Food Allergy and Food Intolerances


What is food intolerance?
Although not life threatening like food allergy, food intolerance should never be underestimated as its impact on sufferers can be significant, severely impacting on their ability to live normal healthy lives. Food intolerance is extremely widespread and it is estimated that 45% of the population could be affected*. Many people with food intolerance experience more than one symptom. Symptoms can often be vague and the root cause of the problem, food, is not always correctly diagnosed. Sufferers often complain of seeming to be in a ‘fog’, feeling bloated and being tired all the time.

When foods and drinks are digested the proteins within them are broken down into smaller fragments for easy absorption by the body. However larger fragments can sometimes pass through without breaking down, and sometimes our body reacts to them as though they are invaders – attacking them with antibodies also known as “immunoglobulins (IgG)”. Over time, the antibodies may form immune complexes, which can become deposited in joints, tissues and organs, leading to inflammation and a wide spread of the symptoms that are seen in food intolerance, including headaches, digestive problems, IBS, bloating, itchy skin, joint pain, weight gain and low mood to name but a few.

Food intolerance symptoms often develop within 24 to 76 hours after eating the food, which is why it can be difficult to identify the specific food trigger.

*according to the leading medical charity Allergy UK

What is Food allergy?
A classical food allergy (such as peanut or shellfish allergy) is usually characterised by an immediate and often severe reaction of the immune system to exposure to a specific food.

The symptoms of food allergy include sneezing, rashes, skin irritation, swelling, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea and vomiting. Normally symptoms occur within a few minutes of eating or coming in to contact with the offending food, although they can be delayed by up to two hours.

Food allergy is quite rare with only about 2.5% of the population being diagnosed with the condition. The most common instances of food allergy are to peanuts, tree nuts (almonds and brazils), eggs, milk, fish and shellfish.
When exposed to the source of food allergy the body makes specific antibodies (IgE) to ‘fight off’ the allergens found in these foods. When the food is next eaten it triggers an immune system response which results in the release of histamine and other naturally occurring chemicals in the body. Allergic reactions to food can vary considerably in their severity and some can be fatal.

Food intolerance test

Process for a food intolerance test
This is a simple finger prick blood test where the sample can be taken in your own home or at my nutrition clinic. The sample is then posted back to the Lorisian laboratory (in a pre-paid envelope) where it is tested and analysed for IgG antibody reactions to a maximum of 150 food and drink ingredients.

The test is a laboratory analysed test. It is hospital standard and clinically validated. Results are available within 10 working days on receipt of sample. Included with your results is a 12 week food diary and support guide book. Colour coded test results highlight foods you need to avoid, limit or enjoy.

Quality of test results
False positive results are the biggest challenge for test providers. Lorisian use a proprietary formulation during the ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) test manufacturing process in order to block non-specific binding (false positive results).

The ELISA method detects circulating antibodies, which recognise and bind to purified food antigens. This method is used extensively in immunology and biochemistry.

They have data sets supporting a reproducibility of greater than 98%. This is achieved by using consistent and controlled manufacturing processes and operating procedures. Reproducibility performance is supported with regular routine quality control checks.

4 Options to choose from
1) Lorisian 50 (€149) – analyses your IgG antibody reaction to 50 food ingredients
2) Lorisian 75 (€199) – analyses your IgG antibody reaction to 75 food ingredients
3) Lorisian 100 (€249) – analyses your IgG antibody reaction to 100 food ingredients
4) Lorisian 150 (€299) – analyses your IgG antibody reaction to 150 food ingredients

To order a test call Caroline Seale, Nutritional Therapist at Discover Nutrition
on 087 1266525 or 056 7780658

Survey results

An independent customer survey conducted by AllergyUK(2007), carried out on 5,286 people – the results were then divided into patient groups and the findings are summarised below.

Main Medical Condition Reported % of People who reported moderate to high benefit
Gastro-intestinal e.g. IBS, bloating etc 80%
Respiratory e.g.   Asthma, breathing difficulties, Rhinitis 72%
Neurological e.g. Migraine, headaches 78%
Dermatological e.g. eczema, acne, psoriasis 76%
Musculo-skeletal e.g. Arthritis, Rheumatism 64%
Psychological e.g. depression, ADHD, Panic attacks 81%
Others e.g. tired all the time,   general feeling of malaise 79%

Optional (30 minute, follow on consultation for €30)
Following your results you have the option of a full one to one consultation with Caroline Seale, Nutritional Therapist and owner of Discover Nutrition to support symptoms and provide support in making dietary changes. If more than one food intolerance is detected then you may wish to follow guidance from a Nutritional Therapist who is trained in a protocol to help heal the gut lining so that the persons digestive system fully heals.  If a number of food intolerances exist then this may be a sign of what’s termed “leaky gut syndrome”, and a Nutritional Therapist can provide advice to support. This is done under the supervision of a Nutritional Therapist through removing the offending foods, replacing the foods with nutritious alternatives, and re-inoculating and repairing the gut lining. After a period of time the foods are re-introduced to monitor if symptoms return.

Further Reading….

All our immune systems are not the same
With an efficient immune response (i.e. a healthy person), the half-life of an immune complex (formed over time from antibodies) may be a few minutes which may NOT elicit symptoms.
However, an overload of antigen or poor immunity, will lead to deposits in joints, tissues and organs that maybe responsible for many of the symptoms that are seen in food intolerances.

The Role of IgG
One study assessed IgG levels in 114 patients with a history of delayed food allergies i.e. food intolerances*
An elimination diet based on these results, produced a 71% overall success rate.
In a sub group of these patients with chronic symptoms previously unresponsive to therapy – 20% experienced 100% relief.

*DixonHS. Treatment of delayed food allergy based on specific immunoglobulin G RAST Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000 Jul;123:48-54.