Food sensitivities are delayed IgG immune reactions that develop in hours to days and can cause a wide variety of different symptoms due to local & systemic inflammation including fatigue, bloating, migraines, digestive upset, nasal congestion, asthma and weight gain.
In comparison, food allergies are immediate IgE immune reactions that develop within minutes, causing hives and anaphylaxis type symptoms. The best example of this is a peanut allergy.
Food intolerances are not an immune reaction like sensitivities and allergies are. Instead they are a lack of digestive enzyme required to break down a particular food. The most common example of this is lactose intolerance in which individuals lack the lactase enzyme to break down lactose.
Because food sensitivities are delayed and can cause such a wide variety of systemic symptoms, it is hard to pinpoint which food may have caused the reaction without investigating with your Naturopathic Doctor. The gold standard assessment tool is the elimination diet, requiring 3 weeks of elimination of the most common food offenders followed by a systematic re-introduction protocol.
Leaky gut is another word for intestinal permeability. It occurs when there is a disruption in the integrity of the gut lining. This leads to bacteria, toxins and undigested food proteins to leak into the blood stream also causing wide variety of systemic symptoms affecting your mood, thyroid, joints, skin, sinus, colon and adrenals.
Athletes may in fact be more susceptible to developing food sensitivities & leaky gut. This is because training actually stresses the immune system, leaving the body less able to process inflammatory mediated foods such as those that produce IgG antibody-antigen complex reactions. Food sensitivities can impact athletic performance. Inflammation slows down recovery, causes bloating, impact breathing, prevents nutrients from being absorbed and induces fatigue causing the body to need more rest.