How to Tell if You Have a Food Intolerance
Do you often feel bloated but don’t know if it was a particular food that caused it? Or perhaps you think it may either have been too big a meal or a wrong combination?
Furthermore, are you afraid of finding out the cause as you don’t want to have to restrict your eating choices?
Food intolerances are very common. In fact, 1 in 5 people have what we call an IgG food intolerance. It’s also very common for people to ignore or put up with their symptoms to the point where it becomes normal, even though the quality of their every day life may be suffering.
So what, you may be asking, is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?
An IgE allergy response is a response by your immune system to something it perceives as foreign or harmful. These immediate reactions include anaphylaxis, hives, asthma and swelling. Usually this immune reaction caused by the production of immune molecules known as IgEs are not difficult to identify because the reaction occurs immediately after the ingestion of the offending food.
Delayed onset food reactions, otherwise known as food intolerances or sensitivities are more difficult to identify as the reaction is not immediate and occurs hours or even days after ingestion. It causes a similar immune molecule to form but the symptoms are far broader. These reactions are not life threatening and may or may not be present for life.
Symptoms to watch out for:
As mentioned above, food intolerances can result in a wide range of symptoms. These include:
- Acid reflux
- Brain fog
- Candida or thrush
- Constipation and/or diarrhoea
- Joint pain
- Mood changes such as depression, anxiety
- Skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis or rashes
- Sinus or hayfever
- Weight gain or weight loss
What next: testing
One way of determining whether you are reacting to certain foods is to go on an elimination diet for 6 weeks. This involves removing all common allergens, intolerances, additives, preservatives, salicylates and amines, before slowly reintroducing suspect foods to reveal any reactions.
An easier and faster method of determining what foods you are reacting to is to do an IgG Food Intolerance test. This tests for intolerances to 96 foods and can be done at home using a small pinprick. We can also arrange to test for a larger number of foods if necessary. The sample is then sent off in the mail to Nutripath pathology and you will receive the results in approximately 10 days.
After working out which foods are causing your symptoms, we work on avoiding those foods for a period of time so as to rebuild your git, liver and immune health. This is a step-by-step treatment plan your naturopath will take you through using various herbal and nutritional supplements:
- Determine problem foods
- Eliminate problem foods
- Support and modulate the immune system
- Repair damage to the mucosal lining of the gut
- Re-establish healthy intestinal flora in the gut
- Support the body in reintroducing the foods back into the diet
It’s not about eliminating these foods forever. It is about avoiding them for a while so as to reduce your susceptibility to future intolerances. This is why it is so important to address your food intolerances now rather than later: the longer you leave it, the more damage it can cause you gut and immune system, leading to further food intolerances and complications.
So if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms and suspect you may have a food intolerances, it might just be the time to speak to a naturopath and discuss testing and treatment options.
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