Food Intolerance Testing Now Available
Do you feel unwell without knowing why, or have a lot of vague symptoms? If so, there is a good chance that food intolerances may be to blame.
Intolerances can affect almost any part of your body, and some of the symptoms associated with them are:
- Abdominal pain
- Bed wetting
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Ear infections
- Gas or wind
- Inability to concentrate or think clearly
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Irritability or nervousness
- Muscle or joint pains
- Poor digestion
- Water retention
So if you often feel fatigued, irritable, achy or depressed, it may be due to something in your diet. Sometimes the connection is obvious, for instance if you get a migraine after eating oranges. But often the connection is more subtle, and your symptoms may not develop for several days. By that time it can be very difficult to know what to attribute them to.
Your body can react badly to any food, even healthy ones such as apples or pears.
However, a survey carried out by a food intolerance website, Foodintol, found that the most common food intolerances are dairy (59% of people), gluten (58%), wheat (48%), additives (27%), fructose (21%) and yeast (19%).
Food Intolerances and Food Allergies
These are quite different reactions. A classical food allergy (such as peanut or shellfish allergy) is usually characterised by an immediate and often severe reaction of the immune system to a specific food. The symptoms can include sneezing, rashes, skin irritation, swelling, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea and vomiting. Normally the symptoms occur within a few minutes of eating or coming in contact with the offending food, although they can be delayed by up to two hours. So unlike food intolerances, it is normally obvious which are the problem foods.
Food allergies are quite rare, with only about 2.5% of the population being diagnosed with the condition. The most common food allergies are to peanuts, tree nuts (almonds and Brazil nuts), eggs, milk, fish and shellfish. Allergic reactions to food can vary considerably in their severity, and some can even be fatal.
Causes of Food Intolerances
The 3 main causes are:
- Enzyme Deficiencies: Such as lactase deficiency, which causes lactose intolerance
- Chemical Sensitivities: Such as to MSG or sulphites
- Immune Responses: The production of IgG antibodies to the offending foods.
The third cause is usually the result of ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’. Under normal circumstances, the epithelial cells that line your small intestine are joined tightly to each other. This makes the lining of your intestine nearly leak proof, and only fully digested food molecules are allowed to pass through. If there are strong stresses on these delicate structures, these tight junctions may start to separate, creating gaps between the cells. These gaps make your gut ‘leaky’, and then large, undigested food molecules can pass through into the body, where they are collected by the bloodstream and lymph vessels of your intestine.
When your immune system spots these large molecules, it decides that they are too big to be digested food, and must be a foreign invader into the body, such as a virus or bacteria, so it attacks them. Your immune system attacking these food molecules in your blood is what causes the broad range of symptoms.
- Enzyme Deficiencies: This condition can be treated by taking the correct digestive enzymes
- Chemical Sensitivities: A thorough detox will usually help this problem considerably
- Immune Responses.
The immune responses need to be addressed in 4 ways.
a) Identify the foods that the body is reacting to, and remove them from their diet
b) Reduce irritants to the digestive tract, such as alcohol and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. aspirin), as much as possible
c) Optimising the person’s digestion, using supplements that help heal and repair the lining of the small intestine
d) Following correct dietary recommendations on what to eat and how to eat (such as not skipping meals, eating little and often, and reducing refined foods).
The Foodintol survey also found that, while a person’s physical symptoms usually improved once the food intolerances were identified and those foods were removed from their diet, they also experienced emotional and psychological benefits. 70% of people reported they had more energy, 50% said they had a ‘brighter mood’, 40% had better concentration, and 37% felt less stressed.
Food Intolerance Testing
Identifying the foods that the body reacts to and taking them out of the diet is a crucial step- without doing this, good results are very unlikely.
We are pleased to announce that our clinic now has the equipment to perform in-house Food Intolerance Testing. After pricking a finger, a blood test is performed to determine the level of anti-bodies in your body to 59 of the most common foods reacted to. The test also tells us if your reaction to the food is mild, moderate or severe. A brochure on food intolerances and the test for them is available at the clinic.
If you feel flat or unwell all the time, or if you have a number of symptoms with no obvious cause that won’t go away, consider having Food Intolerance Testing at our clinic. We offer treatments for allergies and food intolerances as well. If you would like to find out if Food Intolerance Testing would benefit you, please contact the clinic and book in for a free Health Assessment. (Normally a Health Assessment costs $120, but they are on special for the moment.)