I truly believe that food is medicine.  Nowhere is that more evident than with LEAP sensitivity testing.  I have had many questions lately about what LEAP is.  I hope to explain what it is, where it is implicated and how it works.

The Lifestyle Eating and Performance (LEAP) program is a diet for those suffering from delayed food and food chemical sensitivities.  These sensitivities can result in an immune system reaction with the release of mediators which cause pain and inflammation in the body. The immune system has a first line of defense in which it identifies “self” and “non-self.” This is beneficial for protecting us from unwanted bacteria and viruses. However, if the immune system decides that a food or chemical is dangerous and should be destroyed, the result is the release of mediators, which cause inflammation and pain. This is how food and chemical sensitivities develop.

Click here to see a diagram of how food sensitivities cause symptoms

Click here for information on mediators that cause symptoms

Many chronic conditions can be made worse by food sensitivities.  In particular, individuals suffering from autoimmune diseases (Type 1 Diabetes, Addison’s disease, Lupus, Asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac Disease, Hashimoto’s Disease, MS, etc.) may find relief from their symptoms.   But many chronic conditions can be made worse by food sensitivities.  Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Irritable Bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and heartburn
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue or general malaise
  • Restlessness, irritability, depression, anxiety and mood swings
  • Muscle or joint pain, aching or stiffness
  • Chronic Sinusitis or sinus pain, runny nose, stuffy nose, post nasal drip
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • ADHD
  • Eczema, Dermatitis, Psoriasis and other skin rashes
  • Obesity and weight imbalances
  • Thyroid disorders
  • PCOS and related infertility issues

Click here to see indications for LEAP testing

Patients would benefit from avoiding their reactive foods.  However, finding these foods on their own can be confusing and overwhelming.  Often food sensitivities are delayed; meaning symptoms may occur up to 3-4 days after eating the food.  To compound the issue, food triggers and their symptoms are different for everyone.

The Mediator Release Test (MRT) allows Registered Dietitians who are Certified Leap Therapists (CLT), such as myself, to find those trigger foods.  MRT is a functional live cell analysis that identifies foods and chemicals which provoke the release of mediators that cause pain and inflammation.   A blinded peer reviewed scientific study showed MRT to have the highest level of accuracy of any food sensitivity blood test:  94.5% sensitivity and 91.8% specificity.  The MRT test takes your blood and checks your immune system response (or non-response) to 150 foods and chemicals. The results of the MRT test measures the degree of inflammation therefore classifying foods as reactive or non reactive.

Click here to see an animation of the MRT test

The results of the blood test are used to create an individualized healthy eating plan (the LEAP or ImmunoCalm Diet) for significantly reducing or eliminating symptoms.  The specially trained Registered Dietitian then works with you (that’s me!!!), teaching you how to eat using the LEAP protocol, and sleuthing out any potential allergies or intolerances that may also be present.  The ImmunoCalm Diet is a 5 phase diet that takes 4-6 weeks to complete.  It is built around a patient’s non-reactive foods; or those foods we know will not make them sick.  During this time, the immune system is going through important changes which allows the body to free itself of inflammation.  Phase 6 begins the rotation diet and when untested foods are challenged to determine tolerance.

After blood draw, the patient will receive results within 10 days.   Most patients see a noticeable difference within 1-2 weeks on the ImmunoCalm Diet.  This will depend on how closely the diet is followed, how longstanding their illness is and the degree to which food sensitivities play a role in their condition.

Click here to see a sample LEAP report

The LEAP program has helped thousands find relief from their symptoms.  It is unrivaled in its ability to find trigger foods and construct an individualized meal plan to help patients see results in a short period of time.  I have been so blessed and honored to help my patients feel relief of their symptoms and get their life back.  If you have questions or are interested in more information, please contact me – emily@emilyfonnesbeck.com.  I do LEAP testing and counseling for local and long distance patients via telephone and email.

Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD, CLT

Pricing: I do not bill insurance.  However, once I am paid for consults (price of test excluded), I can provide an invoice with billing information for you to submit to your insurance for possible remibursement.  Some insurances will pay up to 80%.

You can pay for the test + consult separately or package pricing for $850, which includes your test, test kit and all consults over 3 months.  Following is the typical schedule:

Consult 1:  Health history and instructions for blood draw

Consult 2:  Test results and phase 1 diet instruction/meal plan (about a week or so after blood draw)

Consult 3:  Phase 1 follow up and phases 2-5 instruction (about 10 days after starting phase 1)

Consult 4:  Phone/email – check progress and discuss possible supplementation (about 10 days after consult 3)

Consult 5:  Phase 6 instruction – challenging untested foods (about 2-3 weeks after consult 4)

Consult 6:  3 month follow up – challenging reactive foods (about 6 weeks after consult 5)

Below is a list of tested foods and food chemicals.