Thursday, May 8, 2014

mediator release testing and LEAP

i don't think its been a secret that i've had a lot of food/stomach/gastro issues throughout my entire life. my gut is a constant source of challenges for me, whether its trying to figure out what i can/can't eat or trying to manage race morning anxiety. a few weeks ago, i got a nasty stomach bug that took me out for five days. after a diet of gatorade and pedialyte, i was fed up with constantly feeling crappy and having episodes like this happen more often than they should.

i tried a low fodmap elimination diet once, but it was ineffective. i tried to eliminate too many things at once and i had no idea what was making me feel bad and what wasn't.

so i finally caved and contacted a nutrition consultant. after a consultation monday afternoon, i've decided to make the investment in working with her so that i may find some answers as to what it is that makes me feel so crappy all the time.

the process will be two steps: diagnostic (figure out what foods cause inflammation in my body) and restorative (going on a 10 week immuno calming diet to restore and heal my GI system). 

the first step is called mediator release testing. i will have four vials of blood drawn, and that blood will be separated into 150 different samples. each of those samples will be exposed to either a food or food chemical, and my blood will be monitored for the amount of chemical reaction that takes place. the more chemical reaction, the greater likelihood that the food or food chemical is causing inflammation in my body. once all of the 150 different foods/food chemicals are tested, i will get a grid that is color coded in green, yellow or red. foods that show up in the yellow or red bucket are no good - meaning they cause an inflammatory reaction in my body. foods that show up in the green bucket are good - meaning no harmful effects. i've seen similar versions of this test called ALCAT, but the one my nutritionist uses is the MRT, so thats what we're going with!

food and food chemicals tested in MRT

the second step is a LEAP immuno calm diet. LEAP is an anti-inflammatory eating plan and it has been explained to me as a 10 week diet plan that is meant to calm and heal your immune/GI system. the first two weeks, you eat only the foods that show up in the "green" list. then, every two weeks, with the supervision of your nutritionist, you slowly add in foods within the yellow category. i don't know a ton about the LEAP diet yet, but i'm assuming i'll have a full on plan once i get my results from the MRT back. 

the only concern i had, while the diet was being explained to me, was whether or not i'd still be able to fuel enough for my running goals. my nutritionist said that she's working with a marathoner now, and that he has been able to complete all of his training, so we should be able to figure out a way to continue to fuel my training program. 10 weeks will at least be in the beginning of my training program, so at the very least, i will still have "cushion" time before my goal race to figure all this nutrition stuff out. 

my testing kit

so! once i find a lab that will draw blood for outside analysis, i'll be on my way to finding out what food and food chemicals cause inflammatory reactions in my body. pretty neat stuff, and i'm really hoping this will be conclusive information that will help me feel better for the long term. stay tuned!

has anyone out there done MRT or LEAP or anything similar?


  1. Wow, I had never heard of this! I hope this works for you and offers you a solution to what's going on.

    1. It's crazy how many diagnostic tests and funky diets are out there. Will be quite the journey, that is for sure. I'm hoping it will give me answers and provide symptom relief, too!

  2. I've never heard of this, but I hope you get some answers!

    1. Thanks, Karen. There are a lot of other similar type tests out there, but this is the one my nutritionist uses. Not sure there is a standard yet, but who knows what might happen in a couple years!

  3. I have never heard of this either! But you know, I feel like my GI "issues," I assumed was "normal" my whole life. But following your journey I believe I have similar experiences. I'm VERY curious to learn your results, and the anti-inflammatory diet that may (hopefully!) help. I have MS, so I'm already on an anti-inflammatory diet, and I suppose it has helped SOME... Good luck!

    1. I always assumed this was normal, too! Not fun, but normal. Is your anti-inflammatory diet LEAP or something similar? Curious to hear what your diet entails and see if its similar.


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