by Elizabeth Harfleet, Nutritionist
Excerpted from the ebook 'IBS Secrets Most Doctors Won't Know' (2006)
Food Intolerance is the name used to describe an adverse reaction to some of the foods we regularly eat. Around 45% of the population suffer from food intolerance and it is frequently identified in people who have IBS.
Is food allergy the same thing?
The term Food Allergy is perhaps more familiar than Food Intolerance.
Being strictly scientific about this, an allergy is an acute immune response to a particular substance, such as certain foods or drinks, dust, animal fur or pollen. Symptoms may include rashes; skin irritation; or sometimes a more serious, potentially life‐threatening, reaction requiring urgent medical attention.
A classical allergy involves a reaction by the IgE (immunoglobulin E) antibody. With these severe reactions, the culprits are normally quickly and easily identified and the allergen must then be strictly avoided.
Food Intolerance is restricted to food, not inedible substances. It is also an immune response, involving the IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibody, but the symptoms, though frequently unpleasant, may take longer to manifest following contact with the reactive food. Reaction times may range from between 12 and 72 hours, making identification quite difficult. Food intolerance can cause new symptoms as well as potentially exacerbating existing health disorders.
What are the symptoms of food intolerance?
Symptoms can vary from person to person but can include stomach cramps, bloating, lethargy, nausea, weight problems, migraine, eczema, arthritis, sinusitis, rhinitis, asthma and IBS.
In the specific case of IBS, the digestive tract is potentially and unwittingly being irritated by certain foods on a daily basis, such as a person with wheat and dairy intolerances who conscientiously eats a wholegrain cereal with milk each day to increase his or her fibre intake.
Could a food intolerance test help my IBS?
Being able to successfully identify your own problem foods can be a highly significant step in helping to manage and improve IBS symptoms, in addition to benefiting general health and wellbeing.
What is the best method of food intolerance testing?
There are various commercially available methods of testing for food intolerance. Some base their findings on the clients energy response when exposed to food substances.
Kinesiology offers another approach in which muscle strength is monitored during exposure to possible problem foods.
Yet another alternative is to follow an exclusion diet over the course of a few weeks or months to see if any changes take place as certain foods are removed from the diet.
The most reliable, scientific and clinically proven test for identifying food intolerances uses a pinprick sample of blood which is screened for IgG antibody reactions to foods under laboratory conditions. When these foods are avoided, the immune response becomes more stable and symptoms can improve.
Responses to a wide range of everyday foods and beverages can be identified with just one small blood sample. This is the chosen food intolerance testing method of many leading nutritional practitioners and medical doctors worldwide.
How and where can I purchase a food intolerance test?
An easy to use home testing kit can be purchased online by visiting www.wellbeing-nutrition.com or calling 0161 740 5917 (UK number).