Have you ever complained about headaches and tummy aches to a friend or colleague, and they suggested that you take a food intolerance test? If they have, don’t be too quick to brush them off.
Millions are living with food intolerance issues without being about to diagnose what the problem is. When certain food items give you unwanted reactions like bloating, heartburn, headaches, etc., you must consider taking a food intolerance test. If you are still looking for reasons why you should get a food intolerance test, we have four of them for you below.
1. Consuming Dairy Products Gives You Diarrhea
Have you ever felt bloated or had bouts of diarrhea after having dairy? Dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, heavy cream, sour cream, casein, whey, etc., are rich in natural sugar called lactose.
Though dairy products contain many necessary nutrients, it has some downsides also, especially if you are lactose intolerant.
Now the question arises how do you identify whether you are lactose intolerant? It’s quite simple.
If you find that consuming dairy products even a little bit can cause you digestive distress, you are said to be lactose intolerant. Intolerance may cause uncomfortable symptoms such as diarrhea(as mentioned earlier), bloating, tummy aches, etc.
The symptoms are typically noticeable, but how much it will be noticeable depends on your ability to break down the lactose, the amount of your lactose intake, etc. So, if you see such symptoms after dairy consumption, consider taking a blood test for food intolerance.
2. Drinking Coffee Gives You a Headache
Drinking coffee helps people feel relaxed, refreshed, and less tired; it increases their energy levels; enhances brain productivity; and so on. However, if you have noticed that drinking coffee often leaves you with a headache, consider testing for caffeine intolerance.
Coffee naturally contains caffeine. So, if you are caffeine intolerant, drinking coffee may have a negative impact on you. Experiencing any adverse symptoms or an intense adrenaline rush after drinking coffee indicates you are caffeine intolerant. It will cause you to metabolize coffee very slowly.
For example, if you take only a few sips of coffee, it feels like you drank 5-6 cups. It may eventually give you a headache even if you take a small dose.
3. Eating Bread or Other Cereal Grain Derived Food Makes You Severely Ill
You love eating bread or cereal for your breakfast. Suddenly you notice you start feeling some abnormalities within you after eating them, like feeling bloated, achy, tired, or even anxious, and you don’t know why; it might be due to gluten intolerance.
Cereal grain food, including bread, cake, pasta, etc., contains a type of protein called gluten. If you feel sick after eating gluten-rich food, you are gluten intolerant.
In this condition, if you eat gluten, your immune system attacks your tissues, damaging your gut. Thus, it will disrupt your body’s ability to take the necessary nutrients from this gluten-rich food. It also triggers a wide variety of gut symptoms, including indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, depression, etc., and makes you severely ill.
The problem with gluten intolerance is that it’s more difficult to catch through symptoms than, say, gluten allergy. If you have a gluten allergy, you can get an immediate, obvious type of reaction like hives or intolerable pain in the abdomen.
Gluten intolerance symptoms can start off mild and can increase as we become more prone to it.
The symptoms can be similar to that of other intolerances or even illnesses, so you must visit a gastroenterologist to figure out whether you may have gluten sensitivity or are at risk of celiac disease.
Once you know for sure, you can try to avoid gluten-rich products completely if you want to free yourself from these adverse effects. But you must make sure to take the necessary fibers and enough nutrients from fresh fruits, vegetables, and gluten-free grains.
4. You Get Hives From Eating Fruit
Has eating a certain fruit or a few different types of fruit ever given you hives? This might be due to its salicylic acid content.
You might have a salicylate intolerance if you experience an itchy nose, sneezing, hives, skin rashes, or eczema symptoms after eating fruits. An intolerance test can help you determine if salicylic acid is the problem.
Sometimes intolerance may occur from the overconsumption of fruits. You may need to avoid those fruits that trigger adverse symptoms.
Sometimes fruit does not give you cold allergy-type symptoms. You might get a stomach ache instead. In such cases, you might have a different type of food intolerance.
Fruits contain a type of natural sugar called fructose. After ingesting fructose, if you experience nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, etc., you have hereditary fructose intolerance.
You can also diagnose fructose intolerance through a breath test. In this test, you need a drink a solution made with fructose.
When you breathe out, the doctor will assess the amount of methane and hydrogen in your breath and then determine whether you ingest fructose properly. If you cannot digest fructose properly, you are fructose intolerant.
