and should only be eaten organically. Remember just because you arent directly eating corn or soy doesnt mean you arent consuming it in in another way. Think about what the animals are eating and the additive and preservative that are in the food products made from corn or soy. Grains in general can cause GI symptoms and other global symptoms. Ten thousand years ago we didnt consume grains, besides maybe millet, so our GI tracts may not be capable of digesting and absorbing these grains. Eggs are another food that can cause a immune system response and can be worth a trial in eliminating. Although all these foods have health benefits and can provide good nutrition they can also cause for some undesirable symptoms. In order to correct the symptoms the immune system needs to calm down, inflammation lowered and tighten the cellular juncture of the intestines. Many times as I begin to work with patients, they will say Im eating healthy and it doesnt make any sense. What needs to be understood is that its not just the unhealthy foods but also the healthy ones that can cause your symptoms.
Treatment for adverse food reactions
In order to identify and get fast results that work, I recommend doing the LEAP test to see which foods you are sensitive to. You should be aware that food is not always the only trigger to your symptoms as I briefly mentioned earlier. I have seen many patients get the results they want and a few that need further treatments and testing. LEAP does not address every possible cause but it can help and be a great place to begin. No matter what condition you have I believe there is an answer. Our job is to uncover what that answer is.