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Diagnosing Food Reactivities with the "Pulse Test"

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by slayadragon, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

    People with ME/CFS often have a difficult time figuring out what foods they are reacting to.

    I have had some success using a particular method, called "The Pulse Test." I'm interested in whether it might be helpful for other people as well.

    The method is summarized in a short book, which unfortunately is currently out of stock at Amazon. However, I think I can describe it quickly. Some descriptions written by others are below.


    The method goes by the principle that when problematic foods are consumed, the body will attempt to compensate by increasing its heart rate. Thus by monitoring the heart rate, foods can be evaluated.

    The key here is to get the system calmed down to the point where the pulse goes down to a reasonable level. With regard to foods, this may involve a fairly strict elimination diet for a few days.

    Once the system is calmed down so that the pulse is at a fairly low level, then a large serving of the suspect food is consumed by itself. The pulse is taken before eating the food, 30 minutes after eating it, 60 minutes after eating it, and 90 minutes after eating it.

    If the pulse jumps, this suggests that the food is a problem (or at least, that the body believes it to be a problem!). For instance, at one point I was testing lemons (squeezed in water). My pulse rate was stable at about 70 until I drank the lemon water. At 30 and 60 minutes after that, my pulse jumped to 110. Then it went back down and stayed down. After repeating the experiment with lemons a few times, I concluded that lemons were a problem for me and eliminated them from my diet.

    One problem here is that some people have constantly elevated pulse no matter what they eat. This could be from reactivities to other environmental stimuli (such as to a moldy home), or to other factors. If that's the case, it might be difficult to do the test properly.

    Another problem is that in CFS, pulse rates can vary unexpectedly. As with anyone, things like exertion or stress can cause pulse rates to go up, so those should be avoided during the test. With CFS though, there seems to be even more variability, perhaps in some cases due to reactivities to hidden environmental triggers (such as fluctuations in outdoor air quality or contamination in drinking water), but conceivably for no reason other than inherent system instability.

    Also, many CFS patients have a difficult time taking their own pulse. I found a blood pressure cuff (which also measures pulse rate) to be really helpful for that.

    Despite these problems, I think it would be interesting to know if this test worked for people. Considering how inaccurate most laboratory tests of food reactions are and how cumbersome elimination diet experiments are, it might be really helpful if it did work.

    If anyone gives this a try, please report your experiences!

    Best, Lisa





    SickOfSickness and Waverunner like this.
  2. antares4141

    antares4141 Senior Member

    Truth or consequences, nm
    I'm usually a pretty skeptical person but I believe there is a correlation with me anyways. I have an "omron hem-712c" payed like 40 bucks for it at amazon great investment does heart rate and bp and stores 30 readings in memory. I don't try to correlate an hour before or an hour after eating something but what I do is I keep a photo log, (I take pictures of the readings I take and rename the files to the specific time and date I took them.) I include my thumb in the photo and point it up or down to indicate my general condition. 3/4 the way up would be feeling fairly well but not at my best, 3/4 the way down not at my worst but feeling pretty crappy etc. what I am trying to do is see if there is a pattern that correlates to the way I feel. Generally my heart rate is high when I'm feeling bad 80-100, and bp is low 100 over 60. I've had it as low as 80 over 60 and I was feeling extreme vertigo that lasted all day or even a couple of days on some occations, not the type when you get up quickly that is fleeting and caused by a sudden lack of blood in your head.
    SickOfSickness likes this.
  3. chilove

    chilove Senior Member

    You are on to something. I often feel my pulse increase after eating a food my body isn't currently liking and sometimes my heart actually starts pounding pretty hard after eating something...
  4. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

    I have that experience too chilove. If i eat a lot of wheat and sugar toether my heart pounds when im in bed and i cant sleep.

    I tried the pulse test with wheat a number of years ago - a nutritionist advised it. my pulse increased with all gluten - this was backed up by a skin prick test i had done as a child at an allergy clinic in london. However despite cutting out gluten entirely for a couple of years i noticed no difference in any symptoms. I have gone back to eating moderate amounts and if i dont overdo it it has no noticeable affect on me
  5. determined

    determined Senior Member

    USA: Deep South
    Wow! This brings back ancient memories....Way back, in the beginning of my illness, I found a book about MS and how foods that you eat could affect the progression of symptoms.

    The author suggested this pulse test. This was the start of my awareness that foods were making my symptoms worse.

    I don't have have MS, but the book was very valuable for me.. it came out in the early 1980s.
  6. antares4141

    antares4141 Senior Member

    Truth or consequences, nm
    Not saying your assessment isn't right but possibly if you have a mold problem that could be masking your gluten sensitivity.

    Another thing to consider is the sensitivity might not be confined just to gluten. When I discovered the food connection that I was in denial about for years I read about celiac disease and because that is well documented and accepted by main stream I decided I didn't have a whole lot to lose be avoiding gluten for a while. First 3 days were dramatic but for about a year I'd been chasing those results and couldn't seem to duplicate them again.

    Quite by accident I found eating fried potatoes and meat "only" no fruit no vegtibles, no nuts just potatoes yield very noticeable improvement in my condition. So it's possible that some other food was masking positive results you might have otherwise benefited from being off of gluten. I'm drinking orange juice and soda and grapefruit juice just cause I can't stand drinking water and I get cravings out the ying yang if I don't. Not sure if it's dragging me down some or not, it's unfortunally going to take me a long time and a lot of hard knocks to figure out what else I can tolorate but at least with this diet I have a base line to go from. If it doesn't kill me from coronary heart disease first.
    Robert Christ

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