by Dr. Will Cole
While doctors often assure their patients that food allergies are rare, what they don’t often talk about are food intolerances. Technically different from an allergy, a food intolerance or sensitivity can be much more common and much less simple to diagnose (I go into more detail about the differences in this article), but there are some signs that you probably do have some kind of intolerance or sensitivity to something in your diet.
Food intolerances can manifest in the body in many different ways, but they are worth exploring because they can cause, trigger, or perpetuate many chronic health issues. Here are the most common symptoms I’ve seen that are caused by some sort of reactivity to food:
- Acid reflux/heartburn
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Joint pain
- Mood swings
- Muscle pain
- Rashes and other skin problems
- Sinus infections
- Stomach cramps
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
What can you do about these symptoms, and the intolerances you may not know you have? To fully understand food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances, we have to look where the majority of the immune system resides and where digestion occurs – and both of these processes happen in the gastrointestinal tract, which is digestion central, as well as the home to around 75 percent of your immune system. As Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said “All disease begins in the gut.” That’s why I believe that overcoming food reactivities has to start by healing your gut.
Research suggests that bacterial imbalances in the microbiome can lead to immune dysregulation and allergies or intolerances to foods. Other gut problems like candida overgrowth, SIBO, and leaky gut syndrome can all be added immune stressors. In leaky gut syndrome, for example, if food particles pass through the gut lining into the bloodstream, this can cause the immune system to react to just about any foods, triggering inflammation throughout the body. I’ve seen even the healthiest foods cause food reactivities in people with these underlying gut problems.
If you are going through some of the problems listed above, it’s important to uncover which foods your body is not tolerating. I recommend an elimination diet, which can help you pinpoint which specific foods might be causing your issues. Once you eliminate these foods, your body can begin to recover and restore your health.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.
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