Food intolerance can occur when our bodies cannot properly digest and convert the foods we eat into the necessary nutrients that fuel our systems.
More simply, food intolerance can occur when you eat something but it fails to be properly broken down in the intestines. The main reason for this failure (maldigestion) is due to a lack of digestive enzymes – it’s their job to break down food molecules so that they can be properly absorbed into the bloodstream.
When the body doesn’t produce enough (or any) of an enzyme that a food requires for proper digestion, the proteins cannot convert into amino acids or nutrients, and will start accumulating in the gut and eventually make their way into the bloodstream improperly.
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Remember that when you have the flu, which also causes inflammation, you may experience a lot of discomfort including headaches, bloating, edema, fatigue, brain fog, stomach pains and more.
The reason for these discomforts is due to the fight between your immune system and the flu viruses. The immune system response in a food intolerance reaction is similar to the inflammation seen in a viral or bacterial infection. Differently from the flu, however, food intolerance related symptoms can sometimes persist over a lifetime if neglected.
The immune system identifies these partially digested proteins as foreign intruders and attacks them. This attack triggers inflammation in the gut – the immune system’s natural response to injuries and other harmful things that enter the body.
Just like when you have the flu, which also causes inflammation, the body’s fight against the imperfectly digested food can cause many negative symptoms including fatigue, migraine & headaches, eczema, bloating, gas, congestion, weight gain, brain fog, joint ache, acid reflux, food cravings, diarrhea, skin rash and more.
Differently from the flu, however, these food intolerance related symptoms can sometimes persist over a lifetime if neglected.
One of the more common side-effects of food intolerance is weight gain. This is mainly due to depleted levels of serotonin, the powerful chemical responsible for maintaining mood balance, social behavior, libido, memory, and digestive health. More importantly, though, serotonin also acts as the natural appetite suppressant in our bodies, making us feel satisfied even when our stomachs are not full.
When fighting a food intolerance, serotonin production (95% of which originates from the cells in our intestines) can decrease dramatically, leading to intense carb and sugar cravings.
This process can send the body into a vicious cycle of mood swings, depression, and unwanted cravings, all stemming from a fight against food intolerance.
One way to fight food intolerance related symptoms is to find out which particular foods give your digestive system issues, and eliminate them from your diet.
The traditional way to do this is to implement an exclusion diet. In other words, keep an ongoing food journal, and use it as a reference for when you start feeling any of the common symptoms. Then, once you think you’ve identified the specific food, eliminate it from your diet.
But this involves a lot of guess and check work. Because food intolerance symptoms can be delayed (in some cases up to 48 hours), it becomes very difficult to pinpoint the culprit. Often enough, an elimination diet alone can potentially lead to a misdiagnosis, which then leads to missing out on your favorite foods.
The more advanced way to identify which foods you’re intolerant to is to assess your blood with an IgG (FC Fragment Specific), Antigen, Antiserum, Control test. This state of the art examination only requires a few drops of blood from your fingertip.