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Diet & Nutrition

Which Health Problems Are Linked To Food Sensitivities?

4 Mins read

Certain health problems such as inflammation, bloating, skin rashes, IBS and asthma could potentially be caused by food sensitivities. By eating foods you’re sensitive to, these types of health conditions could arise. This doesn’t mean that your health problems are for sure being caused by food sensitivities, but rather that a food sensitivity could be a potential cause worth looking into.

If you’re curious if you have any food sensitivities, you could take an at-home food sensitivity test such as a blood test. You could also check to see if there are any foods you’re genetically more likely to be sensitive to by taking a CircleDNA test and reading the nutrition reports based on your DNA.

Below are some examples of health problems that can be linked to food sensitivities. 

circlemagazine-circledna-food-sensitivities

Asthma

Some research links IgG-mediated food sensitivities to a number of health problems, including asthma. However, the subtype of antibody is relevant as well. A study conducted on asthmatic children found a link between egg IgG antibodies and asthma.

Identifying food sensitivities may help you if you have asthma, or the other conditions in the “atopic triangle”, such as eczema and hayfever. Some research shows a link between the level of egg IgG antibodies and symptom severity, which may be caused by inflammation and continual immune reactivity. 

Inflammation of the Joints

When food is difficult to digest due to a food sensitivity, it can cause inflammation all throughout your body. Inflammation of the joints is an example of such inflammation sometimes caused by eating problematic foods. This is why health conditions such as arthritis can sometimes arise from undiagnosed food sensitivities.

Inflammation in the body is uncomfortable, and inflammation in the joints is often quite painful. By getting a food sensitivity test and eliminating the foods that are causing inflammation in your body, you could become much more comfortable and enjoy a higher quality of life. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

Another category of chronic illness that is often related to food sensitivities is the painful and debilitating inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). These are autoimmune conditions that attack the colon (ulcerative colitis) or anywhere in the digestive tract (Crohn’s disease). For this reason, a study of people with IBD compared the prevalence of IgE and IgG mediated food sensitivities to see if either was a trigger for inflammation. Higher levels of IgG reactivity were found in subjects who suffered from IBD. There was also a stronger relationship between IgG antibodies and Crohn’s disease than with ulcerative colitis.  

Skin Rashes and Skin Conditions

Many factors can cause skin conditions such as rashes, itching, and acne. However, food sensitivities might be to blame. The only way to find out for sure would be to try an elimination diet, cutting out foods your blood test indicated you’re sensitive to, and seeing if the condition of your skin improves.

Food sensitivities can cause itching and rashes. A very severe rash on the skin could be a sign of a food allergy, not a food sensitivity. Food allergies are much more serious than food sensitivities, and you should seek immediate medical attention. To find out what is causing your skin health to deteriorate, try eliminating foods that people are commonly sensitive to, such as dairy or gluten.

Bloating

Bloating is an uncomfortable sensation that occurs in your stomach when your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with air or excess gas. The onset of belly-bloating can be sudden, and often happens because you’ve eaten a food you’re sensitive to. 

When you’re bloated, it’ll feel like there’s increased pressure in your abdomen, and it’s a similar feeling to that ‘overstuffed’ sensation people feel after a Thanksgiving feast. 

Being bloated makes your stomach look bigger, so it’s not just physically uncomfortable, it’s also physically unappealing. 

When you have food sensitivities that you’re unaware of, and you’re therefore constantly eating foods that you can’t easily digest, bad bacteria can build up in your gut. This can lead to gassiness and bloating. If you’re always bloated, it’s worth looking into potential food sensitivities such as a possible lactose intolerance.

circlemagazine-circledna-food-sensitivities

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Many people who suffer from IBS find that their IBS symptoms are relieved once they discover they have food sensitivities linked to IBS.

IBS is a very common health condition that affects the large intestine. Symptoms of IBS include stomach pain, cramping, excess gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

Those who suffer with IBS won’t necessarily be cured by modifying their diet, but eliminating problematic foods could reduce their IBS symptoms. This is because food sensitivities can make IBS symptoms worse, and those with existing IBS could find that their IBS symptoms are exacerbated if they’re unwittingly eating a food they’re sensitive to and have trouble digesting.

Food Sensitivities May or May Not Be the Culprit

The above list of health conditions are only some of many health issues that can be linked to food sensitivities. In many cases, finding out your trigger foods through a food sensitivity test and eliminating the food you’re sensitive to solves the problem. In other cases, the health issue is remedied in a different way. 

Food sensitivities may or may not be the culprit causing your health problems, but it’s worth looking into. It’s worth checking to see if you have a food sensitivity, and seeing if eliminating that food resolves your symptoms.

The research into the link between food sensitivities and certain health conditions is ongoing. Mixed evidence, for example, comes from a Chinese study on 14 different foods and over 5,000 people. People both with and without food intolerance related health problems had substantial levels of IgG antibodies to the tested foods. Some health problems, such as rhinitis and gastrointestinal complaints, had higher levels of IgG antibodies towards some foods, and lower levels against others. For example, rhinitis (runny nose) was related to higher IgG levels against rice and lower IgG antibodies towards tomatoes. The researchers added that children and teenagers may not have any problems associated with IgG antibodies to foods, and they could even be linked to better immune tolerance later in life.

Mixed evidence in research simply suggests that not everyone with food sensitivities and food-related IgG antibodies develops health issues. However, even if your food sensitivity causes uncomfortable symptoms such as stomach pain, that’s enough of a reason to address the issue and modify your diet. 

References:

Warner, JO. “Ovalbumin-specific immunoglobulin G and subclass responses through the first 5 years of life in relation to duration of egg sensitization and the development of asthma.” PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15479268/. Accessed 25 January 2022.

“Serological investigation of IgG and IgE antibodies against food antigens in patients with inflammatory bowel disease“, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6718778/. Accessed 25 January 2022.

“Variable Food-Specific IgG Antibody Levels in Healthy and Symptomatic Chinese Adults”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3536737/. Accessed 25 January 2022.

Team CircleDNA
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The editorial team behind CircleMagazine, dedicated to bringing you bite-size health tips, real-life health stories and the latest genetic-related findings at this digital health hub.
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