Food Sensitivities and Digestive Health

In recent years food sensitivities and intolerances are on the rise. Bring up issues with foods at a typical doctors visit and you will at best only get tested for food “allergies”. These tests will not benefit much of the population with food “sensitivities”. And will not help resolve a patient’s symptoms. 

Do you have food sensitivities?

Some common signs that you may have food sensitivities are irritable bowels including diarrhea and constipation, acne, autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis & Lupus, headaches/migraines, acne,  skin rashes, joint aches, runny nose, fatigue, brain fog, and eczema. 

Sensitivities to foods can disrupt normal digestion, leading to inflammation, and puts you at risk for intestinal permeability aka “leaky gut”. This is when undigested food particles can enter the blood stream, leading to even stronger reactions to food and possibly autoimmune diseases. 

Many individuals with food sensitivities might be surprised to find that generally healthy foods can sometimes be causing these issues. Removing these foods (at least temporarily) and healing the gut is very important to relieving the presenting symptoms.

 

I am interested in getting tested, how does this work?

After a thorough medical history intake, Dr. Attar performs an IgG food sensitivity test, drawing blood in office. This test will detect foods that are causing an immune reaction. This differs from a food allergy test which looks at IgE reactions. True allergies are immediate responses, whereas the IgG food sesnsitivies are delayed responses. Because of this, it is harder to make a connection between foods we are eating and the signs of food sensitivities listed above. 

In general Dr. Attar will also run several standard labs like inflammatory markers, hormones, nutrient markers, cholesterol, metabolic markers, blood sugar, and others.

After running tests for IgG food sensitivities, Dr. Attar comes up with a personalized diet plan for patients. Removing the problematic foods can usually immediately relieve symptoms. Then Dr. Attar works with patients on healing the gut and reducing inflammation, so that the body can better tolerate foods. A patients original complaints usually disappear, and they feel much healthier. When a patient has a healthy digestive system, foods can be reintroduced, without the original symptoms occurring. 

But my Allergist or General Practitioner doesn’t feel IgG food sensitivity testing offers any benefit!

Quite the opposite! Research has shown IgG food sensitivity testing provides great clinical benefits.

In a randomized controlled trial with IBS patients, elimination of IgG food sensitivity foods (following IgG Food Sensitivity Testing) has been shown to reduce IBS symptoms by 10-26% over a sham diet, with greater benefit in more compliant patients. When patients reintroduced IgG food sensitivities symptoms increased 25% over the sham diet reintroductions.(1)

In a double-blind, cross-over diet study, a sub-population of patients with Crohn’s disease IgG testing revealed that approximately 80% of patients had food sensitivities to processed cheese and yeast. Following a specific diet in this population resulted in reduced stool frequency and lessened abdominal pain, as well as general well being score improvements.(2)

In patients with migraines and IBS, elimination of IgG food sensitivities reduced pain, frequency, and discomfort scores in both conditions. (3)

And a systemic review found “Among modalities used by many conventional and alternative practitioners, immunoglobulin G (IgG)-based testing showed promise, with clinically meaningful results. It has been proven useful as a guide for elimination diets, with clinical impact for a variety of diseases.” (4)

Here is an example of a food sensitivity report:

 

Contact Dr. Attar today to see if he can help you with food sensitivities.

 

  1. W Atkinson, T A Sheldon, N Shaath, and P J Whorwell. Food elimination based on IgG antibodies in irritable bowel syndrome: a randomised controlled trial. Gut. 2004 Oct; 53(10): 1459–1464. doi: 10.1136/gut.2003.037697
  2. Bentz S, Hausmann M, Piberger H, et al. Clinical relevance of IgG antibodies against food antigens in Crohn’s disease: a double-blind cross-over diet intervention study. Digestion. 2010;81(4): 252-64. doi: 10.1159/000264649.
  3. Aydinlar EI, Dikmen PY, Tiftikci A, et al. IgG-based elimination diet in migraine plus irritable bowel syndrome. Headache. 2013 Mar;53(3):514-25.doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2012.02296.x
  4. Mullin GE, Swift KM, Lipski L, Turnbull LK, Rampertab SD.  Testing for food reactions: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Nutrition in Clinical Practise. 2010 Apr; 25(2): 192-198. doi:10.1177/0884533610362696.