What is a food intolerance?
From bloating and IBS to migraines and joint pain, food intolerance causes misery and uncomfortable symptoms for thousands of people. But what is a food intolerance and why is it estimated to affect nearly half the UK population?
Food intolerance can occur when your body has difficulty digesting certain foods. When this occurs over time, large food particles (proteins) may enter the blood stream.
A reaction manifests when these partly-undigested food particles enter the bloodstream and are treated as foreign substances – antibodies ‘attack’ the food in question and generate an inflammatory response. The body produces food-specific IgG antibodies as a defence against certain ingredients that may not agree with you.
Over time, food intolerances may build up and persist in the system. Just like if you stopped brushing your teeth, you would expect to see a build-up of plaque, bad breath and discolouration which may lead to problems, such as tooth decay. Food intolerances can build up in the same way if the root cause hasn’t been rectified.
Food intolerance vs food allergy
Many people confuse an intolerance with an allergy, but the two are very different. Potentially life-threatening and quite rare, the immune response that causes an allergic reaction (IgE) happens soon after consuming specific foods, such as peanuts or shellfish and it affects around 2% of the adult population.
A food intolerance, on the other hand, can provoke an IgG reaction and is estimated to affect around 45% of the UK population*. The body’s abnormal reaction to certain foods can cause gastrointestinal upsets such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, diarrhoea, as well as migraines, fatigue and joint pain. Although not life-threatening, the uncomfortable symptoms can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life.
The rise in food intolerances
People may often wonder whether it’s simply our awareness into food intolerances which is increasing, or whether food intolerances are actually on the rise.
There are a number of likely reasons why there is an increase in food intolerances, some examples are:
- Farming practices
- Environmental pollution
- Processed foods
- Food additives
- Antibiotic and painkiller usage
- Stress levels
What can be done about it?
Many people who suffer from food intolerance symptoms might be given the all-clear by their doctor yet strongly suspect that food is the roost cause of their problems. If you know someone who is experiencing some unexplained symptoms – such as feeling unusually tired more often, bloating regularly, or suffering from migraines without any known cause – perhaps it could be worthwhile taking a closer look at their diet.
Here at Lorisian, the business to business brand of YorkTest, we believe there are a number of options that individuals can choose when they suspect that they may be reacting to a food or foods that they are eating. These are:
- Do nothing
Of course, ignorance is sometimes bliss, but when it comes to health, it’s always better to seek help. If a food intolerance is the symptom cause, it will persist or may even develop in the body over time if neglected.
- Choose to remove foods from their diet by second guessing
It can be second nature to attempt to guess which foods are contributing to certain symptoms. Bread, for example, might be assumed to be the culprit – however, there’s a variety of potential trigger ingredients, such as wheat, gluten and even yeast. As a result, foods might be cut from the diet unnecessarily.
- Seek support from a dietician or nutritional therapist and try an elimination diet and challenge method
This method strips diet back to basics by eliminating large food groups for a period of time then slowly reintroduce specific foods and monitor symptoms accordingly. Unfortunately, this method can be laborious, and it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which combination of ingredients provoke reactions.
- Take a food intolerance test to identify their food triggers and fast-track their elimination diet
A credible IgG food intolerance test is used as a strategy for identifying foods to which a person may be sensitive. Lorisian has found that the average person with positive results typically reacts to 4 to 5 ingredients. This shows there could be some unsuspecting ingredients that may be challenging to find by simply removing ingredients that feel suspect.
Who are Lorisian?
Lorisian aim to promote wellbeing within the pressures of a modern lifestyle. They work with practitioners in a wide range of fields, sports and fitness professionals and provide corporate health and wellbeing programmes. Lorisian’s in-house laboratory has over 35 years’ experience in diagnostic testing and dedicated account managers for end-to-end support.
Targeting your clients’ wellbeing, Lorisian’s simple finger-pick blood tests analyse IgG reactions to over 200 food and drink ingredients, such as common foods like cow’s milk, wheat and gluten through to health superfoods like quinoa and kale to establish your clients’ trigger foods. It’s also worth noting that Lorisian also specialise in other health tests, such as Homocysteine, Diabetes and our LiverCheck test which indicates your client’s overall liver health.
Registration is completely free of charge and can be done by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +441904 428 550. Alternatively, you can complete the below:
* Allergy UK
† Defined as a food-specific IgG reaction
Lorisian’s information is intended to provide nutritional advice for dietary optimisation. Lorisian do not claim to treat or cure symptoms and recommend that you discuss any medical concerns you have with a GP before undertaking a Lorisian programme.