Dr. Amber Brooks
Food Sensitivities: How Could These Affect My Child?
Many of my patients that come to see me have health problems that are caused, triggered, or perpetuated by the foods they eat every day—and most don’t even know it. One of the most common irritants for children is food, contributing to massive amounts of ongoing inflammation. Most adults know if they have allergies, whether they are to food or to the environment. What are less well known are food sensitivities; this is not the same as a food allergy.
Pediatricians commonly do a conventional food allergy test, which specifically looks at the IgE immunoglobins. The foods tested can produce a histamine release within the body and are the ones people think of as classic food allergies, such as eggs and peanuts. Referred to as type 1 food allergies, these are uncommon, affecting approximately 2–5% of the population, mostly children.
However, a food sensitivity test measures IgG immunoglobins, the most common, and looks at long-term exposure to a specific food. IgG food allergies are a delayed onset food allergy, considered type 3 reactions, and 40–60% of the population has reported having a delayed food allergy. Unlike IgE food reactions, an IgG food reaction will not always give obvious signs like a rash or hay fever. The signs of IgG sensitivity range and are usually subtle in children.
Here is a sample list of the most common symptoms seen with IgG food sensitivities:
Enuresis (bed wetting)
Irritable bowel syndrome
Picky eating/ Loss of appetite
Eczema, skin problems, rashes
Our Immune Systems and Food Intolerance
Chances are you have worked with your hands repetitively at some point, whether for work or sports, and developed calluses. This is because the repeated use of one’s hands causes the skin to react to being aggravated on a regular basis. Similar reactions can be seen with the repeated ingestion of irritating foods, causing damage to the digestive system and activation of the immune response over and over again. The recurring inflammation can wreak havoc on a child’s developing digestive system and brain. If you take into account that roughly 70% of the immune system is found in the gut, it’s clear why food can be a contributing cause of inflammation. The digestive tract— comprised of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and anus—connect the gut and the brain. So when the gut is inflamed, it naturally works its way up into the neurological system, contributing to and in some cases creating the developmental delays, food allergies and intolerances seen in children.
If you are going through any one of the problems listed above, you may be suffering from a food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance; this may be the root cause of the issue. Our bodies are extremely complex, and it’s critical to have specialized tests performed to determine the root cause of health challenges and uncover foods your body is not tolerating. If you’ve never been food tested before, now is the time. Proper food tests are critical in attaining your health goals.
What Conditions Can Be Helped By Food Sensitivity/Intolerance Tests?
Understanding the food your body is reacting to can positively impact all of the listed above conditions. Here are a few example conditions that may be helped with testing:
When you eat foods that your immune system doesn’t like or that create a reaction in your immune system, inflammation spikes as the body’s natural way of combating the reaction. It’s very difficult to eat well and healthy when your body is inflamed. A food test will help to identify culprits that are wrecking your digestive and immune system and remove them from your diet.
Many digestive problems link back to a gluten and/or casein sensitivity. Regardless of the specific food type, we know that food sensitivities inflame the lining of your gut causing digestive dysfunction and allow bacteria and food particles to leak into the bloodstream. This causes another immune response, producing stomach pain and bloating.
Research has shown a link to food sensitivities and kids who struggle with ADHD/ADD. When we remove the foods that are harming the child’s digestive system and immune system they begin to function better. Food testing is critical to determine which foods are harming a child’s digestive system.