Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is LEAP MRT?

7 Letters that Opened Pandora's Box

LEAP MRT.  Lifestyle Eating and Performance, or the LEAP method, is a diet therapy that uses results from the patented Mediator-Release Test to create an elimination diet as the basis for healing the gut and improving systemic inflammation.  [Yeah, quite a mouthful]  I became engaged with LEAP a little over a year ago when my curiosity was piqued by reading about it.  I am a big believer in the role of inflammation in chronic disease and so I underwent the training and certification program and learned a lot about diet, food hypersensitivity, immunology and inflammation, and the immunocalm diet plan.

How LEAP MRT Helps

We know that inflammation plays a big role in driving chronic disease.  What we understood less is the role food sensitivity plays in that process of inflammation.  LEAP MRT helps to clarify that picture.

When food is ingested that we are reactive or hypersensitive to, it creates a low baseline level of systemic inflammation by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream called mediators (for my science oriented readers think cytokines, TNF, histamine, interleukens, etc).  Those inflammatory markers are released into the bloodstream and can then create a myriad of problems.  From irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, or migraines, to things such as eczema, chronic sinusitis, esophagitis and chronic reflux, LEAP has been shown to help identify those food triggers and improve the health and vitality of the inidividual through elimination of the reactive foods.

The most difficult aspect of food hypersensitivity is the fact that they are very difficult to isolate and identify on their own.  That is because the reaction relating to food hypersensitivity is often delayed (up to 96 hours), dose-dependent, and how that reaction manifests in symptom can change.  Talk about a puzzle!

The Mediator Release Test

This tool has opened up the world of immunology and food reactivity, particularly for RDs who understand and see first-hand the benefit of a properly utilized elimination diet in terms of symptom relief.  Blood samples are taken and exposed to 150 food and chemicals to determine if there is a reaction to said item.  The MRT machine then uses volume displacement from the mediators to determine reactivity level.    

Image courtesy of - please click and check out their beautiful explanation of LEAP MRT

If you are having a lot of trouble with some of the conditions or symptoms mentioned above, consider talking to a Certified LEAP Therapist.  If you are an RD with an interest in IBS and functional gut disorders, you must invest the time to learn about the science behind this test!  I would be happy to relay info and my personal experience -- for example, having clients literally get off of 3 migraine medications over foods that were in their diet.  It's a very rewarding aspect of the counseling I do and I see the conversation growing in all of the Dietetic Practice Groups I am a part of. 

Food Families

What is a Food Family and how is it used?

This year I've been studying up on allergies, immunology, irritable bowel, immune modulated food reactions, and mediator release through the LEAP program (and honestly, on UpToDate as well!).  [[Much more to come on LEAP!]]  Food families are part of this study process and I just thought I'd share a few small items with you.

Food Families are a grouping of foods that are similarly digested and reacted to by the immune system within the body.  Understanding food families can help RDs to build menus with greater variety for people with multiple food intolerances, and also help to determine what foods they might also be reactive to.

Some interesting combos:

Cashew, pistachio, mango - I've certainly come accross clients that have an intolerance to tree nuts and mangos, an interesting combination in my opinion.

Onions, garlic, chives, leeks, shallots, green onion, asparagus, aloe vera - I don't think I've ever come across someone with any of these intolerances, but I found it interesting because who would have placed aloe vera and asparagus with an onion?  Sometimes food and digestion isn't intuitive...

Coconut, date, hearts of palm - Again, nothing intuitive about this food family.

Almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, plum, prune - Another common combination as almonds come from the core of peaches.  Ever wondered why you react to cherries, plums, and almonds?  The fact that they're in the same food family is the reason!


No health tips coming out of this post, just wanted to open your eyes to an interesting component of the RD world.  I find that the more I learn about intolerances and the relationships of food and digestion and conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), the more I love it!