Many people regularly suffer from ailments such as abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhoea and constipation. One possible reason for this is the presence of incompatibilities (intolerances) towards food. Unlike food allergies, intolerances are often delayed, which makes their diagnosis difficult. It may make sense to keep a close eye on meals and complaints and to be tested if you suspect an intolerance.
Types of intolerances
If you have intolerance, certain substances from the food in the intestine cannot be properly utilised, which leads to problems in digestion and sometimes elsewhere in the body.
- Histamine intolerance: Histamine is a messenger substance produced in the body, but it is also found in foods such as red wine, cheese and sausage. If the body breaks down the histamine from food too slowly due to an intolerance, it can cause discomfort impacting on the whole body, with symptoms such as diarrhoea, skin irritation, runny nose and headache.
- Lactose intolerance: Lactose is another word for the milk sugar found in milk and in many other dairy products, such as quark, yoghurt, cream and many cheeses. In case of intolerance, the enzyme lactase in the intestine is deficient, so that the lactose can no longer be broken down effectively enough.
- Fructose intolerance: The fruit sugar fructose is found in fruits, certain vegetables finished products, and in table sugar. If the intestine cannot properly absorb fructose due to a defective transport protein, fructose intolerance will result.
- Sorbitol intolerance: Sorbitol, a sugar substitute, is found in some types of fruit, dried fruit, sweets and as an additive in dietary “light” foods. If there is intolerance, sorbitol is degraded in the small intestine too slowly or even not at all.
- Gluten intolerance (coeliac disease): In coeliac disease, the immune system reacts against the protein gluten occurring in many cereal grains. This causes inflammation that can permanently damage the intestinal mucosa.
Test for intolerance
Using the cerascreen® self-tests you can test whether you have an intolerance towards histamine, lactose, fructose, gluten or sorbitol. The tests are performed by blood or respiratory gas analysis, and in both cases, you can simply take a sample in the comfort of your home. Our specialist laboratory will then analyse your sample, and you shall then receive a detailed results report containing advice about your intolerances.
Change your diet
If you have been diagnosed with a food intolerance, a change in diet is usually the only effective therapy. For some intolerances, such as coeliac disease, you must give up the food that you cannot tolerate for life. Sometimes that is not that easy. Gluten, fructose and sorbitol in particular are concealed in numerous foods and finished food products. This then means that you have to zealously study ingredient lists and ask about ingredients when eating out.
That's why some people quickly feel helpless when it comes to their diet. In such cases, nutritional counselling can help. This will teach you what to look out for with your specific intolerance and how to enjoy a delicious and balanced diet, even if some things have to be left out.