Could Your Symptoms Be Related to the Food You Eat?
Skin rashes, brain fog, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and depression can be signs you're suffering from a food sensitivity.
You don't need to have digestive issues to be affected by a food sensitivity. In fact, adverse reactions to foods are often overlooked as the underlying cause for chronic health problems. Sensitivities to foods can trigger physical symptoms in any area of your body. They can also cause mental and emotional symptoms.
Food Allergies versus Food Sensitivities: What's the Difference?
True food allergies generally occur immediately after eating a trigger food. Signs of an allergic reaction include wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing, swelling of the tongue, runny nose, hives, rash, itching, abdominal pain, and vomiting. These symptoms can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention and later, testing to identify the food culprit. 90% of food allergies in the United States are caused by: peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk, egg, wheat, fish, and shellfish.
Food sensitivities also represent an immune response to a trigger food, but these reactions to foods typically occur hours to days after eating that food. Symptoms of a food sensitivity can vary with each person and include:
Skin: skin rash, dry skin, eczema, acne, excessive sweating, dark-circles under the eyes
Head & Brain: headaches, migraines, anxiety, depression, mood swings,
fatigue, dizziness, hyperactivity, difficulty sleeping
Respiratory System: sneezing, runny nose, sinus problems, ear infections, wheezing, asthma
Cardiovascular System: irregular heartbeat
Gastrointestinal System: bloating, irritable bowels, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, food cravings, unintentional weight loss or gain
Musculoskeletal System: joint pain, muscle aches
Genito-urinary System: Bladder control issues
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, you could have a sensitivity to one or more foods. Common sources of food sensitivity include gluten, dairy products, eggs, tree nuts, soy, and shellfish.
What About Food Intolerance?
In contrast to a food allergy or food sensitivity - both of which are an immune system responses - food intolerances are a non-immune reaction to a certain component of food like lactose. This reaction occurs when you lack the specific digestive enzyme or nutrient responsible for breaking down a food component. Trigger foods and trigger ingredients include dairy products, sulfites (alcohol), histamine, preservatives, food coloring, food additives, fillers, flavoring, lectins, chocolate, and citrus fruits. Symptoms can range from flushing to digestive symptoms to cold or flu-like symptoms.
Wondering if Your Symptoms Are Food-Related?
If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above, it's important to contact your healthcare provider to learn if you have a food allergy, sensitivity or intolerance. While most individuals with a food allergy are informed of it and already take steps to avoid their trigger foods, many people with food sensitivities or intolerances are unaware that their health problems are caused by certain foods.
The good news is that there are concrete steps - including testing - that you can take to not only identify which foods are the cause of your health issues, but also to significantly improve your health. Contact us today and find out if your symptoms are food-related.
Institute for Functional Medicine. Adverse Food Reactions. 2017
Institute for Functional Medicine. Understanding Trigger Foods. 2017
Vodjani, A & Vodjani, E. Food-Associated Autoimmunities: When Food Breaks Your Immune System. A&G Press: Los Angeles. 2019.
The contents of this blog are intended for educational purposes only. The information presented here is not a substitute for proper medical attention, diagnosis, or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting or making any changes to an existing treatment plan, exercise program or dietary regimen, and before using nutritional supplements.
~ Dr. Sarah Williams ~ Concord & Nantucket, Massachusetts ~