Food intolerance develops when foods, which are poorly digested, arrive into the intestines. Such undigested foods interact badly with the vast colonies of good bacteria which normally reside there. If this situation continues, these undigested foods will feed and encourage the proliferation of the bacteria to a level where they become pathogenic, leading to a toxic state within the intestines.
Food intolerance can occur at any stage in a person’s life, and it may often be found that other members within the same family have a similar trait.
Common food substances which are found to be the cause of intolerances:
Wheat (gluten, gliadin protein intolerance)
Common symptoms: Abdominal bloatedness and pains, flatulence, hyperacidity, obesity.
Milk and dairy (lactose intolerance)
Common symptoms: Abdominal pains, irritable bowel, sinusitis, rhinitis, chronic throat infections, obesity.
Common symptoms: Eczema, abdominal bloatedness and pain, flatulence, burping, hyperacidity.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
If we continue to eat foods which we are intolerant to, the toxic mix created within the intestines will irritate, and cause damage to, the gut wall making it more permeable. The remnants of these undigested foods, and the gut toxins, will start to seep into the bloodstream.
The immune system responds to the undigested foods which are creating toxins by producing armies of defence antibodies. These antibodies are designed to destroy the problematic foods. However, if a person continues to eat these problematic foods, the immune system will continue to flood the system with these powerful defence antibodies. Pain and inflammation is the end result of this response.
The ultimate problem for people suffering with food intolerance is that their digestive system becomes weak and their immune system antibody response too extreme. The way to assist this weakened digestive system and to calm the over-responsive immune system is to avoid these problem foods.
What is the difference between Allergy and Intolerance?
The reaction to foods rarely occurs immediately after the food is taken but several hours, or days, later. Reactions are triggered by a specific antibody – IgG. It can develop at any stage, and is difficult to detect without the help of laboratory testing, as symptoms are not extreme.
The reaction to food occurs almost immediately, usually within one hour. The reaction is often very obvious, and often quite extreme. Such food allergies are again triggered by the IgG antibody. These foods must be avoided for life – e.g. peanuts, shellfish.
How to test for Intolerance
A simple finger prick blood test can test for food intolerances. Laboratory testing from Cambridge Nutritional Sciences takes 2 weeks.
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