Autism Dietitian
image-asset (1).jpeg

Food Sensitivity Testing


Food Sensitivity Testing

Food Sensitivity is very common in ASD. There are many different signs of food sensitivity such as:

  • Fatigue

  • Hyperactivity

  • Restlessness (can’t relax/sit still)

  • Insomnia

  • Seizures

  • Depression/Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Lack of concentration/brain fog

  • Headache & migraine

  • Ear infection

  • Sensitivity to sound

  • Eczema and other skin irritations/rashes

  • Runny/stuffy nose and sneezing

  • Dark circles or bags under the eyes

  • Joint and muscle pain

  • Tics (facial or otherwise)

  • Heartburn/reflux

  • Stomach pain/cramps

  • Constipation and diarrhea

  • Bloating

  • Nausea & vomiting

  • Painful elimination

  • Fluctuating weight

  • Food cravings

  • Binge eating or drinking

  • Sore throat + gagging & throat clearing


Do any (or many) of these sound like your child? If so, it’s likely that your child has food sensitivities.

Food Sensitivity and Autism


As you can see, there are many overlapping symptoms of food sensitivity and autism (hyperactivity, irritability, lack of concentration/brain fog, sensitivity to sound, chronic gastrointestinal issues, skin issues, and restlessness). Food sensitivity can also play into autistic behavior! Studies show that children with ASD with frequent abdominal pain, gaseousness, diarrhea, constipation or pain on stooling scored worse on irritability, social withdrawal, stereotypy, and hyperactivity compared with children having no frequent GI symptoms [1]. Increased autism symptom severity is associated with higher odds of GI problems [2].

Frequent GI problems affect young children with autism more commonly than those who are typically developing [1].

Many studies show that individuals with autism have higher rates of food sensitivity to gluten and casein (the proteins in wheat and dairy, respectively) [3]. It can be very taxing to take wheat and milk out of your childs’s diet, especially if they are extremely selective. Food sensitivity testing is essentially a shortcut to finding out which foods are causing inflammation in your child’s body.

The Mediator Release Test (MRT)

The Mediator Release Test (MRT) 170 is the most comprehensive food sensitivity test measuring the body's reaction to foods (170 foods & chemicals tested!) from an immune standpoint. This not only measures IgG (like most food sensitivity testing) but also IgA, IgM, and T-Cells that measures inflammation in the body.



Medical Conditions Associated with Food Sensitivity


  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Functional Diarrhea

  • GERD

  • Crohn’s Disease

  • Ulcerative Colitis

  • Microscopic Colitis

  • Lymphocytic Colitis

  • Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome


  • Interstitial Cystitis


  • Migraine


  • Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Epilepsy

  • Depression

  • Insomnia

  • Restless Leg Syndrome


  • Obesity


  • Figromyalgia

  • Inflammatory Arthritis


  • Atopic Dermatitis

  • Urticaria

  • Psoriasis

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Sensitivity

The_8_Most_Common_Food_Allergies-732x549-thumbnail (1).jpg

There are 3 categories of diet-induced inflammatory reactions: Food Allergy, Food-Induced Autoimmune Disease, and Food Sensitivities. Of the 3, food sensitivities are the most prevalent.

Food and food-chemical sensitivities are highly complex non-allergic (non-IgE), non-celiac inflammatory reactions. They’re one of the most important sources of inflammation and symptoms across a wide range of chronic inflammatory conditions. They are also one of the most clinically challenging.

Due to their inherent clinical and immunologic complexities, as well as a lack of general knowledge within conventional medicine of their role as a source of inflammation in IBS, migraine, fibromyalgia, arthritis, GERD, obesity, metabolic syndrome, ADD/ADHD, autism, etc., food and food-chemical sensitivities remain one of the most under addressed areas of conventional medicine.

Source: Oxford Biomedical Technologies

Leaky Gut and Food Sensitivity


Leaky gut is caused by damage to the lining of the intestinal tract, inducing inflammation and subsequently permeability. This allows substances, dietary proteins, and bacteria to cross this “leaky” barrier and travel to the body to create additional inflammation, cross the blood brain barrier, contribute to autoimmunity, and cause malabsorption and nutrient deficiency.

Many individuals with autism are found to have leaky gut, and food sensitivity and bacterial dysbiosis are among the main culprits. Symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, digestive problems, bloating, headaches, and even aches and pains. If you suspect your child has leaky gut syndrome, getting tested for food sensitivity is a great place to start.

Interested in Food Sensitivity Testing?




[1] Chaidez V, Hansen RL, Hertz-picciotto I. Gastrointestinal problems in children with autism, developmental delays or typical development. J Autism Dev Disord. 2014;44(5):1117-27. LINK

[2] Wang LW, Tancredi DJ, Thomas DW. The prevalence of gastrointestinal problems in children across the United States with autism spectrum disorders from families with multiple affected members. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2011;32(5):351-60. LINK

[3] De magistris L, Picardi A, Siniscalco D, et al. Antibodies against food antigens in patients with autistic spectrum disorders. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:729349. LINK