There are numerous other structural abnormalities as well as bacterial overgrowth or parasitic infections which may contribute to or aggravate food intolerance reactions to specific foods. In the absence of any of the above-mentioned issues, specific foods contain various substances which you can react to causing food intolerance. This includes naturally occurring substances such as amine containing foods as well as substances that are added to foods such as additives or preservatives. These substances include but are NOT limited to:
- Amines found in cheese
- Caffeine found in coffee
- Toxins such as aflatoxins found in under cooked beans
- Sulphites which are used as a food preservative
- Amines such as histamine which naturally occurs in certain foods such as fish
- Salicylates which occur naturally in most plant-based foods
- Gluten, a protein found in certain grains such as wheat, barley and rye
- FODMAPs a group of short chain carbohydrates found naturally in many foods. FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small intestines and travel to the large intestines where they cause bloating and draw water into the digestive tract which causes diarrhoea and bloating
Symptoms associated with food intolerances include but are not limited to:
- Stomach ache
- Runny nose
- Weight gain
- Migraine and
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
Are you experiencing any of these symptoms contact us or book a food intolerance test here
What causes food intolerances?
There are various reasons that may lead to a hypersensitivity reaction to specific foods, which we will discuss now. First, it is important and useful to understand that the health of our gut plays a big role in protecting us from food intolerances. The digestive tract plays a vital role when it comes to forming a barrier between the outside of our gut and the foods that we ingest. During digestion, food is broken down and molecules are selectively transported across the gut barrier. When this gut barrier is compromised or damaged (leaky gut syndrome), unwanted molecules escape back into our bloodstream often causing an inflammatory reaction. The adverse reaction is not necessarily because of food intolerance to that specific food but rather because a substance has entered the bloodstream when it should not have.
Food intolerance may also occur when our digestive tract lacks specific enzymes needed to break down certain food substances. Lactose intolerance is a good example of such a food intolerance. When the enzyme lactase is absent, lactose found in dairy products cannot be broken down by our digestive tract, resulting in abdominal discomfort.