Lori Langer suffered from migraine headaches from early adulthood to her mid-40s. A registered dietitian who did her internship at Indiana University's Medical Center, Ms. Langer underwent traditional medical testing and treatment for her headaches, only to
experience severe and dangerous side effects from the migraine medication she was taking. In addition to taking medication, Lori underwent two sinus surgeries, but these also left her headaches unrelieved.
At her wit's end, Lori spoke to a fellow dietitian about her situation. The dietitian recommended that she be tested for food sensitivities, using Mediator Release Testing (MRT). After testing a small blood sample, Lori discovered that she was reactive to 44
out of 150 foods. The dietitian was also a Lifestyle Eating and Performance (LEAP) certified counselor, and crafted an eating plan that was individualized to avoid triggering one of Lori's sensitivities.
"To this day I no longer get migraines, unless I accidentally consume something to which I am reactive," Lori stated, adding that she recommended the testing to several family members who were also experiencing chronic symptoms such as post-nasal drip, sinus
congestion, muscle and joint aches that mimicked arthritis and fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. She reports that after testing, they changed their dietary habits and over time, became asymptomatic.
Food sensitivies and food allergies are similar in that they both trigger an immune response. However, the person with a food allergy experiences a dramatic and often life-threatening response. A food or chemical sensitive person, on the other hand, may experience an
"off" feeling, such as fatigue, vague aches and pains or bloating. Because food sensitivities don't create a drastic immune response, they do not register on the standard skin-prick allergy test. The immune cells of the body produce chemical mediators such as
histamine, cytokines and prostaglandins when confronted by offensive chemicals, and this is what MRT registers. It is estimated that 8 percent of the population have genuine food allergies, but food sensitivities may affect up to 25 percent of the population. The
most common trigger foods are wheat and wheat gluten, eggs, milk, peanuts, shellfish and soy. However, processed foods may also contain dyes and preservatives that can also trigger sensitivities.
Many allergists and clinicians doubt the efficacy of MRT testing. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has stated that the presence of IgG4 may actually indicate an immunological tolerance for a chemical rather than a sensitivity toward it.
Further, the organization states that IgG (immunoglobulin G) testing to date has never been the subject of any controlled studies. UPDATE: sources have stated that MRT is NOT the same as IgG testing. It is a more up-to-date technology that avoids the drawbacks of IgG testing.
However, Lori's personal physician noticed the changes to her physical well-being, asked her what she had done to bring it about and is now one of several physicians who refer clients to Lori's nutritional counseling business, Live Well Nutrition Consulting.
Like Lori, a person showing chronic symptoms with no apparent medical cause may consider MRT or another food sensitivity test, but be aware that the test itself costs around 525.00 and may not be covered by health insurance. However, Lori and the others who are living pain- and symptom-free, would argue that the benefit of being able to manage symptoms without drugs is worth the price.