‘YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT’, many of us are familiar with this saying. It is basically a very true statement. Food is one of the basic building blocks for our bodies. We need balanced amount of nutrients to provide energy, repair our cells and promote proper functioning of our body. Many a times food consumption is not balanced and some foods are being over consumed with the notion that it is more healthy and will provide certain benefits we wish for. Food intolerances are becoming more and more common these days as a result. Due to its insidious nature, the symptoms or discomfort arising from it have been missed out.
So what is Food Intolerance? Food intolerance is a condition which the body reacts to food, beverage, food additives, or certain food components. The reactions are not acute and it may take hours to days to develop and may last for weeks or months. It may or may not be immunological mediated.
Amongst the non-immunologically mediated, it may result from the enzymatic defects(lactose intolerances), transport defects such as the inability to transport fructose or glucose due to GLUT5/GLUT2 defects giving rise to inability to metabolise these in the intestines that result in bacterial fermentation and give rise to abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatulence, and bloating. Factors like consumption of food which contain active compounds that has intrinsic biologic activities may also leads to development of symptoms due to food intolerance. The common examples include migraine headaches aggravated by eating chocolate which is a food a contain biogenic amines(histamine, serotonin, tyramine) in individuals that does not have enzyme to digest it.
On the other hand, Food intolerances may also be characterized by delayed onset of symptoms resulting from a certain immune reaction which is commonly referred to IgG mediated response. The symptoms typically appear several days after eating the offending food making git difficult to identify the cause and the symptoms may last for weeks. In this case testing for food intolerances will be helpful in identifying the level of food antibodies thus providing the guidelines for eliminating them from your diet.
The following is a useful checklist of Food Intolerances:
- Excessive Bloating after a meal
- Repeated episodes of gastroesophageal reflux not relieved by medication
- IBS(irritable bowel syndrome)
- Chronic sinusitis not improving after full course treatment
- Unexplained joint pains
- Chronic eczema
- unexplained fatigue and tiredness
- brain fog
- Acne resistant to treatment
Majority of patients with food intolerances were found to have the habit of eating the same type of food everyday for a prolonged period of time, and may be aggravated by poor lifestyle and nutritional imbalances or deficiency.
The basic management includes omitting the food suspected, rotate your diet on a 4-day basis to avoid eating same group of food everyday. For example, if you eat eggs on day 1, omit eating eggs or food containing eggs for another 3 days and then you may include egg in your diet again on day 5. Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet daily to promote gut health and eat well balanced meals. If food intolerance is suspected and your symptoms persist, you may consider doing a test to determine the types of foods that are causing the symptoms. At Meditrina, we have certain programs that can help to identify your food intolerances. Contact us today to book an appointment.