Category Archives: Food Intolerance

Food Intolerance Causing Unexplained Digestive Problems

Food intolerance is much more common than food allergy. But most of the time onset of symptoms is usually slower and may be delayed by many hours after eating the offending food. The symptoms may also last for several hours, even into the next day and sometimes longer. Intolerance to several foods or a group of foods is not uncommon, and it can be much more difficult to decide whether food intolerance is the cause of chronic illness, and which foods or substances may be responsible.

Causes of Food Intolerance:

  • Enzymes help with the breakdown of natural substances found in certain foods. If these enzymes are missing, or in short supply, then eating the food can cause symptoms because part of the content of the food cannot be properly dealt with by the body.
  • Certain foods such as caffeine in coffee, tea, and chocolate, or amines in certain cheeses contain naturally occurring chemicals that have an affect on the body. Some people seem to be more affected than others by these natural substances in the food.
  • A number of foods contain naturally occurring substances that can exert a toxic effect causing symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. In cases such as kidney beans or chick peas that are undercooked, there are aflotoxins, which cause these symptoms.
  • Some foods containing histamine naturally and others (such as certain fish that are not fresh and have not been stored properly) can develop a build-up of histamine in their flesh as they age. In certain people, this histamine occurring naturally in the food can cause symptoms when the food is eaten; typically, rashes, stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting and in some cases symptoms that can mimic anaphylaxis.

Food intolerance can be caused by many factors but is treatable once the culprit foods are identified.


Quick Facts About Food Intolerance

Food intolerance, food allergy, and food hypersensitivity are some of the common names that are used to describe adverse reactions to food. However, these food related problems are different and may have different causes and symptoms.

Food intolerance often makes the sufferer feel unwell and impacts his or her social and working life. Unlike food allergy, food intolerance reactions do not involve the IgE antibodies that the body releases to fight off the allergens found in certain foods. This results in the release of histamine and other naturally occurring chemicals in the body, producing the symptoms of allergic reactions.

In case of food intolerance, the reactions are delayed and usually show up after several hours or sometimes after several days of eating the offending food. Symptoms affect different people in different manner and last for many days or hours, depending on the symptoms. Sometimes people with food intolerance have several symptoms and in some cases the symptoms are vague and are not easily diagnosed. Bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, eczema, headache, and lethargy are the common symptoms of food intolerance.

Food intolerance can be caused by many factors, such as lifestyle with erratic food intake, poor nutritional intake, high intake of refined foods, poor intake of dietary fibre, or taking high fat diet.
Keeping a food and symptoms diary is found to be effective in identifying and diagnosing food intolerance. Hair follicle test is an advanced and highly reliable method of diagnosing and successfully treating food intolerance.