I’d be surprised if you said yes! There aren’t many people who do. Some say chemical sensitivity is the only type of food intolerance, others say it’s all about IgG. When in truth, both exist and are very real for the people suffering from them. The key to the riddle is knowing how to test for each type.
KNOWING THE 2 TYPES OF FOOD INTOLERANCE
Chemical sensitivity and delayed IgG immune reaction are the two types of food intolerance, but you’ll rarely hear anyone from one camp acknowledge the other.
Sensitivity to chemicals in food and the environment is a nervous system response and often results in behavioural reactions, but can affect any body system, including skin, lungs and gut. Reactions are dose-dependant and delayed, making it hard to pinpoint the offending food (sometimes you’re ok eating chocolate and other times not, because your chemical load is higher that day). Food chemicals that commonly cause a reaction are artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, salicylates (some fruit and veg), amines (some meat and chocolate) and glutamates (MSG and rich sauces). There are also environmental chemicals that affect some people, such as perfumes, petrol and paint.
IgG is a type of antibody in the blood and levels rise in response to specific antigens (or foods) that the body sees as a threat and tries to eliminate. As with chemical sensitivity, these reactions can be delayed and are hard to pinpoint without accurate testing. Leaky gut exacerbates this IgG delayed immune reaction, as foods escape into the blood where the immune system is triggered, creating symptoms in the gut, skin, lungs etc. The more often you eat these foods, the worse the leaky gut becomes, and the more symptoms you will get. This type of reaction can be to any food, but common triggers are wheat, gluten, dairy, soy and nuts.
Clearly, the two types of food intolerance manifest in the same way, so how do you know which type of reaction you’re having? And how can you fix them?
DETECTING YOUR TRIGGERS
Knowing what your food intolerances are is the first key to getting well again. So, how can you find out? There are two ways and a combination is the answer.
A traditional elimination diet (such as the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit one) works for some, but isn’t a complete answer for others. It detects chemical sensitivities – making it clear which group of food chemicals affect you, but may leave you eating other foods you’re intolerant to (that are safe within this diet). It doesn’t help you ascertain if you’re intolerant to gluten, wheat, soy, dairy or other low chemical foods such as cashews.
An IgG food intolerance test shows what foods your immune system is reacting to by detecting antibodies in your blood (from the foods escaping from your leaky gut). Tests range from 50 to 300 different foods and help you determine which specific foods you need to avoid while you get well.
The best way to detect YOUR intolerances is to start with an IgG test, and follow with your own, personal elimination diet, cutting out specific foods that you are reacting to. It can be a slow process, but doing it this way means you are most likely to find all your food intolerances and be able to get on with the job of healing.
Throughout the process, it’s important to work on gut healing, which will build up your immune system, lower inflammation and reduce flare-ups. This crucial work will mean you can go back to eating a lot more foods again in the future. The next blog is all about gut healing, so see you then.