Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Food Sensitivities -Your Guide to Eliminating Chronic Fatigue (Part 3 of 10)

Hi, I'm Dr. Marie Starling.

At The Healing Center, we help people like you reach their full potential.

I specialize in adjunctive care for internal disorders, autoimmune conditions, IBS, thyroid symptoms, diabetes, and other complex health issues.


By Michal Cooling, CNTP

At The Healing Center we have a holistic, whole-person view as well as molecular view, with tools and testing to evaluate the biochemistry of cells, tissues, and organs. We seek to find the exact imbalance in your body, the underlying cause for that imbalance, and the individualized solution.

With this approach, we view fatigue differently than traditional medicine, and usually find there is a network of things contributing towards this fatigue and other related symptoms. Here are our top ten strategies for eliminating chronic fatigue… for GOOD.

These are the top ten most common causes of chronic fatigue that we see, which are often not addressed by conventional or even holistic practitioners:

  1. Auto-Immunity
  2. Gut Function / Nutrient Imbalances / Poor Absorption 
  3. Hidden Food Sensitivities
  4. Hidden Infections
  5. Brain Imbalance
  6. Emotional / Stress/ Post-Trauma
  7. Sleep Issues and Their Underlying Causes
  8. Hormone Imbalances (Thyroid, Adrenal, Sex)
  9. Toxicity
  10. Detoxification and Metabolism Impairment

Food Sensitivities can also contribute to Chronic Fatigue. Delayed Reaction Food Sensitivities are common and most people don’t know they have them. Unlike the scary Food Allergies we all hear about, they usually don’t result in a quick rash or trouble breathing or outward sign that sends someone to the Emergency Room for life saving treatment. They can just cause a low grade inflammation that may only be felt 5 days later as fatigue. The resulting gastrointestinal inflammation can decrease absorption in the GI tract, resulting in many deficiencies we have already discussed. Many people are just tired, overweight, retain water, have redness to the face, nose, chin, neck or chest and wouldn’t know it is the banana they eat each morning. So what’s scarier, a fast allergy you find out immediately so you stay away from that food, or an insidious, mild inflammation that keeps you miserable and unable to lose weight no matter if you cut back on calories or work out all the time?

Holistic Nutritionist, Vivian Cheng explains “Food intolerance symptoms and symptoms of food allergies manifest themselves in more ways than most people think. The general public is aware that severe food allergies can cause anaphylaxis, or that environmental allergies can cause people to sneeze or break out into hives. But did you know that allergy and intolerance can be responsible for a very wide range of symptoms that can affect any part of the body, and they don’t necessarily have to cause symptoms where first contact occurs?

In her book, Allergies: Disease in Disguise : How to Heal Your Allergic Condition Permanently and Naturally, Dr. Bateson-Koch states:“Allergy does not cause every disease, but it can be involved in almost any disease and it can play an integral role in the development of disease. It is so prevalent that if you have not been told the cause of your health problems or symptoms, you should consider allergy first.”

 Dr. Loblay has been investigating patients with M.E. /CFS for the past ten years. His clinical research has shown: “Adverse reactions to foods can be a significant cause of symptoms in some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, although the contribution of diet is not always easy to recognize.” He explains the reasons why the advances in medicine regarding food allergies has only been in recent years, as the understanding of the immune system and food science have developed. This difference lies mainly in the distinction between food allergy and food intolerances. 

Barbara Solomon, certified nutrition specialist, explains this difference well. She states “Most folks think food allergies or intolerance only present as rashes, hives, or asthma. That is pretty far from the truth. Severe allergic reactions (IgE antibodies) may cause outward symptoms, but common food allergies (IgG or IgA) don’t show up on regular allergy tests of the skin or blood but still lead to symptoms throughout the body. For instance, a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be traced back to gluten consumption.  These include Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, arthritis, chronic sinusitis, type 1 diabetes, irritable bowel, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, joint pain, etc. and their array of symptoms.

The distinction between food allergy and food intolerance depends on whether the immune system is involved. For example, let’s take a  look at Celiac disease. True celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the small intestine. It only occurs in about 1 percent of Americans, whereas a non-celiac reaction is when the immune system attacks the gluten molecule.  It is far more common and affects over 30% of the population. There also can be a food sensitivity which occurs when a delayed immune system response is initiated by the triggering food. 
Food reactivities can be immediate or can take several days. In fact, each time a glass of milk is consumed, morphine-like substances are released into the brain which cause a molecular reaction that could remains active for up to three weeks. Gluten responses can last for months to those who are susceptible. Because symptoms may be delayed for days, a low-grade food intolerancemay be hard to detect. For example, why would you consider that a gut issue would be due to a tomato eaten four days ago!

Try to think of the one thing in your diet you couldn’t possibly live without, and that is probably what you are intolerant to!  People with biochemical sensitivity to certain foods tend to crave the very foods that are harming them. The common belief that we crave what our bodies need does not hold true when our body systems are imbalanced. People with imbalances instead crave what gives them temporary satisfaction, even if these indulgences are usually followed by unpleasant physical symptoms, anxiety, depression, or lethargy. Instead of taking these symptoms as a sign that a particular food is bad for us, we recall mainly how good it initially made us feel, and so we seek more of it.

These foods can be highly addictive. Foods such as gluten and dairy have been shown to release morphine-like substances such as gluteomorphins or casomorphins, respectively, which cause us to crave the foods we are allergic to. Many times we eat these foods because they make us feel better by alleviating the withdrawal symptoms causing the cycle to continue.”

Another key impact of food sensitivities is that they can cause nutrient deficiencies, such as key vitamins, minerals or amino acids. The impact of this is on the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the little powerhouses in our cells that use nutrients from food to make ATP, our energy molecule. Common deficiencies like CoQ10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, B Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, Essential Fatty Acids and others can grind the mitochondrial machinery to a halt.

See our blog Allergy Testing & Immune Testing for more information on identifying your food sensitivities!

At the Healing Center we use a combination of lab testing, NAET, elimination and provocation diets, and bio-communication technology to identify what substances are bothering you. They may be causing your immune system to run on high all the time, resulting in Chronic Fatigue, Weight Gain, Allergies or even Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Chronic Fatigue can be caused by Parasites, Yeast Overgrowth (Candida), Hormone Imbalances, Digestive Problems, Gluten Sensitivity, Celiac Disease, Heavy Metal and Chemical Toxicities, Stress, Numerous Deficiencies and more.

We also analyze which vitamins and minerals are sub-optimal and supplement when appropriate to support the mitochondria’s ability to manufacture ATP energy molecules. Options include: Riboflavin, Lipoic Acid, Enada (NADH) phosphatidyl serine, L-Carnitine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, glutathione, CDP-choline, Coenzyme Q, Essential Fatty Acids and “adaptogenic” herbs.

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