Food Sensitivities

Dr Tom Jemison

Summer 2013

     Much of our health begins with what we eat.  Eating food provides our bodies with the substances essential for life – vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and so on.  Problems can arise when the foods we consistently eat are actually damaging to our health.  Problems like irritable bowel syndrome, headaches and migraines, joint pain, fatigue and lack of energy, skin problems, obesity, and even GERD can all be as result of indulging in foods that the immune system responds to.  There are many potential reasons why the immune system responds to certain foods, but most commonly it can be related to gastro-intestinal inflammation.  Intestinal lining can become inflamed from a diet of highly processed, high carbohydrate, low fiber diet – the standard American diet. 


     The cells that line the intestinal tract are normally very active.  They are the barrier between the internal systems of the body and the outside world.  These cells and the lining they create along with other factors such as fiber intake, water intake, beneficial or harmful bacteria levels, short chain fatty acids, immune function, and digestive break down of foods all contribute significantly to the health of the gut.  When one or more of these factors are lacking or out of balance inflammation is typically the result.  As the cells lining the intestines become increasingly inflamed, the junctions between them can become compromised.  Inflamed cells are cells that are not performing their respective function properly and can lead to health problems. 


A compromised barrier between the inside of the intestine and the body circulation allows larger food particles, bacteria, and yeast can attempt to pass through – sometimes successfully.  This exposes unfamiliar and pathogenic substances to the immune system which can cause a number of immunological and inflammatory events.  As a result the person whose body is responding this way can develop any of the following symptoms


-          Digestive Disorders

-          Dyspepsia

-          IBS

-          Headaches / Migraines

-          Joint Pain

-          Fatigue and Energy Issues

-          Weight Gain

-          Skin Disorders


     Food sensitivity is an immunological response to a particular food and causes symptoms.   If you struggle with any of the above symptoms – it is possible that you are reacting to some of the foods you eat.  A simple and easy way to know which foods may be causing you problems is to get tested.  There are many labs that test for food allergies and sensitivities and many patients have been surprised to find that they react to certain foods.  The information gathered from a food sensitivity test will help guide you to improved health.  The health of the digestive system is essential for the health of the entire body.  As the gut improves, health and quality of life improves.