Finally, after months of intermittent studying, I am a Certified LEAP Therapist, or CLT for short. I’m sure many of you would say “Yay, wonderful. Now what the heck is that?” Per the logo above (which I believe needs a serious update, don’t you?), LEAP stands for Lifestyle Eating and Performance. Basically, it’s a diet protocol that helps food allergy/sensitivity sufferers know how to eat after diagnosis with Mediator Release Testing (MRT). MRT is the most accurate food sensitivity test on the market, however it can be quite confusing to know what is ok to eat after you get the results. That’s where I come in. I work with patients to tailor an initial diet that gets them feeling better and on the road to recovery.
While anyone who is suspicious that they have food sensitivities can benefit from this test and protocol, there are some conditions commonly associated with food sensitivities. These include IBS, severe migraines, and fibromyalgia, as well as any condition that is merely being controlled and not cured by modern medicine (persistent acid reflux, gastroparesis, ulcerative colitis). It’s amazing how removing offending foods (and chemicals!) and clearing up inflammation can lead to a “cure” of sorts for many health issues. We would never think of food as the problem in many of these cases, however unresolved food sensitivities promote inflammation, and as we now know inflammation can cause a host of problems in the body.
So why do I talk here about food sensitivities and not allergies? Well, there is a difference. First of all, MRT does not test for classical food allergies, which is an IgE antibody reaction. You know when someone goes into anaphylactic shock as a response to eating peanuts? That is a perfect example of an IgE response. Predictable and sometimes life-threatening. There are other ways foods can provoke the immune system, however, via other types of antibodies (IgG and IgM) and non-antibody pathways (T-cell activation, complement). These often produce symptoms hours if not days later and are usually annoying or debilitating but not life-threatening. And the symptoms may not always be of the same severity or even may change at times altogether. Often all a person knows is they feel like crap (maybe persistent cold-like symptoms, achy joints, diarrhea, migraines, etc) but they are unsure what is causing the problem. In fact, many people often learn to live with these symptoms as modern medicine usually fails to cure them.
That is where MRT comes in. This test is an indirect measure of mediator release, which means is provides a measurement of the mediators these antibodies are releasing (histamine, cytokines, prostaglandins, etc) in response to particular foods. What does that tell us? It tells us that the body is undergoing a reaction and likely causing unpleasant symptoms. Now we have something to work with and can start getting these reactive foods out of the diet. It’s a little more complicated when it comes to the diet part, but essentially that is what we are doing.
Anyhow, I know I have tons more to learn in the area of immunology, but the good thing is now I have some great tools to be able to help people work through potential food reactions and get them on a path to recovery. Can you imagine someone plagued by migraines suddenly becoming headache free? Or someone suffering for years with IBS and finally finding relief and a sense of normalcy? I’ve heard countless amazing stories of such examples and I look forward to helping many people do the same.
If you want any more information on LEAP or MRT, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions and even provide the science behind the test and the protocols.
And if you or anyone you know is suffering from annoying or even debilitating symptoms, especially relating to migraines, fibromyalgia, or IBS, please give me a call. MRT is not for everyone, but for some it may just be the answer to reclaiming their health.
For more information, have a look through some of these sites:
(view this guy’s tech sheet with a great run down of MRT. He does a much better explanation that I can.)
-Danielle VenHuizen, MS, RD, CLT