Food intolerances are unpleasant reactions to foods. In some people these reactions can cause distressing symptoms and long term ill health. Some people are unable to digest certain foods or may be sensitive to a particular ingredient, whilst others make antibodies to the food concerned. These antibodies are called igE and igG antibodies.
igE antibodies cause allergic reactions which occur rapidly after the food is eaten. igG antibodies can cause unpleasant symptoms which may be delayed for many hours or even days, making it hard to identify problem foods.
Our test can detect the igG antibodies involved in food intolerance so that you can remove them from your diet. We do not identify igE related food allergies or provide information about any specific medical condition.
Research carried out at the University Hospital of South Manchester has shown that food allergies based on the detection of raised levels of igG antibodies is effective in reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. (Atkinson et al, Gut, 2004, 53, 1459-1464)
The test detects igG antibodies to 59 commonly eaten foods using a highly sensitive immunoassay technique usually carried out in a laboratory. All that is required is a pin prick of blood which is taken by one of our nurses then tested in our centre. Results are available within 40 minutes, following which the nurse will discuss with you which foods you are sensitive to and the severity of the sensitivity.
Food intolerance explained... "What is food to one man may be fierce poison to another" Lucretius circa 75BC
For centuries we have known that the consumption of certain foods can have profound effects on the physical and mental health of susceptible individuals. This is even more evident in today's world with the huge variety of processed foods we now consume.
Recent work by Atkinson and co-workers has identified that food specific antibodies (produced by the body's immune system) and symptoms of food intolerance are closely associated with a wide range of unpleasant symptoms and many chronic conditions. Unlike food allergies, food intolerance is unlikely to be life threatening.
Less than 2% of the population suffer from food allergies; however, up to 45% of the population is estimated to suffer from some form of food intolerance. Symptoms often occur quite some time after the food has been eaten and it can be difficult to identify the food or foods which cause the symptoms. For example, the milk or bread eaten one day could be the cause of joint pains three days later. Some food-related symptoms may be caused by enzyme deficiency or chemical sensitivity, while in others an immune response may be involved.
Many food intolerances are associated with an inappropriate immune response to a particular food or foods. While the causes of food intolerance are not fully understood, inadequate digestion, dysbiosis, candidiasis, parasites, intestinal infections, a poorly balanced diet, alcohol consumption, or the effects of drugs and medications may play a role.
Production of antibodies is one of the ways in which the body's immune system reacts to substances that adversely affect it. In normal circumstances, these antibodies combine with proteins in the food to form complexes, which are then eliminated by the immune system. However, if the immune system is overwhelmed or overworked, then complexes can accumulate in places such as joints or the digestive tract to produce symptoms of food intolerance.
For Example Respiratory - rhinitis, sinusitis and asthma Musculoskeletal - arthritis, joint pains, aching muscles and weakness. Gastrointestinal - vomiting, abdominal bloating, cramping, excessive wind, water retention, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, weight control problems and colic. Central nervous system - migraine, headache, impaired concentration, mood and behavioural changes, depression, anxiety, fatigue and hyperactivity. Dermatological - urticaria, atopic dermatitis, eczema, itchy skin and other rashes.
Symptoms can appear up to three days after eating the offending or reactive food and can last for weeks. Therefore, it can be very difficult to pin point which foods could be causing the symptoms. In the investigation of food intolerance, it can be helpful to assess the level of food antibodies in a blood specimen.
A diet that eliminates the food problems will often be enough to prevent the onset of symptoms. Identifying these foods is the difficult part. Your food intolerance test is the first step in this process. A raised level of food antibodies is not a problem in itself, but can help to identify those foods which are the most likely candidates. Where your test shows an elevated level of antibodies to a specific food, you should eliminate it completely from your diet for a period of at least three months. When the symptoms subside, the eliminated foods can be reintroduced one by one and the effects monitored.
Avoiding the foods that have been identified as positive in your food intolerance test may reduce your symptoms
Food intolerance test 59 foods This test is performed in the clinic with a pin prick of blood and results are available within one hour. £95
Food intolerance test 200+ Gold Food This test analyses 200+ different foods for those clients wanting a more comprehensive list of foods tested this test is again a pin prick of blood but is sent to the lab to be tested so results are within 7 - 10 days. £299
Central Healthcare Arch 3, Forth Street Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3NZ