Food intolerances- are they impacting your health?

by | Dec 11, 2013 | Digestive Health, Health | 0 comments

Food intolerances are prevalent in today’s society. Everyone knows someone with a gluten, wheat or dairy intolerance. I frequently test for food intolerances in my patients, particularly if they suffer from IBS or other digestive issues, recurrent infections or poor immunity, hayfever, sinus, allergies, headaches, poor skin, eczema or asthma. This is because time and time again, food intolerances play such a huge role in people’s health and symptoms- I have never had a patient whose symptoms do not improve once they take away the troublesome foods. One of the main reasons that food intolerances are so common now is due to the ‘Standard Australian Diet’ (SAD) being so far from what we are designed to eat. Our food is heavily processed and often genetically modified. Western meals are often based on foods such dairy products and wheat and these foods are often added into processed foods without us realizing. Our environment is populated by substances that may upset our digestive health- toxins, chemicals, preservatives, unfiltered water and antibiotic use are just some of the things that can weaken our digestive tract. All of these issues combined are just too much for our digestive system to cope with, and food intolerances develop. The more an intolerant foods is consumed, the weaker our digestive system and health declines and symptoms become more prevalent. It’s not until food intolerances are identified and avoided for a period of time that the burden is removed and we are finally able to feel better.

What is a Food Intolerance?

Food intolerances are very different to a food allergy. With an allergy, symptoms are usually immediate and severe in nature- think of nut and seafood allergies.

A food intolerance is quiet different. It is a different part of the immune system that responds. A reaction can occur within hours or up to 3 days following consumption of the food, making it very hard to link your symptoms to a specific food. Who would blame the pasta they had 2 days ago for their gas and bloating?

When something in a food irritates a person’s digestive system or when a person is unable to properly breakdown the food, we see resulting inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract. It will place extra strain on the immune system- this is because 70% of the immune system lies in the digestive tract. If digestive health is poor, immune health will also be poor and this will affect a multitude of body systems.

What Are the Symptoms of Food Intolerance?

Symptoms can be many and varied. Most common are digestive reactions- nausea, bloating, pain, gas, heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation. Ever wondered what the broad diagnosis of ‘IBS’ might actually be? Other common symptoms include headaches or migraines, skin problems (acne, eczema, psoriasis). Immune problems such as frequent infection, sinusitis, asthma or hayfever are common. One of the biggest is fatigue, mood changes and poor sleep. I often check for food intolerances in patients having difficulty losing weight– it makes a big difference.

Food intolerance testing

Having any of the symptoms above is enough to lead you to suspect a food intolerance. I recommend food intolerance testing as the fastest and most accurate way to diagnose food intolerances. Your other option would be do undertake a grand elimination diet in which you follow a very restricted diet for a period of 4 weeks, then slowly re-introduce suspect foods, looking out for symptoms. To do this properly can take months- this is why the blood test is the best way to go!

So, if you are worried that food intolerances may be affecting your health, the best thing to do is to test this and find out. The testing is done via a blood sample to detect food based antibodies. Its scientific and the clearest way to get detailed information about what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

Please contact me if you would like more information on detecting food intolerances [email protected]

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