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.