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Dana Nahai is a registered dietitian, nutritionist, cook, and writer who uses science-based nutrition to teach people how to eat food that they love and that makes them feel great.

As a dietitian, Nahai often has patients who self-diagnose with a food allergy despite not having any of the usual diagnosable offenders.

So how do you find out whether you have a food allergy – or whether there’s something else going on?

The problem is that many people talk about allergies and sensitivities interchangeably, when in fact they represent very different conditions that often require different strategies for day-to-day management.

The quick-developing skin rash, mouth swelling, or breathing trouble triggered by an allergy are severe immune reactions that are easy to diagnose through a blood or skin test. This is the life-threatening, EpiPen-carrying category of food intolerance. There are more than 170 foods that cause an allergic response, the most common offenders being shellfish, milk, peanut, tree nut, finned fish, egg, wheat, soy, and sesame.

A food sensitivity, on the other hand, is not so much life-threatening as troublesome. Symptoms are less severe and often delayed, including headache, brain fog, fatigue, stomach upset, joint pain, or other debilitating side effects. Unlike an allergy, having a sensitivity to a particular food is harder to diagnose because blood tests can be inconsistent, and some people with sensitivities aren’t always obviously reactive to that food. For example, many people who are sensitive to raw eggs or milk can eat these ingredients cooked. And, unlike allergies, food sensitivities will often wax and wane with the changing state of one’s immune system.

If you suffer from digestive cramping, bloating, or chronic fatigue, there’s a reason why, but it’s important not to try and self-diagnose unless there’s a clear connection between the food and symptom.

To get to the bottom of unexplained pain, fatigue, bloating, or stomach cramping, you should start by consulting your doctor. And go armed with a considered response to certain key questions. Nahai recommends taking a detailed look at your medical history and lifestyle routine: does autoimmune disease run in your family? Do you have a recent history of prolonged antibiotic use? Do you have a high stress job or Type A personality? Answering yes to one or more of these questions could put you at risk for symptomatic digestive problems that present like a food intolerance. Add to this a regular habit of fast food, fried food, soda, and processed snacks, and the symptoms could possibly amplify.

But the path to healing is not always as simple as switching to a strict, clean-eating routine. In fact, extreme diets can often result in an irritated digestive tract and and possibly even an increase in pain.

Sometimes, merely cutting out common dietary offenders like processed convenience foods, added sugar, certain flours, fried food, excessive meat, sodas, unfermented dairy, and artificial additives and preservatives for a month could possibly help take the edge off dietary inflammation without too much suffering. But just as important as the food we do (or don’t) eat is the way we manage stress and calibrate our physical energy. The human body is built to move, rest and recover, and without an adequate amount of each, even the best food can’t do its job.

So if you’re wondering whether you have a food intolerance, know that there is no substitute for being evaluated by a trained clinician, but improving how you eat, move, sleep, and manage stress might help reverse dietary inflammation and get you feeling better with real food; no long-term restrictions required.

Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they can assist in keeping the gut healthy. They can help balance the “good” and “bad” bacteria to assist in keeping your body working the way it should. Several essential mechanisms underlying the antagonistic effects of probiotics on various microorganisms include the following: modification of the gut microbiota, competitive adherence to the mucosa and epithelium, strengthening of the gut epithelial barrier and modulation of the immune system to convey an advantage to the host. (1)



Releaf Probiotic 12-strain offers a broad spectrum of uses including promoting the maintenance of the microbial balance and helping to alleviate the symptoms of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (2) and irritable bowel syndrome. (3)

If you regularly struggle with IBS symptoms, ask your doctor about Artigest IBS™. Containing Prodigest®, Artigest IBS™ is a patented combination of two standardised ingredients: a lipophilic CO² extract of ginger roots (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and a unique extract of artichoke leaves (Cynara cardunculus L.) that has been clinically proven to benefit digestion, promote gastric emptying and help manage symptoms related to digestive discomforts. This natural digestive relief aid is already making a difference in the lives of IBS sufferers, with 86% of those who tested it reporting a marked reduction in intensity of symptoms. (4)


Releaf Pharma believes all treatment should begin with your doctor’s opinion.

The views expressed in this editorial content are gathered from outside sources which can be

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4 Data on File. Releaf Pharmaceuticals. Oct 2018