Ever wonder how food plays a role in your digestion? Sure, we know food is supposed to give us energy and help us to feel good. But what happens when food makes us feel terrible? Particularly if you have Crohn’s, Coltis, Ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Celiac Disease- you will want to pay attention here. If you think you don’t have any food intolerances? You may be very surprised to find that you do!
In my own case- I was in disbelief when it came to food intolerance. When I was sick with my own case of Crohn’s, I didn’t really love food all that much, since it didn’t seem to love me back. But on the rare occasion when I was hungry, all I could think of was bread. It seemed to “coat” and soothe my stomach. So for the longest time, I thought glutenous foods were “helpful” for my angry, old belly. As it turned out, I am severly intolerant. When I eat gluten, not only does my Crohn’s flare, but I get depressed, have anxiety and brainfog. If I really over do it, I will get acne and eczema, which I always joke are my “cheating indicators”. Someone can automatically tell if I let loose and gave in to a buttery NY bagel with in a day or so, as my complextion suffers tremendously between 1-3 days after consuption.
At some point or another, you may have pinpointed certain foods that set off your digestive symptoms as I did. Perhaps your doctor recommended that you omit dairy, gluten, sugar, fried, or spicy ingredients from your diet to see how you feel. By trial and error, you may have even noticed that some foods aggravate your IBD. So, what is food intolerance exactly and how do you know if you have it?
Delayed Hypersensitivity—IgG- Food Intolerance
A food intolerance reaction is known as an IgG antibody reaction. This is the type of immune system response I focus on because of its prevalence in those with IBD. IgG reactions differ from a typical food allergy by not producing the immediate reaction that someone with an allergy may experience. Although they are not immediately life-threatening like their IgE counterparts (true food allergy), these IgG reactions to food slowly cause harm by stimulating the body to produce inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. Cytokines can affect the small and large intestine, wreaking havoc on the digestive system and can damage to various parts of the intestines. When the intestines become inflamed, the passageways begin to narrow and thicken, causing villi damage and malabsorption. All these symptoms contribute to IBD flare-ups.
How can you pinpoint food intolerance? Consult a professional or keep a detailed food diary to figure it out. IgG sensitivities can be tricky to recognize, as they are delayed hypersensitivity reactions that may not show up for six to seventy-two hours after consumption. In other words, you can eat a piece of bread on Monday but not display a reaction until Wednesday. How would you know that the symptoms were caused by something you had ingested days ago? And therein lies the problem: Most people don’t make the correlation. This is why a food diary and a nutritionist can come in handy. Many of my clients over these years are shocked when they figure out what is truly setting of their symptoms!