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Updated: Feb 20

A view of what food sensitivities may look like for your child

From this article, I hope you can learn how to spot food sensitivities in your child. Most parents will first see a pediatrician, then be referred to an allergist, and be told they are not “allergic” to any of the foods tested. I have been treating food sensitivity symptoms before technology caught up and could show us what we already saw on paper.  

If the allergist is thorough,  they may also test for (CD) Celiac Disease using the tools they have been trained to use. As a result, nine times out of ten, this will come back negative, and the family will assume that their child can safely eat gluten without consequence.  

Sooner or later, it becomes increasingly frustrating when you can’t seem to find the answers you desperately seek to bring comfort to your child. It is equally important to trust your gut when you know something is wrong.

For this reason, we’ve broken down everything you need to know. The first thing to remember is no two children are alike. To begin with, in summary, I will oversimplify a complicated issue with the following.  

The tests being run are not going to show the body’s inflammatory response to the different foods.  They will show if the immune system immediately reacts to the substance, not what may be a long-term or delayed reaction.  

Examples of food sensitivities in your child

For example, unless you are a family who has already been researching, you may not suspect that in a child, the following can absolutely be contributed to and exacerbated by food sensitivities: 

Here are a few ways to spot food sensitivities:

ADHD & Autism/sensory processing

  • Does your child struggle with sensory processing? Are they sensitive to textures related to food and touch? Do you notice simple tasks trigger your child’s attention span?


  • Histamine-related allergies are often overlooked in relation to the gut. Many studies show that histamine-related issues begin in the gut.

Behavioral Outbursts

  • Is your child having outbreaks during simple tasks or when around others?

Chronic constipation/diarrhea

  • Bowel movements are one of the keys to a healthy gut. When toxins back up, they can make your child feel terrible, causing them to be fussy and have gas additionally, their sleep may be impaired.


  • When the gut is inflamed, the microbiome is affected. As a matter of fact, digestive issues can also present as skin issues such as rashes, bumps, and eczema.

Gut distension

  • If you are seeing swelling and bloating in the belly area, these are signs of gut distension.

Learning challenges

  • Does your child have a hard time learning new skills?

Missing Milestones

  • Did your child skip crawling or miss any of the recommended milestones? If your child is not keeping up with their milestones even though the doctor says it is normal, it means they are struggling.

Poor balance/coordination

Does your child struggle with clumsiness or have trouble with their motor coordination?

Many parents tend to second guess what may be wrong, which undoubtedly causes added stress. If your child is struggling with any of the above, don’t wait to get answers. In general, unquestionably, the common factor to all of these issues is gut dysfunction.

As a result, the gut can be irritated in the lining, creating inflammation which is triggering the nervous system. This also causes excessive opening of the tight junctions, which is labeled as “leaky gut.”  This is when the barrier leading outside of the gut has openings that don’t close in a timely manner and allow bacteria, pathogens, and food particles to escape.  

Additionally, it is essential to know that the brain-gut axis is connected and sends signals between them. When one is not optimized similarly, the other is likely not.

The body wisely mounts an attack as these food proteins don’t belong outside the intestines. However, repeated exposure to this food will create antibodies to these proteins, then memory cells.  In other words, when the food is introduced, there will be an immune response mounted that will not necessarily cause an immediate reaction but does contribute to the problem.

The right testing is the key to the root of the problem

Another critical point is that it is important to realize that not all testing is equal. Routine testing for allergies will not pick up on the fundamental factors of your child’s sensitivities. In conclusion, with this in mind, there are several ways to get the answers you need to bring comfort to your child.

Children will not outgrow the challenges. Instead, these challenges grow with them until you get to the root of the problem. The CDC has stated that more than 40% of children are experiencing chronic illnesses. These statistics are likely well under-calculated. Families must learn to understand for themselves the signs they should be looking for. Many children experience these symptoms long before the root of the problem is discovered.

Trust your gut as the parent; you know your child best

Furthermore, parents, the most important thing to know is if you feel something is wrong, say something! I want you to trust your gut as your child’s primary caregiver that you know something is wrong and seek the answers that will bring positive results.

Given these points, you will better understand how to find the right help for your child. At the Brain Gut Institute, we do not use labels to define your child’s health. We instead look at the overall picture for a clear understanding that will bring you more conclusive answers.

Our research and experience on what type of testing can be ordered will save you time. Feel free to contact us to learn how to spot food sensitivities. In conclusion, the root of the problems begins in the gut.

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