Understanding Food Intolerances

Understanding Food Intolerances

Several factors can be the cause of a food intolerance: chemical sensitivities (tartrazine E102), caffeine, sunset yellow- E110) or enzyme deficiencies (lactase enzyme deficiency for instance). Research has also found that food intolerances are linked to IgG antibodies produced by our immune system in response to certain foods. The IgG antibodies recognise and bind to specific food proteins and form immune complexes in the body which may accumulate in certain areas and trigger inflammation (in the joints, respiratory tract, skin).

Even though it may not be life threatening, food intolerances can manifest in an array of unpleasant symptoms which are often left unexplained, affecting your quality of life. The severity/frequency of the symptoms resulting in a food intolerance can depend on how long they have been present for, or could be made worst with a leaky gut (‘leaky gut’ occurs when gaps between the usual tight junctions in the gut form, and there is a loss of control of what passes through the lining of the small intestine, letting those substances to leak into the bloodstream). Conventional therapies or even certain supplements can help the symptoms but may not always prevent the onset.

The onset of the symptoms are delayed and often intermittent and may last for several days or even weeks. Thus making it harder to pin point which particular food or categories of food cause the intolerance.

Common symptoms that may occur singly or in combination may be the cause of food intolerances

  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches or migraine
  • Constipation
  • Skin problems (rashes, acne etc)
  • Weight issues and water retention
  • Anxiety (acute or chronic)
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Arthritis
  • Attention deficit disorder

As a side note:

Coeliac Disease is not a simple food intolerance but an auto-immune disorder caused by permanent intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a protein that can be found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Whilst about 45 % of the population suffer from food intolerances, only 2 % of us suffer from allergies. An allergy is an IgE mediated reaction which is a ‘defence mechanism’, when the body ‘s immune system believes that it is being threatened by something harmful and therefore produces an inappropriate response. The severity of the reaction can range from mild to severe, and occur immediately. Common allergens include :peanuts, eggs, sesame, shellfish, latex etc.

The NHS recommends the use of elimination diets, whereby you eliminate several categories of food at once, and slowly re-introduce them back into your diet whilst logging the food and the symptoms they cause or not. The process can be lengthy, frustrating and sadly not provide you with wonderful nutrients you ought to have on a regular basis

Food Intolerance tests can bring you a step ahead of your journey. Using finger prick tests, the blood sample can be sent to the lab and detailed results obtained 7 -10 days. The choice of the number of food (s) you would like to get tested for can range from 40 to 200 and the price varies accordingly. Simple tests using an accurate method can also be done in practice covering up to 59 foods and provide you a very good guide for us to tailor a plan according to your needs

Get in touch and together we can clear your uncertainties, support your diet and lifestyle with the right choices and supplements if required.

Food intolerance and weight gain

Research has also shown a correlation with the formation of IgG immune complexes to form inflammatory substances, called cytokines. Part of the cytokines family, is TNF-alpha , a molecule which has an important role in regulating both sugar and fat metabolism. It also can affect the hormone, leptin which in turn can cause the loss of hunger control, leading to the consumption of excessive portions of food. Unfortunately, to complicate things, TNF-alpha also blocks insulin receptors, promoting insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes. With this correlation in mind, it makes sense to support the diet with an elimination of foods causing an intolerance and provide alternatives to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Overall reducing the cytokines produced and inflammation caused.