Nicola Ford Dip (Nutri)
The Nutrition Clinic
Wheat makes you bloated, chocolate gives you a headache, and cheese brings you out in a nasty rash? Or perhaps you have a general feeling of unwellness, and repeated visits to the doctors have left you feeling confused and frustrated. If this sounds familiar, it could be that you are suffering from food intolerance. However, the subject of food intolerance, as opposed to food allergy, is a very controversial issue amongst conventional medical practitioners, and here’s why!
Food Allergy or Food Intorelance?
Firstly, to avoid any further confusion on this controversial issue it is important to differentiate between food allergy and food intolerance. Food allergies, also known as classic allergies, cause immediate severe reactions, some of which are life threatening.
These reactions are caused by an autoimmune response, where the immune system produces an antibody called an IgE antibody. This then triggers other cells to release substances that cause inflammation – an allergic response. This could appear as swelling of the lips and throat, vomiting, severe skin rashes, breathing difficulties and/or anaphylaxis.
Food intolerance on the other hand causes delayed reactions that most commonly occur from a few hours to a few days after ingesting the offending food or foods. The most common foods are wheat, dairy, chocolate, eggs, oranges, additives in food and drink, nuts, alcohol, tea and coffee. The symptoms associated with food intolerance however are much more widespread than those of a classic allergy, and can cause varying symptoms each time they are ingested. These unpleasant symptoms can cause headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, depression, muscle aches and pains to name only a few.
The reason why food intolerance is still a controversial issue is simply down to the fact that there has been no firm evidence to pinpoint the actual cause of the intolerance, and therefore no scientific way of testing. Having said this, research has been carried out by the York Nutritional Laboratory, which suggests a deficiency of certain enzymes could be responsible for food intolerance. Enzymes are responsible for breaking down the food we eat, however in the event of a deficiency, food particles can escape into the blood stream. Consequently, this results in a build up of antibodies, these are known as IgG antibodies, however when these IgG antibodies accumulate, they release toxins and chemicals into the bloodstream resulting in a delayed allergic response.
Another school of thought is that the foods to which people are intolerant, may actually be a psychological addiction that manifests itself as physical symptoms. This is because certain foods such as wheat, nuts and chocolate contain substances that bind to endorphin receptor sites that are responsible for releasing hormones, more commonly known as ‘feel good hormones’. You may recognise the pattern here, if the thought of giving up chocolate, breads and cakes or even tea and coffee makes you shudder at the thought, then this could certainly be a starting point.
Finally, there has been a significant amount of media coverage recently surrounding the issue of food intolerance to suggest that people who are claiming food intolerance are using it as an excuse to diet by excluding certain foods such as wheat or dairy from their diets.
Although this could possibly be the case for some, the reality of having food intolerance shouldn’t be ignored, as this could mean a lifetime of unnecessary suffering for many people. Therefore for those of you who suspect that you could be suffering from food intolerance but are unable to identify the culprit food because of delayed reactions, it is strongly recommended that you seek the expert advice of a Nutritionist, or Dietician, who can advise you on the tests currently available.
A Nutritionist will also ask you to keep a food diary for one or two weeks as these will often provide clues to what foods you may be intolerant to. However, caution must be taken as self diagnosing yourself, and eliminating major food groups from your diet will cause further problems, such as deficiencies of essential nutrients.
Food Intolerance Tests Currently Available.
The Vega Test
The Vega Test:
The Vega test is an alternative health test that uses electro-acupuncture to measure the body’s electrical resistance to various substances. It is based on the theory that imbalances in the body’s energy field can lead to food sensitivities and other health problems.
- Purpose and Benefits: The Vega test aims to identify potential food sensitivities or intolerances. With the potential benefits of understanding these sensitivities we can work towards alleviating digestive issues or improving overall well-being.
- History: The Vega machine originated from electro acupuncture and is based on “energy medicine” or “biofield medicine.”
- The Testing Procedure: A direct voltage of 0.87 volts is applied with a hand held electrode over an acupuncture point on the toe, whilst another electrode is held in the hand to complete the circuit. The test measures the body’s electrical resistance to various substances, and that lower readings indicate potential sensitivities There is no discomfort and it is completely non – invasive and safe.
- How Long Does a Vega Test Take? The test lasts for approximately half an hour where up to fifty foods can be tested, if a food is found to cause an imbalance within the body the reading would be lower than other foods that do not cause an imbalance.
- Disclaimer – What Are The Limitations of The Vega Test?
The Vega test is a controversial test that has not been scientifically validated. Some experts believe that it is nothing more than a placebo effect. Others believe that it may be able to identify some sensitivities, but that the results are not always reliable. About The Vega Test Machine
The York Nutritional Laboratory developed the IgG ELISA Test eighteen years ago.
- Purpose and Benefits: The purpose of the IgG ELISA test is to identify potential food sensitivities or intolerances.
- The Testing Procedure: The test involves taking your own blood sample at home by using a pinprick kit that the YNL will send to you. Once you have collected your blood in the wand container you post it back to the Lab for analysis. The blood is then measured for raised IgG antibodies against certain foods.
Testing Options: They offer a 40 food screen, 93 food screen, and 57 food screen that has been specifically developed for vegetarians.
- More Information: Visit https://www.yorktest.com/
- Disclaimer: The IgG ELISA test is an alternative approach and should not replace a thorough medical evaluation. The test serves as an initial screening tool and may warrant further investigation by a healthcare professional.
A blood sample has to be taken by either a doctor or a nurse, this is then sent to the Lab where the blood cells are separated from the plasma and then incubated with a panel of different food antigens.
- Purpose of ALCAT: The test is used to identify potential food stuffs , sensitivities or intolerances that may be triggering chronic inflammation and related health conditions, such as gastrointestinal, respiratory, and joint issues as well as migraine, dermatitis, fatigue, and metabolic disorders.
- What foods are tested? The test can be used to test for a wide variety of foods, including common allergens, additives, and environmental irritants.
- What is being measured? The test measures “immune response” , the release of histamine from white blood cells when they are exposed to different foods.
- Find Out More: Visit https://cellsciencesystems.com/patients/alcat-test/
Applied Kinesiology (AK) is a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approach that utilizes muscle testing to assess the body’s response to various substances, including foods, environmental allergens, and emotional stressors. The underlying premise of AK is that the body’s muscles are interconnected with the body’s energy system, and any imbalances or disruptions in this energy system can manifest as weakened muscles.
During an AK session, the practitioner will ask the client to hold a specific substance, such as a food or a homeopathic remedy, while testing the strength of a designated muscle, typically an arm muscle. If the muscle tests weak, it is interpreted as a sign that the body is reacting negatively to the substance. This muscle weakening is believed to be caused by a disruption in the body’s energy flow, indicating a potential intolerance or sensitivity.
AK practitioners may also use muscle testing to identify emotional stressors or imbalances, believing that these can also lead to muscle weakness. By identifying these stressors, practitioners may suggest lifestyle changes, stress management techniques, or other complementary therapies to address the underlying emotional issues.
While AK is often used to identify food intolerances, it is important to note that there is limited scientific evidence to support its effectiveness. Some studies have found that AK may be able to identify some food sensitivities, but the results have been inconsistent and inconclusive. Additionally, AK is not a diagnostic tool and should not be used to replace a thorough medical evaluation.
If you are considering consulting an AK practitioner, it is important to do your research and find a qualified and experienced practitioner. You should also discuss your concerns with your doctor, as they may be able to offer other diagnostic tests or treatment options.
Nicola Ford, (Dip) Nutri. The Nutrition Clinic – Text revised and updated by Synergy in 2023