What are Food Sensitivities?

by Julianne Koritz

There is much more information today on how our gut affects our health than there was 20 years ago. We dietitians/nutritionists have always known that food is the best medicine, however, I would like to further expand on the biochemistry of this matter. I will keep it simple.

The human body has many—and I mean many—protective reactions to help defend and protect its processes to keep up functioning. As we all know, we need nutrients to function and there are numerous ongoing debates on just how much and when. The real deciding factor is in the gut. If the gut is not working, then it doesn’t really matter what foods we eat, what supplements we take or what medication we use. We don’t absorb the proper amounts to utilize the various pathways for our organs to “work”’ together.

A true food allergy—the type taught in medical schools—is where a child is allergic to milk or peanuts or an adult is allergic to shellfish and they don’t know it. When they are in contact with the one food, the body goes into a quick reaction to defend itself. If the person does not seek treatment within 4 to 6 hours, the results can be fatal. This is caused by an immunoglobulin called IgE. We have 4 immunoglobulins that affect our allergic responses: IgE, IgG, IgM and IgA. Immunoglobulins are not related to food sensitivities.

Food sensitivities are related to white blood cells. Most of this type of reaction occurs in the small intestine. When we eat or use a topical product, our immune system has to decide if it “likes” it or not and always releases a level of inflammatory chemicals of which there are hundreds. If the white blood cells decide they don’t like something (an individual can have sensitivities from 20 to 30 different foods), excessive inflammatory chemicals are released causing unwanted symptoms. This release of inflammation occurs over a three-day period resulting in chronic conditions, including IBS, chronic diarrhea, celiac disease, migraines, anxiety, fatigue, Crohn’s disease, abnormal weight gain and rashes, to name a few.

Developed by an immunologist, there are two tests available for food sensitivities: ALCAT and MRT, the latter which is patented and considered more reliable.

Julianne Koritz, MS, RD LD/N, CLT, works with clients who have gastrointestinal conditions. She can be reached at Nutrition Coach, Inc., 100 E. Linton Blvd., Ste. 304B, Delray Beach, 561-303-3690

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