Is your food making you sick?

As humans, our relationship with food is a complicated one. Not only do we have the ability to eat from a wide range of sources (a privilege that not every creature gets), we have learned how to consume things that in their natural state may be harmful to most other animals. Whether through cooking, fermentation, or additives (both natural and un) humans have found a way to coax every ounce of deliciousness from everything around us. With the ability to eat so many things, it is bound to happen that we run into things that disagree with us. Your body may be paying the price for the omnivore’s dilemma.

Food allergies are not uncommon, we all know someone who has an intolerance to certain foods( shellfish, peanuts, dairy, and wheat being among the most common), with consequences that vary from minor bloating to a rush to the hospital. The effects of exposure to these allergens are usually immediate and dramatic. But there is a more subtle form of suffering that sometimes goes unnoticed and that is the food sensitivity. Similar in some way to a full-blown allergy, a food sensitivity may show up as a headache, chronic fatigue, and can contribute to weight gain. It is important to understand the difference between food intolerance, food sensitivity, and a true allergy.

Food intolerance is due to the body not producing enough enzymes to digest a certain food. One of the most common examples of food intolerance is lactose intolerance. A condition caused when the body doesn’t produce the enzyme lactase in sufficient amounts leading to the inability for one to digest milk.Though not life-threatening the symptoms (bloating, gas, diarrhea) can certainly be unpleasant.

Moving up the list of severity is food sensitivity. This condition is caused when the body’s immune system is triggered by foods, medications, or environmental factors. The difference between food intolerance and food sensitivity is the type of reaction. Intolerance reactions tend to be solely digestive in nature whereas reactions from food sensitivities can have symptoms beyond digestive distress. These reactions generally do not require medical attention but do require one to keep a close eye on diet and environmental factors to prevent future reactions.

The most severe class of reaction is a full-blown food allergy. This is when the body responds to an innocuous food protein with a massive immune response. This response can lead to difficulty breathing, hives, or vomiting. This reaction will usually require immediate medical reactions and close monitoring of dietary needs in order to prevent these life-threatening symptoms.

Often the symptoms of food intolerance and food sensitivities are harder to spot than food allergies, they tend to be more subtle, and the response can be delayed so often we blame other things for the symptoms we are experiencing. Figuring out what factors(both dietary and environmental) you may be sensitive to can be daunting, with the hundreds of possible allergens we are exposed to every day how do you know which ones may be at the root of your reactions?

The current gold standard laboratory method for identifying substances that trigger reactions in the body is the antigen leukocyte antibody test or ALCAT test. This simple blood test has been used since the 1980s to test for over 450 possible sensitivities (both dietary and environmental) by looking at the inflammatory markers instead of antibodies ALCAT gives you a clearer picture of what is affecting your health. In more than 30 published studies it was shown to have both a high degree of accuracy and highly consistent results.

A small sample of your blood is sent to the laboratory where it goes through a multi-step quality assurance process. Your white blood cells are tested against foods and other substances. The results are presented in an easy to read color-coded format (which Dr. Koch will review with you). This information helps you identify the sources of unwanted inflammation and substantially improves many symptoms associated with food sensitivity.

There is a new paradigm in health and medicine - personalization. Knowing the role that specific foods and substances play your body can be life-changing, and can greatly improve your quality of life. Using the ALCAT testing system enables you to take advantage of leading technology to create a personalized eating plan for you that you will see and feel. Here at Essential Mind and Body we believe that food is the only medicine you take every day, let’s make sure you have the right prescription.

Yours in Good Health,

The Team at EMB

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