Other Food Intolerances
There are a few other food intolerances you should be aware of. One such intolerance is Histamine Intolerance. Histamine is a biogenic amine or chemical that naturally occurs in food such as cheese, chocolate, pineapple, avocado, banana, spinach, fermented foods, etc. Red and some white wines are also high in histamine.
Most people are tolerant to these chemicals. But if you are intolerant, your digestive system cannot break these chemicals down because your body requires enough diamine oxidase enzyme to break them.
A deficiency in this enzyme can lead to a wide array of symptoms like headache, nasal congestion, sinus problems, digestive issues, rash, or even menstrual irregularities.
Other types of intolerance include food additives. Food producers often use these to increase their flavors, make them more appealing, and extend their shelf-life. Almost all processed foods contain food additives.
If you think you are intolerant of food additives, a better way to avoid the intolerance is by eating only whole, fresh, and unprocessed foods.
Experts believe that not all the thousands of additives are problematic to humans. Only the following few can cause adverse reactions.
- Sulfites – The most common sources of sulfites include dried fruits, wine, fresh shrimp, some jams, and jellies. If you have this intolerance, you may experience hives, diarrhea, chest tightness, and even anaphylaxis.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – This common flavor enhancer is used in savory and crisp snacks and salty foods. It can cause nausea, diarrhea, headaches, chest tightness, etc.
- Nitrates – processed meats are the source of this preservative. People who have intolerance can have hives and headaches.
The Role of Food Intolerance Testing
Food intolerance tests are done after a person has experienced the symptoms of an adverse food reaction.
You can conduct tests to look for food intolerances based on the consumption of certain foods and the symptoms.
Once, it was extremely hard to diagnose food intolerance. But now, with the help of highly advanced testing, it becomes easier to detect and treat the issues. If you have this food intolerance, the reaction starts in your gut or digestive system.
Food Intolerance Tests
Many patients may have hard-to-diagnose symptoms. A person with a leaky gut generally has an intolerance to a wide range of foods. Food intolerance testing can tell you which foods you are reacting to.
Once you identify the food and remove them from your regular diet, your body will function normally and perform at its peak.
A blood test for food intolerance can be the most effective way to know which foods you are intolerant. Again, a hydrogen breath test helps you detect if you are lactose intolerant. But there are no tests to detect histamine or gluten intolerance.
What Are IgG Food Intolerance Tests?
IgG tests are typically blood tests that people do to test for food intolerance. You can take the blood sample in a home setting and then send it to the lab for testing. So, this form of test is quick and convenient. You need to collect the blood sample via a laboratory blood draw or a home finger prick test.
Then the blood is assessed to detect the presence of circulating IgG (Immunoglobulin-G). The test helps you identify which foods you are intolerant to, and it also helps you design your appropriate elimination diet.
Are IgG Food Intolerance Tests Reliable?
You know the existence of IgG antibodies supports our immune response. So, when you are testing for identifying IgG antibodies for a certain food, you can diagnose whether you are intolerant to that particular food or not.
However, the causes and symptoms of food intolerance are varied and wide. So, it is really complicated to support the tests. Also, intolerance is likely to start with your digestive system, not your immune system. It means no reliable biomarker can correctly diagnose and identify your food problem.
What Are the Complications of Food Intolerance?
If you are lactose intolerant and completely avoid dairy products, you will not get enough vitamin D and calcium.
Instead of avoiding dairy products, you can use lactase enzymes or take supplements so that you can consume dairy products and your stomach is not upset. Also, you can take a lactose pill before taking dairy products or directly add lactose drops to milk to break down the enzymes.
How Is a Food Intolerance Treated or Managed?
Treating and managing food intolerance issues as early as you can detect them is paramount because if left untreated for a long time, the symptoms can cause much more issues, like IBS, fibromyalgia, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, skin problems, etc.
Awareness of food intolerance and taking measures to manage it is much easier than tackling a more complex issue like IBS.
You need to follow a diet that eliminates or limits problematic foods strictly. One way to assess food intolerance is to maintain an elimination diet under the professional supervision of a nutritionist or dietician.
If particular food-intolerant people consume small amounts of that food, it may lead to minor symptoms. However, taking over-the-counter medicines like antidiarrheals or antacids can help overcome these symptoms.
Food intolerance can impact your relationship with food and your quality of life. Taking a test can help you be aware so that you can find the best way to manage it. Most people can manage food intolerance symptoms if they cut down or reduce foods that provoke digestive problems.