Food Sensitivity Testing

Food sensitivity testing is one of the fastest ways to help you eliminate many of your aches and pains, but only if you get your hands on the right and most practical test. Read below to understand the symptoms of food sensitivity, the difference between foods sensitivities, food allergies, and food intolerances, and why the MRT test I use is the best and most practical food sensitivity testing available.

Your food is making you sick and you may not even know it.

Food Sensitivity Symptoms

Sensitivities to food and food-chemicals can be involved in an array of symptoms and chronic health problems including:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Heartburn, acid reflux or GERD
  • Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Stomach and intestinal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation
  • Irritable bowel diseases (IBD): Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Autoimmune conditions 
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia and muscle pain
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Eczema, hives, and skin rashes
  • Weight imbalances and water retention
  • Insomnia, sleep imbalances

If what you’re eating is causing your symptoms, any medications or supplements you take will ultimately fail because they’re not eliminating the source of the problem. If you don’t properly address food sensitivities, you could suffer for many years and spend thousands of dollars on treatments that won’t work.

Take this questionnaire to see if food sensitivities are affecting you. There are no wrong or right answers on the questionnaire. Any symptom can be caused by a food sensitivity. The more symptoms you have and the more frequent and severe they, they more likely your body is reacting to the foods you eat.

How do Food Sensitivities Cause Symptoms?

Food sensitivities are complex reactions of the immune system. In people without symptoms, immune cells recognize food particles as safe substances and no immune reactions occur. In people with symptoms, the immune system loses tolerance to certain foods. These food particles become ‘foreign’ substances, forcing immune cells to attack through releasing chemicals called mediators, such as cytokines, leukotrienes, histamines, and others. If these chemicals are released in the gut, gut issues arise. If released in the brain, migraines, headaches, and brain fog can arise. If released in the muscles, muscle pain can arise. The image below shows the different symptoms that can be traced back to food sensitivities.

Food sensitivity testing

How Do Food Sensitivities Develop?

Incomplete digestion of food (carbohydrates, proteins, fats to their individual building blocks) as a result of lack of or weakened digestive capacity is one of the main reasons the immune cells lose tolerance to certain foodsThe immune system can only recognize the building blocks. When food remains “clumpy” and not fully broken down to these safe building blocks, the immune system will “defend” the body from these unknown clumpy particles by initiating an inflammatory immune response. Leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability, also contributes to food sensitivities. In a healthy gut, only nutrients can pass through the gut lining or barrier using specific channels or gates. When the gut lining is weakened and damaged, these undigested food particles can pass through and are met with the immune cells that are ready to fight. The inflammatory immune response is what causes your symptoms. 

Things that reduce digestive capacity include medications that lower the acidity of the stomach (PPI’s like omeprazole, Prilosec, lansoprazole, Prevacid, Protonix, Nexium, etc), gallbladder and liver issues, pancreatic insufficiency, stress, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO), nutrient deficiencies, eating habits, gut surgeries, IBS, IBD, food poisoning, dysbiosis, and gut infections. Many of these also contribute to leaky gut as well, creating the perfect storm for food sensitivities to develop. 

“Fatigue is gone. I am completely off of Aciphex. No more GERD or acid reflux. No more brain fog, bloating, joint pain, snoring and improved vision (WOW).”

-David Galen, Galen Photography, Washington DC

Food sensitivity is not a food allergy. Food sensitivities can still be triggering your symptoms despite other food allergy or sensitivity tests.

Food sensitivities are not food allergies. Food allergies are IgE immune reactions that tend to cause quick-after-exposure and severe responses like severe hives, rashes, trouble breathing, swelling, and blockage of airways. While IgE reactions are more life-threatening, they are not as common as non IgE reactions. You can ask your allergist or primary care doctor for IgE blood or skin testing for food and environment allergens if you suspect this is what you have. Food sensitivities are completely different immune pathways that don’t involve IgE reactions. 

If your allergist or primacy care doctor told you that you don’t have food allergies, it doesn’t mean you don’t have food sensitivities. Interestingly, if you already have allergies to certain foods or environmental triggers, you are at a higher risk for developing food sensitivities. Your immune system is already hyperactive and may be inappropriately reacting to foods. 

