Am I Sensitive?
Dr Leigh Ann Greenberg, RPh
As we head into Spring, many women have once again made the New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or maybe just incorporate healthy habits like physical activity, less alcohol, more water and healthy foods. There are articles and books galore on the perfect exercise and the perfect diet. But how do you know what is truly right for you? You may see weight loss success with any type of diet that incorporates healthy food choices, but will you see improvement in mental clarity, inflammation, energy and autoimmune disorders?
No matter how “healthy” a food is deemed, if your body reacts to it with an inflammatory response it is not “healthy” for you. For example, a Mediterranean Diet consists of eating whole grains. Gluten found in grains is the highest culprit of producing an inflammatory response in our body. So if you are gluten-sensitive, then this “healthy” way of eating would not work for you. Gluten-free diets have been given much attention over the past decade for good cause, but there are many other foods that may also cause inflammation. A ketogenic diet incorporates high protein, fat and low-carbohydrates or sugar. This may prove to have beneficial results from a weight loss prospective, but will this help inflammation also? Not likely if your body is sensitive to something you are eating every day.
Many women with normal body weight and “healthy” diets still suffer from the effects of inflammation such as leaky gut, bloating, headaches, anxiety, achiness, mental fog, fatigue, bowel dysfunction, and autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s, psoriasis, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and more. Even “healthy” foods such as fruits and vegetables can cause an inflammatory response leading to all these disorders. Symptoms from food-induced inflammatory responses can occur anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days after ingestion. This delayed onset makes it difficult to pinpoint the offending food(s). Trying an elimination diet could help, but in the case of gluten, it may take up to 21 days of not eating gluten to see an improvement of symptoms. This method could take months or years to determine what foods you are sensitive to.
Performing a Food Inflammation Test (FIT) at Annie’s Apothecary can show you the level of inflammation of foods that are problematic for you within 2 weeks. This pharmacist-administered test uses blood from a finger-prick to measure IgG and immune complexes of 132 different foods, colorings and additives spanning all major food groups and candida (yeast). The colorful bar graph (right) shows the severity of inflammation of each food that should be eliminated from your meals. Each test also comes with a personalized meal plan that incorporates your food sensitivities that can be downloaded onto your smart phone. Dr Chelsea Beck-Smith, one of Annie’s Apothecary’s pharmacists, schedules time with you to review the FIT 132 test results to also devise a total health plan which incorporates gut repair using supplements such as probiotics and digestive enzymes. Dr Beck-Smith says, “I have seen many benefits of this test with my patients. One of my patients was having 1-2 migraines a week, but after eliminating the offending foods, he only has 1 migraine every couple of months which is mainly due to weather changes. Another patient came to me with chronic pain and Sjogren’s. We incorporated the FIT results into her meal plan for a month and then added low-dose naltrexone prescribed by her doctor for autoimmune disorders. She has reported to me a significant improvement in her chronic pain over the last 2 months.” She also sees improvements in her patients’ symptoms that they didn’t realize were attributed to what they were eating like fatigue. “I would recommend this test for anyone struggling with gut issues or autoimmune diseases or just want to decrease inflammation for overall health. So basically anyone including kids and young adults,” says Dr. Beck-Smith.
It is quite possible you won’t have to give up your favorite offending foods forever though. Many times your immune system gets into a hyper-sensitive state from continually ingesting inflammatory foods. Once you get through the 6-8 week food elimination phase and gut repair is achieved, Dr Beck-Smith will guide you in slowly re-introducing your favorite foods and monitoring your symptoms. Eating these foods infrequently can also have a decreased inflammatory response. With the FIT at Annie’s Apothecary, you will be able to optimize which “healthy” diet is best for you. Keep this in mind when your body has hit a wall on weight loss or when you can’t quite figure out why you are so tired and bloated. Autoimmune disorders can be attributed to gut inflammation as well.
For more information on pricing of the FIT and consultation services, visit www.anniesrx.com.