Food Sensitivities Specialist

Michelle Starke, MD

Gynecologist & Functional Medicine Specialist located in Coral Gables, FL

Food sensitivities are known for their gastrointestinal symptoms, but chronic sensitivities that lead to systemic inflammation are associated with more serious health concerns, like migraines and arthritis. Dr. Michelle Starke is board-certified in functional medicine, so she has extensive experience testing for food sensitivities and helping patients find ways to change their diet and improve their health. To learn more about food sensitivity testing, call the office in Coral Gables, Florida or use online booking to schedule an appointment.

Food Sensitivities

What are food sensitivities?

Food sensitivities, or food intolerances, develop when you can’t digest a particular food properly. In many cases, this occurs because your digestive tract can’t break down the food. As one example, lactose intolerance occurs when your digestive tract can’t break down lactose, which is a sugar in dairy products.

You can develop a food sensitivity for a variety of reasons. You may:

  • Lack the enzyme to digest a food
  • Have a reaction to additives and preservatives
  • Have a sensitivity to caffeine, sugars, or other chemicals

By comparison, your body reacts differently when you have a food allergy. Food allergies trigger an immune response when food proteins are mistakenly identified as harmful to your body.

In an allergy, your immune system produces antibodies to the food protein. Every time the protein enters your body, histamines are released, causing an allergic reaction such as hives, swelling, itching, digestive symptoms, or potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.

What are the symptoms of food sensitivities?

The primary symptoms caused by food sensitivities affect the gastrointestinal tract. When you have a chronic sensitivity, however, you can develop system-wide inflammation, which in turn leads to metabolic, gastrointestinal, and other disorders.

Gastrointestinal symptoms of food sensitivities include:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Cramping
  • Nausea

These are a few examples of health conditions associated with food sensitivity inflammation:

  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Eczema and psoriasis
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cognitive impairment

What food sensitivities are common?

Some of the most common food sensitivities are triggered by lactose (milk protein), gluten (several proteins in wheat, barley, and rye), fructose (sugar found in fruits), and yeast (in baked goods). Many people also develop a sensitivity to substances found in fermented foods, nitrates, and monosodium glutamate.

How are food sensitivities diagnosed?

As a physician who is board certified in functional medicine, Dr. Starke is an expert in food sensitivity testing and treatment.

To test whether you have a food sensitivity, the doctor sends a small sample of blood to a lab, which then results in a specialized, multi-step process to identify your food sensitivities.

Once specific foods have been identified and removed from your diet, your overall health may improve dramatically.

To learn whether you have food sensitivities, call Dr. Starke or use online booking to schedule an appointment.