Millions of Americans suffer needlessly due to food sensitivities. Conditions such as IBS, acid reflux, migraine and other headaches, arthritis, chronic fatigue, weight imbalances, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, skin eruptions, brain fog and many other health problems are often directly related to the foods we eat. Even foods perceived as the ‘healthiest’ can illicit symptoms that are never linked to a sensitivity. What is the chain of events leading to these symptoms? In short, food sensitivities create inflammation, creates leaky gut, triggers an immune response, thus shifting organs and systems into a state of imbalance leaving us with the myriad of health challenges (and more) listed above.
The LEAP program helps to identify food sensitivities through a patented blood test called MRT (Mediator Release Test). Independent studies confirm that the MRT is the most accurate and comprehensive blood test available for food and food chemical reactions.
MRT (Mediator Release Test)
MRT is a blood test that checks your immune system response (or non-response) to 170 foods and chemicals. MRT is a functional live cell analysis that identifies foods and chemicals which provoke the release of mediators that cause pain and inflammation. The results of the blood test are used to create an individualized healthy eating plan (the LEAP Program) for significantly reducing or eliminating symptoms.
Whether reactions are governed by the innate or adaptive immune system; whether reactions are caused by foods or food-chemicals; whether they are dose-dependent or delayed, MRT® provides the most complete information regarding hidden inflammation producing foods and food-chemicals.
MRT® is a functional “endpoint” test, meaning it measures and quantifies the endpoint of all inflammation generating sensitivity pathways – mediator release from white blood cells.
MRT® has been awarded multiple US and International patents and is the only food sensitivity test in the world that can measure reactions of different types of inflammatory cells simultaneously (lymphocytes, neutrophils, monocytes, and eosinophils). And because MRT® quantifies reactions, it is able to reliably predict the safest eating plan.
The LEAP Diet (Lifestyle, Eating, And Performance)
LThe LEAP Program is called an ImmunoCalm Nutrition Program that helps to reduce or eliminate symptoms due to food or chemical sensitivities, resulting in a healthier lifestyle, well-balanced nutrition, and optimum performance.
The LEAP Program is unique in that coaching is based on foods that were tested non-responsive, thus giving the body the opportunity to reduce inflammation, which is the beginning of disease. Denise combines her Wellness Program with the Leap Program to insure clients reach their wellness goals but also establish a lifestyle that will sustain their success. As a LEAP trained therapist through Oxford Biomedical Technologies, Denise coaches clients for 3-4 months on their lifestyle eating plan which includes a cookbook, symptom tracking, identifying possible triggers, wellness lifestyle information not limited to food but includes topics like EMF’s, emotional triggers and safe cosmetics to name a few.
The following common symptoms are often associated with food and chemical sensitivities:
- Diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, distention, gas, sometimes nausea & vomiting
- Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Migraine and non-migraine headaches
- Muscle or joint pain, aching, or stiffness
- General malaise (feeling lousy), fatigue, sleepiness during the day
- Restlessness, irritability, depression, anxiety, mood swings
- Sinus pain, runny nose, stuffy nose, post nasal drip, sore throat
- Skin conditions such as Eczema and Dermatitis
A Closer Look at Food Sensitivities
Food and chemical sensitivities can result in an immune system reaction with the release of mediators which cause pain and inflammation in the body. The immune system has a first line of defense in which it identifies “self” and “non-self.” This is very beneficial for protecting us from unwanted bacteria and viruses. However, if the immune system decides that a food or chemical is dangerous and should be destroyed, the result is the release of mediators which cause inflammation and pain. This is how food and chemical sensitivities develop. Many chronic conditions may be made worse by food and chemical sensitivities. Examples include, but are not limited to, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Migraines, Fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Arthritis, and Autism Spectrum Disorders.B
Blood Glucose Control
Many of us know to manage stress, focus on protein and fiber, and moderate carbohydrate intake for optimal blood sugar control. If you’ve mastered those habits and continue to struggle to gain control of your blood sugar, food sensitivities may be to blame. With chronic exposure to a food that triggers an exaggerated immune response, excess cortisol production can cause your blood sugar to rise. Insulin receptors may even become damaged, thereby increasing levels of the primary fat-storage hormone in your blood.
Did you know that sub-optimal thyroid functioning can decrease metabolism by up to 40%? That’s a big problem for many reasons–but even more so if your goal is weight loss. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition, is one of the most common causes of thyroid disruption, and much of our immune functioning is seated in the health of our gastrointestinal tract. (In fact, much of our overall health lies in the functioning of our GI tract, which is no surprise given the surface area of our small intestine could cover a tennis court!) Even if your thyroid condition is not autoimmune in nature, you might not be out of the woods either. A good portion of our active thyroid hormone, T3, is formed from conversion processes in our intestines. Undiagnosed food sensitivities can wreak havoc on our intestinal health and functioning.
This seems to be enemy number one for those trying to lose weight, and it’s closely related to your body’s production of cortisol, one of our many stress hormones. When you have an immune response to food, you are flooded with a host of inflammatory compounds–cortisol included. If you carry most of your weight in your midsection, consider food sensitivities as a possible contributor to your growing waistline.
One thing that triggers an almost maternal/paternal anger in an educated nutrition professional is the unfair societal judgment cast on those who struggle with food addiction. Yes, it is very real. It is psychologically complex, and it is physiologically real. Within the complicated picture and progression of food addiction, food sensitivities and allergies can contribute to or worsen a person’s spiral in unrecognized ways. Food that causes a delayed immune reaction, which can go on for years and be almost impossible to detect without a blood test, for example, can create a physiologically “addictive” response cycle. Ask yourself–what food do you feel you could never give up? It’s interesting to note that when most people are asked to give up wheat or dairy—two of the most common food allergens–the common initial response is, “I could never do that!”
Cravings and Moods
Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter involved in GI function, mood, appetite and sleep. Serotonin levels can dip from the impact of chronic exposure to foods that cause a sensitivity reaction. In turn, we might have negatively impacted satiety signals and have trouble feeling satisfied after meals. On top of this, dips in serotonin are a common cause for sugar and carbohydrate cravings as well as mood swings. The fact is, we all know we should limit carbohydrates, eat only until we’re satisfied and get plenty of exercise. The problem is, however, these are harder choices to make if we’re dealing with physiological cravings, skewed satiety signals or mood swings. If a food sensitivity leaves us continually reeling in all three of these ways, we’re more likely to significantly struggle with maintaining a healthy diet of vegetables and proteins or a consistent exercise regimen. Probing the possibility–and impact–of food sensitivities allows us to get to a primary root cause of our difficulties and helps us achieve real, long-term results.
The importance of seven to eight hours of quality sleep is critical in any health and fitness journey. But did you know that the gut actually contains 400 times the melatonin of our pineal gland? Melatonin is crucial to our sleep/wake cycles. In keeping with that fact, the overall health and vitality of the gastrointestinal tract must be considered to improve sleep quality. Given that one in three of us struggle with insomnia, exploring the possible role of food sensitivities might prove a productive inquiry–for better sleep and weight loss.