What are food intolerances?
There is a lot of confusion about the terms food intolerance and food allergy, and the differences between them. Many people think they have a food allergy when their symptoms can sometimes indicate food intolerance instead. Up to 45% of the population suffer from food intolerance* which, whilst not life threatening, can have a negative impact on many aspects of daily life.
When foods and drinks are digested the proteins within them are broken down into smaller fragments for easy absorption into the body. Larger fragments can pass through without breaking down, and sometimes the body reacts to them as invaders, attacking them using antibodies called Immunoglobulin (IgG). This can cause inflammation and a wide range of symptoms including headaches, digestive problems, IBS, bloating, itchy skin, joint pain, weight gain and low mood to name a few.
*According to the leading medical charity Allergy UK
A food intolerance is an adverse reaction to a food that does not involve the immune system. Reactions can be immediate or delayed up to 20 hours after a food is eaten.
Symptoms of intolerance are sometimes vague and can include a combination of the following: gastrointestinal problems such as bloating and wind, diarrhoea, nausea and indigestion, aggravation of eczema or asthma. Food intolerances can sometimes mimic symptoms of other medical conditions - it is important to get tested to eliminate other problems first.
A food allergy is an exaggerated immune system response to a food protein and the body triggers an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. In some cases, it can cause potentially life-threatening symptoms, called anaphylaxis, either by breathing difficulties and/or a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Sometimes food allergy may be less obvious and can be characterised by infantile colic, reflux of stomach contents, eczema, chronic diarrhoea, and failure to thrive. Recent studies have found that up to 40-50 per cent of eczema cases in young children are triggered by food allergy.
Eight foods cause 90 per cent of allergies: milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shell fish, wheat and soy. However, any food can cause an allergic reaction.
How do the food intolerance tests work?
First of all a few drops of blood are taken using our simple finger prick blood collection wick system.
Because the finger prick system is so easy to use, the sample can be taken anywhere – at your home,
my clinic, at the gym etc.
The sample is then posted back to the laboratory, tested and analysed for IgG antibody reactions to more than 150 food and drink ingredients.
Clear colour coded test results are delivered back to you that explain your food and drink intolerances. We can then discuss in detail recommended dietary and nutritional changes - a fast track to an elimination diet that optimises health and wellbeing.
The price of the test includes a 30 minute consultation in my office or via skype/phone