Food Sensitivity Screening

The potential for adverse food reactions to be contributing to chronic symptoms is gaining recognition. A personalized food approach may help you assess if something you are eating is contributing to your pain. The good news is that with time you may be able to reintroduce foods you took out for a while.

Adverse food reactions can include true food allergy, food intolerance, and food sensitivity.  An example of a true food allergy would be a rapid and sometimes life-threatening reaction to shellfish, or peanuts.  True food allergy, also known as Type 1 or IgE, is addressed in depth in food allergy guidelines released in 2011.

A food intolerance example is lactose intolerance, where a person lacks adequate enzyme to break down the sugar in milk.

Food sensitivities occur via different immune pathways than food allergy and cannot be detected by standard food allergy testing. Food sensitivities develop from lost tolerance in the gut, where much of our immune system is located. Sensitivity reactions are often delayed and dose dependent, and can involve multiple foods and food chemicals, making them difficult to sort out.

Sensitivities can be involved in GI symptoms, headache, rashes, joint pain, fatigue, fat storage, ear/nose/throat problems, MS, seizures, asthma, behavioral issues, to name just a few. These all have an association with inflammation, which can be caused or exacerbated by food in susceptible individuals.

This practice prefers the Mediator Release Test, or MRT, for food sensitivity evaluation, with Sensitivity, Specificity, and Split-Sample Reproducibility at greater than 90 percent for non-IgE pathways. A clinical summary can be found in the January 2014 issue of the Townsend Letter, and new resources are in the works.

Qualified dietitians are trained in the research-based, quantitative LEAP-MRT protocol and work with the test results to create a personalized, wellness-producing diet for each individual. If diet is playing a role in chronic symptoms, modifying the diet quickly calms symptoms down.

MRT result snapshotMRT quantifies inflammatory mediator release against 170 common foods and chemicals. Results help take the guesswork out of WHAT TO EAT while you determine if diet is provoking symptoms.

If you read discussion forums for IBS and other chronic conditions, people often comment that food seems to aggravate their symptoms, but pinpointing which foods is impossible. The comment, “If only there was a test…”, is omnipresent in these discussions.

There is a test, MRT, which provides clinically useful information to identify potential triggers, but it is the full protocol – the combination of test results plus the directed elimination diet – that is confirmatory of delayed-type sensitivities.

Through this process it becomes less about the test, and more about power over symptoms through personalized food choices.

Read through the links to learn more.  For qualified patients, MRT can be a real option for getting better.