What is Food Sensitivity and how MRT can help

How MRT can help you with identifying food sensitivies

We need food in order to live, that is a fact. However, some foods seem to hurt us more than help us. Millions of people suffer from food related discomforts ranging from heads to gastrointestinal issues. It can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of these symptoms, but dietary specialists and MRT can help you identify trigger foods and refine your diet. 

What’s Food Sensitivity?

It’s important to understand the difference between a food “allergy”, “intolerance”, and “sensitivity”. Though these terms are used interchangeably in casual settings, in the healthcare world the technical definitions matter. This is because the cause and severity of symptoms of each category are very different.

  • Food Allergies: A food allergy is an immune system reaction to certain foods. The trigger of a food allergy is usually a protein found in a food that the immune system mistakes for a harmful substance. The immune system reacts to this perceived threats by producing antibodies, and the body reacts with symptoms ranging from skin rashes to life-threatening anaphylaxis. 
  • Food Intolerance: A food intolerance, meanwhile, is not an immune system reaction to a trigger food. An intolerance usually refers to difficulty digesting certain foods, often due to lacking an enzyme needed to do so. An intolerance most people are familiar with is “lactose intolerance”, a condition in which the lack of the lactase enzyme causes gastrointestinal discomfort when lactose-rich foods (like milk and cream) are eaten. 
  • Food Sensitivity: “Food sensitivity” has no standard medical definition, but that doesn’t mean that the symptoms are not real. Because it’s unclear if the cause of food sensitivity is an immune system response, it is often lumped together under the same umbrella as a food intolerance. In any case, food sensitivity is believed to be caused by inflammatory responses in the body. Unlike an intolerance (which is almost always related to digestion) food sensitivities can have a wide range of symptoms from joint pain to congestion. 

Knowing the differences between allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities may seem trivial, but the consequences of mixing them up can be severe (lactose intolerance, for example, may cause cramping, while a milk allergy can cause death). Regardless of whether your trouble with food is caused by an allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity, your health and comfort should be taken seriously. That means finding out how your body responds to different foods. That’s where MRT and elimination tests come in.

What is MRT?

MRT stands for the “Mediator Release Test”. The MRT is a blood test patented from Biomedical Technologies INC that tests your body’s reaction to over 170 foods and food additives. This is done with a blood sample. 

After you get your blood drawn, the blood sample will be tested for a reaction to the 170 potential triggers. The MRT test identifies which items cause an inflammatory response in your body by assessing your white blood cells’ reactions.

How does it work?

In the MRT test the white blood cells from your blood sample will be exposed to the 170 potential triggers. The test measures “inflammatory mediators” (hence the name of the test), which include shrinkage in the white blood cells and an increase in plasma volume. A food sensitivity is detected when an inflammatory response is detected after exposure to potential triggers. 

The results of the MRT are shown in a bar graph. The graph displays the results in 3 colors: green, yellow, and red. The colors correspond to the severity of the inflammatory response that indicates food sensitivities. The colors 

  • Green – No response, or “safe” foods
  • Yellow- Foods to set aside for a few months
  • Red- Foods to avoid for a few years

What happens with the results?

The results of the MRT are used to create a personalized elimination diet. One such diet is the “LEAP” diet. “LEAP” stands for “Lifestyle eating and performance”.  The goal of this eating plan is to calm the immune system by eliminating the red and yellow foods. The red and yellow foods are slowly reintroduced while monitoring for the return of symptoms. 

The goal of the LEAP diet is to create a personalized balanced diet with the help of a certified LEAP therapist. In the final stage of the LEAP elimination diet, the “green” foods will expand as the “yellow” and “red” foods are tested through reintroduction. This system is designed to identify both your food sensitivities and your best foods. 

Is the MRT Test Accurate?

As with any new technology or program, there is both a lot of praise and criticism for the MRT testing. Below we will address the concerns of MRT testing, as well as the support for this program.

Concerns with MRT: 

The main criticism of doctors is the lack of peer-reviewed research to establish the validity of the tests. The tests are also not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Kelso said that “the way blood cells in a test tube interact with food extracts, as in the Alcat and MRT tests, is likely different from how they encounter them in the body”. In the same New York Times article, another doctor worries that these tests could cause people to avoid a long list of foods unnecessarily. 

Another valid concern about MRT testing is that it’s generally not covered by insurance. This means that the cost of testing, and even the following appointments with a LEAP therapist for the elimination diet may come out of the patient’s pockets. 

Support of MRT:

It’s important to note that the lack of peer-reviewed research does not disprove MRT. It just means that more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of food sensitivity testing. Doctors and researchers are understandably cautious about new medical theories and diagnostic methods. This critical nature is important to their jobs, but can cause them to lag behind innovation. 

Some studies have been done. Studies with the University of Miami show that MRT is able to distinguish between symptomatic and asymptomatic populations. That same research also shows that diets based on MRT show a significant symptom reduction. This study supports the many anecdotal accounts that MRT and elimination diets have helped them identify sensitivities and eliminate negative symptoms. 

Consensus between Critics and Supports:

One thing that skeptics and supporters can agree on is that food related symptoms are real, and the process of elimination is the best way to identify the cause.  

The only way to find out if you are sensitive to certain foods or additives is to eliminate them from your diet and monitor your symptoms.  This is what MRT and LEAP diets are designed to do, identify potential triggers and test them through the process of elimination and reintroduction. MRT just gives patients, and their health care providers, an idea of where to start. 

Living with food sensitivity symptoms is a pain, both literally and figuratively. Identifying the cause of your discomfort can be a difficult process of trial and error, but you don’t have to do it alone. MRT can help you speed up the process by identifying inflammatory triggers as well as safe foods. Through careful testing and experimentation, you can create a balanced diet and enjoy your meals without fear.