Diagnosing food sensitivities

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 21 June 2016

health.foodindustryMany people suffer from chronic symptoms or diseases that could have an underlying cause of food sensitivities. These symptoms could be as obvious as gas, bloating, or loose stool after eating or could be as subtle as joint swelling, skin rashes, or weight gain. With any type of chronic inflammatory process or digestive complaint in my patients, I will consider whether or not the person is suffering from food sensitivities. Identifying and eliminating the appropriate food sensitivities can eliminate or significantly reduce symptoms that are affecting the health of my patients.


In order to identify food sensitivities I use 2 different methods:

  1. IgG blood test
  2. Elimination diet

There are advantages and disadvantages to each but my preference is to do an IgG blood test. This accurately indicates the body’s reaction to 120 different foods. The reaction is graded as low, moderate, or high. This gives patients a concrete starting place for eliminating offending foods. It allows patients to more easily identify which foods are causing them a problem. I will often have patients choose to do this test even if they have already done some type of elimination diet but still have symptoms. The blood test often identifies foods they did not originally eliminate successfully.

The other advantage to the IgG blood test is that it can tell me how severe a patient's leaky gut is. Leaky gut syndrome is a functional medicine diagnosis that describes what is happening to the permeability of the gut lining in response to food sensitivities or bacterial and yeast imbalance in the gut. Anyone who has a leaky gut needs to undergo a gut restoration program with specific nutrients and herbs to heal the gut lining or they may start reacting to more and more foods.

Doing an elimination diet is most successful in patients who are detail oriented & motivated to change their diet. A list of the most popular allergenic foods are given and then avoided for a specified period of time. Because you must completely eliminate the suspected foods for at least 6 weeks, many people will “accidentally” eat the food they should be avoiding and must start over in order to have an accurate interpretation.

If you have chronic digestive symptoms or a chronic inflammatory condition, don’t overlook food sensitivities as a cause or aggravating factor of your symptoms.

Now I would love to hear from you! Do you think you might have food sensitivities or a leaky gut? What foods have you eliminated from your diet and what were the results? Leave a comment below and be sure to share this article with anyone you think might benefit. I look forward to next week with another article on Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

2 Replies to “Diagnosing food sensitivities”


I suffered with bladder infection symptoms for several years and found out through the IgG test I have sensitivities to all dairy and several nuts. Four days after stopping the nuts and dairy I noticed a huge difference and improvement.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Hi Anna,
Great to hear! Foods can trigger chronic inflammation or infections anywhere in the body, not just the gut, your case if a great example of that.

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