Food sensitivity testing: not all tests provide accurate and useful information.

Now that we clarified that food sensitivities are not allergies, let’s talk about the different types of food sensitivity tests. Some doctors and other practitioners (conventional or functional medicine providers) run food sensitivity tests using IgG or IgA panels. IgGs and IgAs are antibodies, and some immune cells can produce these antibodies when they “see” the food. A high IgG or IgA level for a certain food indicates that you frequently eat the food, not necessarily have a sensitivity to it. The production of IgGs or IgAs is not correlated or connected to inflammatory responses in the body or symptoms. 

Even if you believe or have been told that IgG and IgA tests are useful, these don’t cover all of immune reactions to food. The immune cells can react to foods in a pathway called cell-mediated, or hypersensitivity 4, which accounts for at least half or even more of all food sensitivities. In this pathway, the immune cells release their inflammatory compounds (cytokines, leukotrienes, histamine, etc) to fight foreign foods without the production of antibodies at all.  If the test you’re doing only measures antibodies, it’s failing to capture at least half of the possible reactions. 

Some of my patients have had IgG and/or IgA tests done before working with me. Some have even ordered tests online on their own. Unfortunately, they always report no improvement in symptoms by following their IgG/IgA test results. Some say that the reports were confusing and didn’t give clear guidance on what to eat. What’s even more heartbreaking is that many people spend hundreds of dollars on these tests only to find out that they can’t even use them or benefit from them.

Food sensitivities can be causing your symptoms despite a normal colonoscopy, endoscopy, stool testing, and other diagnostic tests.

These kinds of tests and diagnostic procedures are used to investigate gut inflammation, irritation, bleeding, etc. They are important to diagnose or rule out digestive conditions like gastritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, celiac disease, and others. However, they don’t identify immune reactions to foods and won’t tell you what foods are triggering your symptoms. If you have gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, skin issues, fatigue, autoimmune activation, or any of the other symptoms listed above and they couldn’t find anything wrong with your gut, you’re the perfect fit for this test.

“I handle food better, as in digest things better, without suffering the effects of a bad digestive system. I am not in pain, or bloated, or lethargic anymore. I haven’t had a headache in a long time. I have more energy. I feel more present.
I really enjoyed working with Mrs. Zibdeh. She honestly wanted me to be better. She will do everything to help you succeed.”

–Sophie R, Herndon, Virginia

Typical elimination diet protocols are too restrictive and not helpful.

A general elimination diet will have you eat certain foods that are supposed to be “safe” and tolerable. They may have you remove all food groups like all nuts or all grains or all nightshades or something else. While there are benefits to removing common inflammatory foods, general elimination diets are completely based on guesses and can be overly restrictive. You may try a diet and benefit a little bit or not all all. In addition, any food, including those touted for their health benefits and included on typical elimination diets like blueberries, parsley, turmeric, carrots, salmon or others, can cause food sensitivities. If your immune system can’t recognize these foods as “safe” and starts to react them, they become inflammatory for you. That’s why testing and individualizing your plan make a big difference. Fortunately, food sensitivities don’t last forever, and with the right protocols for healing the gut, people do overcome them and go back to enjoying a variety of foods.

Problem foods are difficult to identify without the right food sensitivity testing.

The process of uncovering food sensitivities without proper testing can be long and tedious. Food sensitivities are delayed reactions, and symptom can appear up to 72 hours after eating.  Food sensitivities are also dose-dependent, which means that eating a small portion of something may be ok but a large amount will trigger symptoms. Considering that you may eat 100 items (including foods, spices, additives, flavors, and food chemicals) in a 72-hour time frame, identifying problem foods, even with a food diary, is almost impossible.

I wanted to try a different approach for my migraines. I went from having 2 severe migraines a week to none (a mild headache if any). I thought I would never feel any relief from them. After following the protocol, I have definitely seen positive results. I would encourage anyone with migraines to look into a nutritional protocol, especially the MRT test, because you will be surprised what foods that you may be eating might be causing some type of trouble without you knowing it. You will see positive results, as long as you remain steadfast and consistent for the most part.

