What are Food Allergies:
With food ALLERGIES, when you eat a contending food, there is an actual hypersensitivity reaction by the immune system leading to rashes, hives, itching of eyes or throat, or even anaphylaxis. This is the person that cannot even be in the same room as a dish of peanuts, for example. This is also the type of reaction some people have to a bee sting. This person should carry an EpiPen and be prepared to use it if they come in contact with the allergen.
How to test: Typically testing is relatively easy and involves either a skin-prick test performed by an allergist (a type of doctor specializing in allergies and allergic reactions) OR a blood test checking for IgEs to a certain type of food. IgE molecules indicate a hypersensitivity reaction to a food group or other allergen (pollen, dander, etc), and anyone with IgEs to an allergen should carry an EpiPen.
What are Food Sensitivities:
Food Sensitivities are much more common reactions, though not as immediately life-threatening. Though, I do like to point out that people that have food sensitivities that go unaddressed are likely to have inflammation that becomes chronic and leads to a myriad of other life-threatening illnesses (i.e. cardiovascular diseases, cancers, memory/brain issues, arthritis, etc.). Inflammation is key when considering your overall health, and eliminating foods that are causing inflammation is paramount in maintaining and optimizing your health.
Common reactions to food sensitivities include: rashes (eczema, psoriasis, acne), heart palpitations, asthma, hair loss, joint pain, digestive issues (reflux, diarrhea, constipation), post-nasal drip, sinus issues, headaches/migraines, and more.
How to test: Testing is a bit more complicated than it is for Food Allergies (IgE reactions). With food sensitivities, sometimes people will have elevated IgG or IgA levels (different types of molecules in the immune system that recognize more chronic antigens). While some people acknowledge that you could have IgG and/or IgAs for any food you've eaten since your body has "seen" it and responded to it, I have seen that too high of IgG or IgA could also be a problem. It makes sense that when these IgG and/or IgA levels get too high, this indicates an over-response of your immune system, and thus increased inflammation from these foods.
So, back to testing: Testing can be done with a blood test, an elimination/rechallenge diet, or a pulse test (or a combination of those). Each of these testing methods has pros and cons, but all of them do help guide you to understand your particular sensitivities.
1) Blood Test: Commonly done through private labs, this blood test takes an average of about 1-3 weeks to return and typically gives you a bar graph analysis showing the foods you have the highest reaction to. The pros: This is a very easy way to test and the data is pretty clear - it's easy to see which bar graphs are biggest, and thus it's easy to identify the foods you react the strongest to. Cons: This test costs money and it has a lot of false positives and false negatives by nature.
2) Elimination/Rechallenge Diet: This is a well-known way to strategically avoid foods that you are wanting to "test" for a food sensitivity. Typically, I recommend people avoid the testing foods for a period of 3-6 weeks, depending on their symptoms. After that time period, foods are reintroduced strategically and then we watch for symptoms to arise after the testing food. The Pros: This is the gold-standard for testing foods as the body doesn't lie. If you eat something and get a reaction, there's no question that you have a sensitivity to that food. This is a relatively inexpensive way to test, except the cost of wasted foods that you may find out you don't tolerate. The Cons: This test is difficult to adhere to for many people. It requires a lot of planning and strong-will to avoid the foods when not even certain if reacting to them or not.
3) Pulse Testing: This relatively simple testing method involves first counting your pulse for a minute, then tasting (holding in mouth but not swallowing) a questionable food and re-counting the pulse. If the pulse goes up by more than 6 beats in a minute, the person is likely to have a sensitivity to that food.
So, do you have any of the Food Sensitivity symptoms? If so, are you ready to explore your Food Sensitivities? Even if you cannot pinpoint a particular negative symptom but you're still interested in checking foods, it could be worth testing the 8 most common food allergens/sensitivities (wheat, peanut, egg, milk, fish, soybean, shellfish, tree nut) and possibly another common food group that tends to trigger inflammation (the nightshade family of fruits/vegetables).
Not sure where to start? Need help sorting out your data? Want to try a blood test? Great! I can help you with all of these and more. Simply fill out our Contact form here, and I'll get back to you right away.
by Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
Here it comes again - that time of year where we purchase new yoga clothes, running shoes, and a bathroom scale. It's the time of year where we look back at the holiday festivities and wonder when they started putting more calories in pumpkin pie and less elastic in our pajama pants.
If you're like millions of people, for you, winter months are time for cleansing and detox. It's a new year, a new start - and with no holidays in sight for a few months, it's a great time of year for a detox regimen. Perhaps you wouldn't mind even losing a few pounds. If this sounds like your goals for the winter months (and prep for the summer season), have you considered that there are healthful, energizing, and satisfying ways to obtain these goals?
Many diet and detox plans these days involve pasty protein shakes or starvation diets. The truth is, weight loss that is achieved in this fashion is not sustainable. Starvation by severe calorie restriction further stresses the nervous, hormonal, and metabolic systems and can make weight loss in the future even more difficult.
While weight gain is linked to diet and lifestyle choices, for many, diet and lifestyle are not the culprit for those extra pounds. Most often, it's the hormone system, the nervous system, and/or the metabolic system that is dictating the weight imbalance.
So what does all this mean? Balance. It really comes down to balance.
The next step in balancing weight is to ensure proper balance of the micronutrients (specific amino acids, vitamins, minerals) in addition to the macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates). While this can be done slowly with oral supplementation, a new, faster, convenient, and more efficient way to help balance the metabolic system is through IV nutrition therapy. This involves receiving a 45-90 minute IV once or twice a week for 6-8 weeks (note: exact protocol to be determined on an individual basis).
The nutrients in this IV are geared towards ramping up the mobilization and metabolism of macromolecules for energy production (i.e. calorie or fat "burning") and supporting all of the detox and antioxidant pathways to promote health and prevent aging.
What are the side effects of these IVs? Well, we expect that in addition to weight loss, you may also feel more alert, happier, less anxious, have fewer symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance, have better hair growth, and maybe even look and feel more youthful! (As a side note: It is not common, but some people do actually feel tired after the IV treatments in the beginning. This actually indicates a greater deficiency of the nutrients and after sufficient replenishing, these people will reap the positive benefits too.) Overall, people tend to feel a lot better and more energized while on this detox protocol.
If IV therapy for weight loss and detox sounds like something you'd like to try, please don't hesitate to give us a call!
The Doctors at ENH post to this page regularly with new health information, home remedies, and other interesting tidbits.