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Food Sensitivities and Their Role in Chronic Inflammatory States

Leaky Gut

It's not normal if you consistently feel unwell after eating, and you can't pinpoint the reason. Symptoms may vary in severity and type, signaling that something isn't right; otherwise, you would feel good.

You might suspect it's related to your diet, and you could be right. However, determining which foods are the culprits can be challenging. Is it gluten, dairy? Perhaps chemicals like food additives, preservatives, or colorings? Or maybe it's a combination? There are more questions than answers.

A potential culprit could be a leaky gut. Many people have intestinal permeability (leaky gut) without realizing it, experiencing symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, bloating, headaches, and even aches and pains.

The main causes of intestinal permeability include chronic inflammatory states that damage the intestinal lining, making it more permeable to unwanted substances. Normally, only fully digested nutrients cross the intestinal barrier. However, when the gut becomes leaky, undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins enter the circulation, causing discomfort.

Leaky Gut Inflamation Mucosal Barrier Dygestion
Anatomy of Intestinal Mucosal Barrier

Diet-induced Inflammatory Reactions

Several factors contribute to leaky gut simultaneously. Autoimmune reactions, like in celiac disease, can damage the microvilli and increase permeability. Gluten triggers the production of zonulin, a chemical that opens tight junctions, making the gut more permeable. Damage from bacterial toxins in conditions like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) also contributes to gut inflammation and leakiness.

Crucially, undiagnosed food sensitivities can play a significant role, sparking an immune battle between white blood cells and undigested food particles in the villi of the small intestine.

Food and food-chemical sensitivities constitute a highly complex category of non-allergic (non-IgE), non-celiac inflammatory reactions, involving multiple mechanisms and potentially governed by either innate or adaptive immune pathways. They represent a crucial source of inflammation and symptoms across a broad spectrum of chronic inflammatory conditions, making them one of the most clinically challenging aspects to address. Despite their significance, their inherent clinical and immunologic complexities, coupled with a general lack of awareness within conventional medicine regarding their role in conditions such as IBS, migraine, fibromyalgia, arthritis, GERD, obesity, metabolic syndrome, ADD/ADHD, autism, etc., contribute to food and food-chemical sensitivities being among the most under-addressed areas in conventional medicine.

Diet-induced Inflammatory reactions
Factors contributing to Leaky Gut

Clinical Complexities

Food and food-chemical sensitivities pose a significant challenge in identifying trigger foods due to their unique clinical characteristics. For instance, symptom manifestation may be delayed by many hours after ingestion, reactions may be dose-dependent, and breakdowns in oral tolerance mechanisms often lead to reactivity to numerous foods and food chemicals. Surprisingly, even foods considered 'anti-inflammatory,' such as salmon, parsley, turmeric, ginger, blueberry, and other 'healthy' options, can trigger reactions.

Sensitivities can play a primary or secondary role in various conditions, including:

  • Gastrointestinal issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Functional Diarrhea, GERD, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Microscopic Colitis, Lymphocytic Colitis, Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome;

  • Endocrine disorders like obesity, Hypothyroidism, Cushing's Syndrome, PCOS, Insulin Resistance; neurological conditions such as migraine, ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Epilepsy, Depression, Insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome;

  • Urological problems like Interstitial Cystitis; gynecological issues including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome;

  • Musculoskeletal conditions like Fibromyalgia, Inflammatory Arthritis; and dermatological problems such as Atopic Dermatitis, Urticaria, Psoriasis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome;

  • Various immunologic complexities.

Recent research on adverse reactions to gluten has revealed a new form of diet-induced inflammation known as “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” (GS). Gluten sensitivity is 6-8 times more prevalent than celiac disease, can provoke a wide range of clinical symptoms, and has been proven to activate the innate immune system—a branch of the immune system that has been largely neglected for years as a source of diet-induced inflammation and symptoms. However, gluten is just one piece of the puzzle. As mentioned earlier, any food has the potential to trigger an inflammatory response, even those considered 'anti-inflammatory.' The key lies in identifying the specific foods and food chemicals that trigger reactions in each patient, forming the foundation for designing an eating plan that maximizes clinical benefits.

