Do I have a gluten or dairy food intolerance?
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Do I have a gluten or dairy food intolerance?

If you’ve ever eaten a meal only to find that you later experience uncomfortable bloating, wind, nausea, brain fog or loose stools, you may have considered that you have a food intolerance. These days food intolerances are more prevalent than ever before. As awareness around the issues of food and gut health has risen, it’s resulted in more diagnoses and treatment for those who previously were suffering without knowing why.

If you’re experiencing symptoms such as those outlined above or just feel downright rotten after most meals, here is everything you need to know about getting to the bottom of the issue.

Intolerance vs food allergy – what’s the difference?

Food intolerances are far more common than food allergies and coeliac disease combined, affecting as many as 20% of adults. Although they’re not life-threatening, they can have a significant impact on the quality of your life and your relationship with food, so they must be identified so that you can learn how to manage them efficiently.

If left untreated, food intolerances have the potential to develop into something more serious – leading to conditions such as IBS, unexplained weight gain or loss, thyroid problems and MS.

On the other hand, food allergies often cause serious health issues, including hives, throat swelling, and in some more severe cases, death. It’s an immune system response to food elements that are otherwise harmless to others. When the body believes that a particular food is harmful, the immune system produces antibodies to fight off the allergen, releasing defensive chemicals that cause severe inflammation.

How to recognise and manage lactose and dairy intolerance

Lactose intolerance is one of the most common food sensitives. In fact, according to some studies, 75% of the world’s population are lactose intolerant.

If you experience any of the following symptoms between thirty minutes and two hours after consumption, you may have lactose intolerance:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps

If you suspect that lactose and dairy are the cause of your symptoms, the next step is to cut it from your diet to see if it makes a difference. But never embark on an elimination programme without including the advice of a nutritional therapist. When cutting out foods or food groups, you need to know how to replace the nutrients lost.

It would help if you also considered taking a breath test to try and diagnose your intolerance. Our food allergy and intolerance tests are a quick, reliable, and accurate way of identifying food reactions.

We can test over 100 essential food and drink items, including wheat, gluten, dairy, milk, eggs, nuts and many more. With the help and support of our GP and nutritionist, you will have the option to start a guided elimination diet, optimising your intake of foods and drinks based on your test results.

How to recognise and manage a gluten intolerance

Over recent years, more and more people have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance or sensitivity than ever before. As a result, it’s now a clinically recognised disorder: non-celiac gluten sensitivity or NCGS (the body’s immune response to wheat and gluten).

If you suspect it may be gluten that is causing your symptoms, look out for the following signs:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Constipation

As with lactose intolerance, the next step is to eliminate gluten from your diet under the advice of a nutritional therapist.

Once you have your intolerance under control, you can expect to see a reduction in symptoms in as little as two to three weeks.

Some people can tolerate the eliminated foods after letting their gut repair for three to six months. It’s essential to identify your own personal cut-off points and how much of a particular food your body can manage.

If you are concerned about food intolerances, click here to find out more information about the available tests here at Illuminate Skin Clinic. Alternatively, click here for more information about Nutritional Therapy and how working with a qualified nutrition practitioner can help you.

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    Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.

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