Food intolerances are inappropriate, pathological reactions to food, which are the result of enzyme deficiencies (the lack or too low activity of digestive enzymes). Digestive enzymes are involved in the breakdown of nutrients into the smallest particles (monomers), used to nourish every cell of the body. When the enzyme is of low biological activity, it does not digest food, thus unbroken nutrients remains in the digestive tract, causing gastrointestinal problems..
The best known food intolerances include:
- lactose intolerance – a problem of high percent inhabitants of Western societies. The intolerance is defined as lack of lactase enzyme, digesting sugar milk – lactose. A parson lacking lactase manifest diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain after eating dairy products. Parallely, similar ailments may not be induced by fermented dairy products (yogurt, kefir etc.), due to the content of the bacterial enzyme – lactase – in the product. Lactose intolerance may be innate or acquired. Acquired intolerance develops frequently as a result of the use of antibiotics, which destroy the intestinal microflora, being a rich source of lactase. In such situation, it is recommended to evaluate the composition of the intestinal microflora and administer targeted probiotics to relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
- fructose intolerance – deficiency of the enzyme that breaks down fruit sugar – fructose. After eating foods rich in fructose, digestive problems occur. The diet is based primarily on the reduction / exclusion of fruits and some vegetables from the diet
- biogenic amine intolerance (histamine and others) – symptoms are very similar to allergy symptoms, although the mechanism does not involve antibodies production. Biogenic amine intolerance is sometimes called pseudoallergy and results from deficiency of the diamine oxidase enzyme. After eating foods rich in histamine, long-lasting diarrhea, headaches, redness and swelling of the skin, rash, nasal discharge, arrhythmia and a number of other symptoms appear. Diet in the intolerance of histamine is quite complicated, because many foods contain histamine.
One should remember that food intolerance is not equal to allergy. Allergy activates the immune system and is caused by food proteins. Intolerance is not associated with immune activation and is caused by sugars (carbohydrates).
Effective diet should be based on the real cause of the complaints after eating food.
In case of food intolerances, the following tests are recommended:
– Lactose intolerance
– Fructose intolerance
– Histamine intolerance