How Sensitivities Cause Inflammation

Migraine, Depression, Autism, Spectrum Disorder, Urticaria (chronic), Fibromyalgia, Arthritis (Inflammatory), Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease, Atopic Dermatitis, ADD/ADHD, Epilepsy, Otitis Media, GERD, Asthma, Cyclic, Vomiting Syndrome, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis
Sensitivities Inflammatory reactions

Sensitivities are complex non-allergic, non-celiac inflammatory reactions that can involve both innate and adaptive immune pathways. The single common feature of all diet-induced inflammatory reactions is that they ultimately cause mediator release (cytokines, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, etc.) from various white blood cells (neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, lymphocytes). This holds true whether reactions are immediate or delayed, dose-dependent or not, governed by the innate or adaptive immune systems, cell-mediated or humoral-mediated, and whether inflammation remains at a sub-clinical level or becomes clinically symptom-provoking. All food-induced inflammatory reactions involve mediator release, the single most important event leading to all the negative effects patients suffer, including symptom generation.

This vicious cycle can only end after carefully removing all sources of reactive foods and chemicals, not only eliminating symptoms but also allowing the gut to finally heal.

However, this is easier said than done for a number of reasons: Food sensitivities are often dose-dependent, with symptom onset delayed by many hours, and there are usually many reactive foods, not just one or two, as in food allergy. And just like each person has a unique fingerprint, both food sensitivity symptoms and trigger foods differ from one person to another. In other words, in two gluten-sensitive people, gluten may cause digestive problems in one person and migraines in another. And in 10 migraine patients, there could be 10 different sets of trigger foods. Because of this, obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all diet.

The best way to identify sensitive foods and chemicals is with the Mediator Release Test (MRT). MRT does two extremely important things:

1. It quantifies the degree of the inflammatory response to a wide range of foods and chemicals, identifying your “reactive” foods.

2. It identifies your safest foods. (*Note: MRT is designed to identify sensitivity reactions only. It is not intended to identify or diagnose food allergies or celiac disease. If you have either food allergies, celiac disease, lactose, or fructose intolerance/malabsorption, additional steps need to be taken in your therapy. Make sure to discuss this with your healthcare practitioner.)

With your test result, you receive an individually prescribed eating plan under my guidance. The reason is that no other approach is as easy to follow, and no other approach decreases diet-induced inflammation as fast as LEAP.

Opt into the one-on-one program with me to find out if food sensitivities are a part of your lingering health problems. Feel free to Book Free Consultation with me to learn more.

MRT Identifies Your BEST Foods

MRT is the only sensitivity blood test in the entire world that quantifies the degree of the inflammatory response in sensitivity pathways. That means, in addition to identifying the foods with the highest degree of reaction, more importantly, MRT is able to identify the foods that have the lowest degree of reaction (in sensitivity pathways).

Immunologically speaking, the least reactive MRT foods are your best foods (as long as you have taken into account any food allergies and celiac disease). The least reactive MRT-tested foods have the highest probability of being well-tolerated. And if they are foods you like to eat, which you usually do, those are the foods that will form the basis for the multi-phased LEAP eating plan.

This feature of MRT eliminates the guesswork and makes building a healthy diet much more manageable.

Too much focus on the reactive items tends to center you on what you can’t have. However, if the focus is on what you can have and includes foods you enjoy eating, and you are involved in the process of choosing your foods, then you achieve greater levels of participation, enthusiasm, adherence, and satisfaction. So you can take a responsible and active role in your therapy. This is ideal for food sensitivity and lifestyle change therapy and leads to the greatest outcomes in the shortest time frame possible, with clinical outcomes also greatly improved.

Sending You Optimal Health & Ultimate Wellness,

Julia Smila - Consciousness Entrepreneur, Biohacker, FDN-Practitioner, Pranic Healer

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