Why I Took the MRT (Mediator Release Test) and a Health Update
Hey! Hi. I forgot how much I love writing in this space.
I’ve taken quite the hiatus from blogging (#noregrets) but so much has happened in my journey to healing that I felt like I needed to write it all down. Get it out of my head and make sense of it, you know? Let’s get right into it! If you need to catch up on some of my eight-year stomach pain saga, read here.
I think we last left off at the 21 Day Sugar Detox last year while I was pregnant with Gloria. That was mostly a fail for our family (read up on that here). After Gloria’s birth, I was feeling super run-down. I was more tired than ever, became really sensitive to noise and started to get headaches and body aches. A friend of mine recommended a doctor who specializes in cases like mine, so I went to get checked out.
I got a bazillion vials of blood taken by this guy and found out that I was severely Vitamin D deficient. My blood work also showed a 30% bowel injury (big surprise there). The doctor’s recommendations were to take Vit D, up my magnesium, calcium and Vit B, and to go off gluten to try to heal up the bowel issues.
I started taking the supplements, but found that taking the Vit B made my noise sensitivity worse, so I dropped that. I started eating the gluten-free way- which of course is marked by lots of rice, corn and potatoes. I was still feeling bad, still having symptoms. Then the symptoms got worse- more headaches, flu symptoms, bloating, more stomach pains. What THE what, I said.
So I started researching food allergy/insensitivity testing. I had never done it and figured it was my last way to get some real information about my body’s reaction to food. I landed on the MRT (Mediator Release Test) because it seemed like the most comprehensive (it tests 150 foods and additives). There’s only one lab that reads the results, so I got in touch with a local nutritionist, did my blood work and waited for results.
While I was on a family trip in Savannah, I got the email with my MRT results. There are three categories of reactivity: low reactive foods are green, moderately reactive foods are yellow and reactive foods are red. Both yellow and red foods need to be strictly avoided.
- My RED foods: Lemon, Salmon, Rice
- My YELLOW foods: Almond, Codfish, Corn, Cow’s Milk, Cranberry, Blue #2, Yellow #6, Fructose, Goat’s Milk, Honey, Mango, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Polysorbate 80, Quinoa, Raspberry, Salicylic Acid, Sesame, Sodium Sulfite, Sole, Tyramine, Potato
I got the results and I was oddly underwhelmed. I started googling all the additives I’d never heard of and things started to come together in my mind. I started to make connections about certain meals that seemed so normal and healthy, but landed me in bed with pain. Remember that gluten-free diet that wasn’t working? It was heavy on the rice and potatoes. No wonder I was feeling so crummy! I felt like these results could give me a new handle on how to heal myself, but I still had a lot of questions.
I researched things on my own for three weeks and then met up a few days ago with my nutritionist. When you take the MRT and get your results, you and your nutritionist put together a diet plan to reintroduce foods and track your symptoms. The reason this is different than other elimination diets is that your green or “safe” foods have been tested as safe- you have some actual evidence that the foods you’re eating won’t cause a reaction. You only eat a small list of foods at first so you can be sure that you aren’t consuming something untested that you might react to.
So, for my friends and family who are reading this because they want to understand what I can eat, here’s a little more detail into the foods I need to avoid.
- Most processed foods include corn, potato, quinoa, almond, dairy, food dyes or other problem foods, so I’ll be avoiding those.
- Fructose– Fructose is fruit sugar, so many fruits and honey are out for me. I’ll be trying to keep to under 15g of fructose a day.
- Polysorbate 80– an emulsifier and stabilizer, found in processed foods and personal care items. Just have to check labels to avoid this one.
- Salicylic Acid– SA is found in lots of skin care items and medicines, but I had no idea that it occurs naturally in so many foods. I’ll be avoiding many fruits, mint, spices, tomatoes, and more. There isn’t a ton of research out there about this, so I have a lot of conflicting information and I’ll have to be careful to watch my personal reactions.
- Sodium Sulfite– Sulfites are preservatives. They show up in wine, condiments, dried fruit, non-organic grapes, etc. These are always labeled, thankfully.
- Tyramine– Along with fructose, this is a major problem area. Tyramine is a naturally occurring compound that commonly causes headaches and other symptoms like fatigue. It’s found in aged, spoiled and fermented foods. This even includes leftovers! Tyramine is found in beer, wines, vinegars, aged cheese, smoked meats, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, dried fruit and overripe bananas and avocados. I will have to be very careful about my food preparations.
It’s a lot.
It’s really a lot, I know. (And I haven’t even posted all the details!)
I don’t think these are typical results, or that most people would have this many overlapping sensitivities. But it gives me such hope that healing could be possible!
I will be writing about my journey again so that I can remember things clearly (in case the saga continues). If you have any questions about the MRT, please comment or send me an email!