Are you suffering from any of these symptoms?
Abdominal pains, aches and pains, acid reflux, asthma, arthritis, bloating, constipation, chronic fatigue syndrome, diarrhoea, eczema, fatigue, fibromyalgia, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), headaches, lethargy, migraine, nausea, rashes, rhinitis, sinusitis, skin problems, stomach cramps, tension, hives, weight loss or weight gain, wheezing or bad complexions?
If you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms you may be suffering from food allergies or food intolerance.
If you have been treated by your doctors for any of the above complaints without relief it may be time to suspect food allergies or food intolerant as being at the root causes of your misery.
Your doctor likely gave you creams or medications according to the symptoms you are telling him. In most cases these ailments are being caused by food allergies and food intolerances which will not go away until the specific food is identified and eliminated from the diet.
By eliminating the offending foods you can prevent the occurrence of the above symptoms and ailments.
Prevention rather than treatment is the key. No amount of creams or medications is going to make the symptoms go away. For sufferers of food intolerance and food allergies the problem is that usually it’s the symptom that gets treated, not the cause leading to lack of sustainable cure.
In food allergy, an abnormal immune system response results in the body making antibodies to ‘fight off’ a food.
Food allergy, either IgE antibody mediated or delayed non-Ig mediated allergy are reactions caused by the immune system, A small number of adults approximately 1% of adults and about 5-9% of children are affected by food allergies.
However, some people suffer symptoms after eating certain foods even when they are not producing antibodies against them. A variety of different mechanisms can cause foods to affect people in this way. These non-immune reactions are known as food intolerances.
This is much more common than food allergy and is not caused by the immune system.
The 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.
With food intolerance, some people can tolerate a reasonable amount of the food, but if they eat it too much (or too often) they get symptoms because their body cannot tolerate unlimited amounts.
The symptoms caused by food intolerance are varied.
They usually cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting, irritable bowel and can include skin rashes and sometimes fatigue, joint pains, dark circles under the eyes, night sweats and other chronic conditions.
Food intolerance can have a number of different causes:
a. Enzyme defects: Enzymes are required to 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.
In lactose intolerance, for example, the body may lack the enzyme lactase that breaks down lactose which is the sugar in the milk into smaller sugars ready for absorption from the gut. Lactose is too large to be absorbed across the gut wall undigested, and its presence in the gut causes gut spasm, pain, bloating, diarrhoea and ‘failure to thrive’.
Incidentally, these same symptoms can occur in milk allergy, when the body has made antibodies to milk protein, which causes an immune reaction when you drink milk. Hence, you cannot always distinguish allergy from intolerance by symptoms alone without expert help. Most Africans are lactose intolerant as we do not really produce milk in most of Africa and thus our bodies were not built with the enzyme to digest milk. Even our northern cows do not produce milk in commercial quantity. Thus the milk we consume in Nigeria is imported and thus foreign to us and alien to our digestive system.
Most foods require some enzyme activity in their digestion, and enzyme deficiencies can be an important factor in food intolerance.
Other causes of food intolerance are naturally occurring chemicals in the food that have an effect on the body. Such substances as caffeine in coffee, tea, and chocolate, or amines in certain cheeses can produce a negative reaction in some people.
If you are food intolerant to a particular food item, you can usually eat a little of it occasionally, but negative reactions will increase the more you eat that food item.
Other causes of food intolerance may be naturally occurring substances that can exert a toxic effect, causing symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. In cases such as beans or chick peas that are undercooked, there are aflotoxins, which cause these symptoms. If they are cooked fully the toxins are not present.
This is very confusing to someone who seems to tolerate a food sometimes but not at other times.
Histamine in foods
Some foods contain histamine naturally, and others such as certain fish and most sea food and other foods that that are not fresh or have not been stored properly can develop a build-up of histamine.
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, asthma, and even increase in blood pressure.
Salicylates in foods
Many foods naturally contain salicylates, and our tolerance to this can vary.
The vast majority of people can eat salicylate-containing foods with no problems, but other people may suffer symptoms if they eat too many foods, which when combined contain a large amount.
