How Food Sensitivities Might Affect You

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4:33
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Published Date:
07/02/2013
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Interviewer: You're speaking about food sensitivities, one of the topics this weekend. It seems like we hear more about that in the last 10 or 20 years than we did before. Is there a reason for that?

Dr. Jamie Wright: I think people are becoming very aware of the role that food is having in their lives. I think the celiac disease movement . . . 

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: . . . really brought a lot of these concepts of food allergy and sensitivity into the forefront. I think food sensitivity is very poorly defined, or poorly understood . . . 

Interviewer: Mm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: . . . by lay people. So I want to be clear when I say food sensitivity what I mean. When I think food sensitivity, I think about how the innate immune system, that same immune system that's creating all the inflammation I just described, reacts to food antigen. Then you have food allergies, or this concept that if I make an IGG or immunoglobulin against food, does that have a clinical consequence. I think that's a little tough to really validate there. But this concept of foods activating the innate immune system creating inflammation is a very valid and useful concept. 

So you can actually do food sensitivity tests, a blood test that looks at what foods are causing your immune system to be activated. And that test, in case your listeners want to know, is called an ALCAT test. A-L-C-A-T. That can be a very useful tool for people who are chronically inflamed, who have chronic diseases, who have chronic pain, arthritis, overweight, obesity that's resistant to other treatments to help themselves.

Interviewer: And what are some of the things that people might be feeling or going through that you would suggest that might be a food sensitivity that maybe they're not aware of?

Dr. Jamie Wright: I think some of the most common signs or symptoms of food sensitivities are going to be things that you don't quite link. These things can occur two or three days later. The immune response is very interesting. 

Interviewer: Mm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: But some of the most common things that I help people screen their lives for is if I eat it, how do I feel? This goes back, kind of, to the nutrition question. 

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: When you eat, you should always feel better. What else should you feel? You shouldn't feel fatigued. You shouldn't feel bloated. You shouldn't have brain fog. You shouldn't have skin itching. You shouldn't have back or flank or abdominal pain. That's not normal.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: So if you eat it and you don't feel well, then you should go, why?  and maybe don't eat those for a while. Then add them back one at a time and see.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: But there's a wide variety of symptoms that can occur later. I'll give you an example for myself. 

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: I did this blood test, this ALCAT test, on myself. And I had five foods that I ate every morning. And I've got 8% body fat. I'm robustly healthy.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: But I was putting on some belly fat. I was having more fatigue than I had had in a long time, and I seemed to be doing things the right way. No pun intended. So I got this blood test. And egg yolk was on there. Coffee, heaven forbid. Milk and oats. Those are the four I remember the most. So I took those out of my diet for about three days. And I'm pretty thin, but I cut about a half an inch of belly fat within those three or four days.

Interviewer: Wow.

Dr. Jamie Wright: My energy boosted substantially. What I did is I started playing around with the results of that test, and eating one of these foods by itself, and watching what was happening in my body. So when I eat oats, here's what happens. I eat them. After 15 minutes later, my left toes start aching. Then it moves to my left knee. Right? Then I get brain fog. That's interesting.

Interviewer:  Wow.

Dr. Jamie Wright: I haven't done a rigorous study on this . . .

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: . . . but these are observations in my own body. 

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jamie Wright: So I've been able to use what I learned from that test, specifically with those foods, to discover other things that are affecting my body. And because our immune system is always changing, some things come and go. So whatever you're sensitive to now, you may not be sensitive to in the future. So you have to have a fairly sophisticated way of saying this food seems to be bothering me.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

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Dr. Jamie Wright explains why food sensitivities have become so prevalent recently. He also discusses some common signs of a food sensitivity as well as a test you can take to determine what foods you might want to avoid.

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