Food Sensitivities: When your body attacks the foods you eat
It's possible your body is attacking your favorite foods and making you sick. The reaction is a sensitivity to a particular food. And, everyone has a different reaction to different foods.
A food sensitivity can cause among other illnesses: bloating, skin rashes, migraines.
For Teri Barbera, every meal ended badly. "I would feel bloated. I would barely make it through an afternoon after having lunch without being sick or having to run to a restroom," she said.
Food was also painful for Beverly Calderwood. She said, "I never knew whether I was going to be in pain at worst or just uncomfortable at best."
Both women suffered for years with major digestive issues.
Today, food sensitivities are also called Toxic Food Syndrome.
But, 40 years they were unknown. A young Dr. Mark Pasula arrived in the United States from Poland. He started getting sick after he ate. Fed up with doctors who couldn't diagnose him, the immunologist figured it out himself.
"The reason was very simple. In Poland, I ate all natural foods. Here, foods contain various additives, penicillin, antibiotics, etc. and my body decided not to accept it," said Dr. Pasula.
Dr. Pasula was convinced that food sensitivities trigger an inflammatory reaction in the body which makes you sick.
So, he created the MRT or Mediator Release Test with Oxford Biomedical Technologies, Inc in Riviera Beach. It tests how your blood reacts to different foods and chemicals.
The levels of reactivity are broken down into three categories: non-reactive, moderately reactive and reactive.
"It's hard to stop the immune system from working because we need it, but when it becomes hyperactive or over reactive it makes us sick," explained Julianne Koritz, a Registered Licensed Dietician.
She told us this is not a food allergy. Those reactions are swift and severe. These results are for food sensitivities which are chronic and involve dozens of foods and chemicals.
"It becomes a chronic illness because the release of inflammation goes over three days rather than a couple hours, so what you ate three days ago could affect you today. What you ate today will affect you three says from now," Koritz said.
For Teri, the test was eye-opening. From her morning oatmeal and bananas, to her protein shakes, to her vitamins; she was sensitive to everything she was putting into her body.
The first phase of the diet was very restrictive. "The first couple of days you get tired because you're releasing toxins," explained Koritz. "You go through a detox."
Slowly, the more reactive foods are reintroduced into the diet. Koritz said it takes 90 days to calm down the immune system. Once that happens, patients say the digestive issues, the skin rashes and the migraines disappear.
"Now, the gut's working, absorbing all the nutrients, all the different organs start functioning together better, and so you just feel better," Koritz said.
Beverly said she's gone from feeling fine to feeling fantastic, "I became more confident that I was not going to be in pain again."
Teri doesn't have those problems after lunch anymore and even lost 15 pounds. "This saved my life," she said.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases wrote the MRT test is unproven; Although patients we spoke with swear by it.