—Lujain S, young mom of 2, Leesburg VA

Symptoms of food sensitivities are subtle and can go undetected for years.

Food sensitivity symptoms are often subtle, slow, chronic, and delayed, compared to food allergy symptoms that are acute and immediate after eating the food. Some people suffer for years with headaches, brain fog, fatigue, bloating, muscle pain or other related symptoms before realizing there’s a problem or addressing it. You may have forgotten what it is like to feel good, healthy, and energetic. You may have assumed or been told that your symptoms are just expected as part of aging, or becoming a mom, or going through menopause. After you start eating the foods that don’t trigger sensitivities and inflammation in your body, you’ll find out how amazing you can feel. You’ll notice a significant alleviation of your symptoms or that a cloud has been lifted as many of my patients describe. 

“This is the best I have felt in a long time. This program [MRT-LEAP food sensitivities program] has changed my life. I went from having to drag myself through the day to being energetic, alert and feeling wonderful over-all.”

–Glen S, Executive Recruiter in Marshal, Virginia

Untreated food sensitivities are a source of chronic internal physical stress.

An overly activate immune system that’s constantly fighting food is considered a source of inflammation. Inflammation leads to many chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and inflammatory bowel conditions. Inflammation and stress elevate your cortisol level and prevent you from losing weight. They also contribute to swelling and water retention. Without addressing food sensitivities, these conditions will persist and even get worse with time.

The most helpful food sensitivity test and how I incorporate it.

I have been using the mediator release test (MRT) with success with my patients since 2012. I’ve ordered hundreds of tests and helped countless patients over the years overcome their symptoms and feel amazing.  The test measures the immune response to 170 items, including 140 foods and 30 food chemicals (some are natural chemicals and other are synthetic). You can click HERE to download a sample test result. 

Keep in mind that patient results don’t come just removing a handful of foods but rather from knowing which ones to confidently eat. When I create with my patients their own personalized anti-inflammation food plans, I have to consider their symptoms, medical background, and their current eating habits. I often layer other guidelines depending on whether someone has diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, sinus issues, eczema, or something else. I want you to get results, and that’s why I don’t order the test and just hand out a result without consultations and regular follow-up. 

“I don’t miss the way I was eating [before food sensitivity program]. I’m feeling    awesome. It’s been so easy. Now I see the giant light at the end of the tunnel.”

–R.S., Great Falls, Virginia

Food Sensitivity Testing and Program

Food sensitivity testing is included in my comprehensive 4-month gut restoration program because I truly feel it’s the missing piece of the puzzle that conventional and functional medicine doctors miss. You can click HERE for more information on the program and what to expect, and if you’d like to see if it’s a good fit for you and your health goals, you can start by booking a strategy session HERE.

The food sensitivity testing and program will help you if:

  • You’re dedicated to your improving your health and getting rid of your symptoms
  • You’re willing to cook your own food for at least 1 month
  • You’re willing to let go of any food, even your favorite ones, if it comes back reactive
  • You’re willing to try new foods
  • You’re willing to give up alcohol for at least 1 month
  • You’re willing to combine food sensitivities program with overall gut healing protocol that involves specialized dietary supplements (recommended for best results)

This program is NOT for you if:

  • You eat out on regular basis and cannot or do not intend to make your own meals
  • You’re selective of the foods you eat and not willing to try something new
  • You’re not willing to give up certain foods from your diet
  • We do not offer the test without consultations. The results are not always easy to interpret, and there are many layers involved when we select the foods you will eat on this plan. Your success depends on us working together.

Click HERE to schedule your Strategy Consultation call to find out if you’re the right fit for this program. 

Before working with Nour, I experienced intestinal pain off and on for for 54 years with minimal success on medications. I have benefited 100% from Nour’s program as I am now pain free!

A lot of time and money was wasted on foods that I thought would help my digestive struggles [diarrhea, bloating, hunger], but in fact I was making it worse. The main benefit is getting a handle on what negatively affects my digestive symptom. Doing a total 180 to my eating habits has been pretty amazing.

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