Do you think you may have a food intolerance? It’s estimated that nearly half of us react to foods in our diet and have to put up with debilitating symptoms such as a lack of energy, mental “fog”, digestive problems, aching joints, eczema and headaches. So how do these intolerances occur, how can you find out what you’re intolerant to and what can you do about it if you are?
Intolerance occurs when the body alters its normal immune response in some way, due to the presence of an allergen (a substance which triggers an immune reaction). As the body’s immune system is highly active in the digestive tract, where it acts like the bouncer at the gateway into your body, foods that aren’t digested properly or that irritate or inflame the ‘gate’ mean its highly likely that they’ll be under “arrest” by the immune police. This is, in essence, what most food intolerances or sensitivities are all about. Of course, the real answer to stopping intolerance is to heal the digestive system and don’t eat the particular foods that are stressing or irritating the digestive tract. However, the fact is that if you’ve already developed intolerances you really need to ‘undevelop’ them first by finding out what foods you are currently reacting to and avoiding them long enough to heal the digestive tract, stop the antibodies that are produced from reacting throughout your body from causing your symptoms, and to reprogramme the “immune police”.
You will know if you suffer from a full-blown (antibody IgE-mediated) intolerance to foods such as nuts and shellfish; strong immediate reactions with severe stomach upset and swelling in the mouth and throat, which can be fatal, are typical of classical intolerance reactions. The emerging view is now that most intolerances and intolerances, diplomatically called ‘idiosyncratic’ reactions by some, are not IgE based. There is a new generation of intolerance tests designed to detect reactions to foods that measure IgG antibodies. According to Dr James Braly, “Food intolerance is not rare, nor are the effects limited to the air passages, the skin and digestive tract. Most food intolerances are delayed reactions, taking up to three days to show themselves, and are therefore much harder to detect”.
There are several possible reasons why a person becomes food intolerant. Among these are a lack of digestive enzymes, “leaky” gut, frequent exposure to foods containing irritant chemicals, immune deficiency leading to hypersensitivity of the immune system, micro-organism imbalance in the gut, and no doubt many more. There is a lot you can do to protect yourself and reduce your allergic potential, but where do you start?
In the past, testing for intolerances has been notoriously difficult. The traditional exclusion diet, where you cut out any suspected foods then slowly reintroduce them one at a time after a month and monitor your reactions, is difficult, very time consuming, and it is nigh on impossible to determine the exact combination of foods that are triggering your symptoms; the average is five different foods. The fact is that every individual person is unique with a different biochemical make-up, even to others with similar conditions.
Thankfully, help is at hand with a simple testing service that identifies food-specific IgG antibody reactions, so you can easily pinpoint the harder to detect “hidden” allergens. The YorkTest FoodScan is only one food-specific IgG test available that has significant clinical data to support its use. YorkTest has over 25 years of experience in the food intolerance testing market and has widely published test data to show that, in those with chronic symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, eczema and headaches, over 3 out of 4 will show significant benefit if they remove those foods from their diet that have shown a reaction. A unique kit is sent to you so you can take your own blood sample at home and post the kit direct to the laboratory for testing, without the inconvenience of visiting a hospital or GP. The test only requires a few drops of blood from a finger prick sample, and you are supported through the whole process by a qualified Nutritionist so that you don’t feel like you are attempting this all on your own.
Many people are looking to take control of their symptoms using methods that are proven, positive and active. Help is at hand; at the Rude Health Show at the RDS, Dublin on the 11th and 12th September 2010 Patrick Holford will help you find out how to discover your food intolerances and improve your digestion, putting an end to indigestion, bloating, constipation and IBS. The net result of perfect digestion is better skin and much more energy. His talk is titled “Is What You Eat Making You Ill?”. Dr Gill Hart will explore the science behind food intolerance testing and look at the results that have been achieved.
Patrick Holford will also be touring Ireland from the 5th – 11th October 2010; check out his website for event details www.patrickholford.com