These salicylate-intolerant people will get better if they eat a diet of low and moderate salicylate foods and avoid those with the highest levels.
Additives in foods
A wide variety of natural and artificial additives are used in colouring, preserving and processing foods. Some people can suffer symptoms provoked by hypersensitivity to food additives and preservatives.
Unfortunately many fruits are now genetically engineered to become very sweet and attractive in colour.
They are also grown with pesticides and fertilizers so many people have become allergic to them and have thus become fructose intolerant. The mostly sour pineapple we used to eat is not the same as the deliciously sweet pineapple that is now available.
This sweetness is just basically sugar. Over consumption of fruits by a fructose intolerant person will lead to arthritis, bad skin, bloating and many other ailments.
The time between eating the food and getting symptoms depends on many factors. If the food is only eaten occasionally, symptoms may start immediately the food is eaten or start after two hours or even up to two days later.
However, this is different when the food is being eaten regularly. In this case negative reactions to the food will run into each other every time the food is eaten leading to the development of chronic, almost continual symptoms.
How is Food Intolerance recognised?
To identify food allergies and food intolerance, the traditional way is difficult and involves keeping a food diary and recording reactions to them and eliminating foods until the intolerant food is finally identified The diagnosis is usually made by removing the suspected food from the diet (an exclusion diet) and seeing if symptoms improve.
In food intolerance, a wide range of symptoms may occur and multiple symptoms are usual, and can be general and non-specific, which can make diagnosis tricky.
This highlights the need for attention to detail and the need to record everything fully in a food and allergy symptom diary and working with a dietician.
At Mart Life Detox Clinic we identify food allergies and food intolerances by our Bioenergitc test which can specify whether a person is fructose, lactose, histamine or gluten intolerant and also specify the exact food the person is intolerant or allergic to.
After the biogenetic test the patient is advised to start an exclusion diet which excludes the foods one is intolerant and allergic to.
The patient is advised to stay off the intolerant food for 3 months. after this time the patient can introduce the food slowly into the diet and eat it occasionally no more than once every week or once every two weeks.
Usually most people can tolerate eating these foods sometimes without bringing back the negative symptoms. More frequent consumption of these foods will bring back the symptoms. Each person will need to establish their tolerance threshold. After weeks or months of not eating the food you may be able to restart eating the food again without getting negative reactions.
This is known as tolerance, and its maintenance depends on establishing the threshold of both frequency and quantity for each person – in other words, eating the food occasionally may be tolerated, but reintroducing it in large quantities or on a very regular basis (e.g. every day) might lead to symptoms coming back.
This is purely individual so working this out and not restricting the diet more than is necessary is a major consideration. I for example have intolerance for eggs. I can eat eggs for one day without a reaction.
The second day I can manage. If I eat eggs for the third day running I come down with a crashing headache.
The above is the case for food one is intolerant to. However for foods one is allergic to the nutritionist will advise you to stay away from such foods for life.
Elimination of certain foods either due to intolerance or allergies requires that one replace foods with other foods of similar nutritional value so that one is not lacking in essential nutrients. Our nutritionist will help with these choices of food substitution.
Embarking on such diets requires a lot of dedication and planning but the results can be life changing for the better.
Choosing the right time to start the diet for you and your family is essential – avoiding starting the diet during holidays or major celebrations is recommended as sticking to the diet will become more difficult during such times.
But straying from the exclusion diet during holidays and festive season comes with a price as the negative symptoms will come rushing back. After the holidays it is essential that the diet is restarted as soon as possible to regain your health.
In a few people, underlying conditions such as infestation of parasites and fungus, bacteria, virus and other pathogens can either cause symptoms or make food intolerances worse.
The biogenetic test will also reveal these pathogens so that they can be effectively treated.
In some cases removing these parasites will also remove the food intolerance and allow one to enjoy some of the food not previously tolerated again.
For more information on products and services and any other help contact
The Mart-Life Detox Clinic and Spa
Address: 2 Olatunbosun St, Lagos, Nigeria
Phone:0803 406 5569