A really interesting article has been hitting the headlines this week regarding a woman who is able to finally lead a normal life after 25 years of suffering with moderate to severe migraines. Her relief finally came with the help of intolerance testing which showed that she had an intolerance to cow’s milk, corn and prunes. She stated that the process had been life changing. Click here to read the article.
I was really pleased to see this in the media because these tests can be so successful in alleviating health problems and we’ve both seen positive results with ourselves and with clients.
Firstly it’s important to talk about what an intolerance test is. The test shows an antibody reaction to certain foods that may be causing unpleasant symptoms in the body.
“What is food to one man, may be fierce poison to another” Lucretius circa 75BC
However, there are different types of reactions to food. There are reactions that are immune-mediated and those that are non-immune mediated. Only certain immune-mediated reactions will show up on a food intolerance test. We’ll explain this briefly for clarification.
Food intolerances (IgG reactions) can lead to inflammation within the body and the gradual appearance of many symptoms. These symptoms aren’t life threatening like a severe IgE allergic reaction but can have really unpleasant effects on the body.
It isn’t fully understood yet why we develop food intolerances but it is linked to a compromised immune system. When the immune system is overwhelmed, possibly due to poor digestion, stress, infections, medications, a poor diet or high alcohol consumption, it can react to proteins in the food, treating them as foreign invaders and forming immune complexes that deposit in the body causing a variety of symptoms. Examples of these may include:
Gastrointestinal: bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, flatulence
Skin: eczema, spots, hives
Nervous system: migraines, headaches, depression, anxiety, fatigue
Respiratory: asthma, cough, sinusitis, rhinitis
Metabolic: weight gain
Musculoskeletal: joint pains, muscle aches, arthritis
The good news is that as soon as the offending foods are identified and removed from the diet, symptoms may decrease and even disappear. These foods can usually be gradually reintroduced after a period of time. It is believed that the successful reintroduction is due to the fact that the body is no longer overburdened and has had time to recover. However it is important to state that some people may find that they are better off removing certain foods for life.
These tests don’t come cheap and can range from approximately £60 - £200 varying on the number of foods being tested. You may ask why would I spend this much? From experience I can say that it could be near impossible to identify that you are actually reacting to cashew nuts for example or a certain grape in a wines of your choice. Even for some of the more common food intolerances, such as wheat, gluten or dairy it can be really useful to have a very clear indication of how these foods may be affecting your health. How difficult would it be to identify this and how long have you been suffering? Food intolerance tests have moved on in recent years and the best companies are Cambridge Nutritional Sciences and YorkTest Laboritories.
Although these tests can be done independently, I genuinely feel it is beneficial to work with a nutritional therapist who will not only guide you through the process, but will also piece together the whole picture because this is usually only part of the problem.
If you are interested in finding out more and making an appointment, please feel free to contact me directly.
Love Rachel x