This week is national Food allergy and Intolerance week – for more information about this campaign week please visit the Allergy UK website. “Allergy UK is a national medical charity established to represent the views and needs of people with allergy, food intolerance and chemical sensitivity”
Allergy UK say: “Too often allergy or intolerance sufferers become labeled as being fussy eaters or just thought to be following the latest fad, this could not be further from the truth. Stolen Lives 7 – Food Allergy and Intolerance Report (available at the Allergy UK website), by Allergy UK highlights how difficult it is to live with a food allergy and intolerance. The most simple of choices such as what to make for dinner or what to put in their child’s packed lunch becomes a nightmare”.
It can be really challenging to decipher whether abdominal/gut or other irritating symptoms are due to stress, illness or a food intolerance or allergy. Often medical doctors disregard the idea of intolerances but as mentioned above the symptoms can be very distressing, and certainly very real, to the sufferer. Allergy UK say: “Finding out what you are intolerant to is the another priority for many. The lack of understanding regarding food intolerance within the medical profession leads many to search for a reliable test to identify the cause of their problems. A staggering 88% of respondents reported that they had suffered for years before they found help in managing their food intolerance with little or no help from their GP. Thankfully a new food intolerance testing kit, which detects foods specific IgG antibodies, Food Detective™ has been launched by Cambridge Nutritional Sciences Ltd. Food Detective™ is reliable and simple to use at home”. The Food Detective kit is widely available and can be purchased here.
If you decide to use the Food Detective test kit I would urge you to see a registered Nutritionist or Nutritional practitioner, or indeed a sympathetic GP, to go over the results with you. It is never a good idea to simply cut out whole food groups as this can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other problems.
There are two websites I would recommend where you can search for registered practitioners in your area:
1) The UK voluntary resister of nutritionists
2) The British association for applied nutrition and nutritional therapy
For more information about what food allergies and intolerances are and what causes them visit the allergy UK website
The most common symptoms of an allergy or intolerance are:
*Itchy eyes and ears
*Severe wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath
Symptoms of intolerances and allergy can be eased with nutritional and dietary help. For more information on this I would suggest you read the two posts that I wrote about asthma (Part 1. Part 2.) and also my posts regarding hay fever. Some general advice would be to boost the immune system via a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits which provide vitamins and bioflavonoids. In addition to this omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish e.g. salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines (at least two portions per week) are really helpful to the immune system and also to reduce inflammation in the body. Probiotics have also been found to be useful for allergy prevention, symptom easing and for boosting immune health. I have discussed these points further in the posts mentioned above. Taking an omega 3 fatty acid supplement may be incredibly useful to ease allergic symptoms. Many people in the UK do not get enough of these essential fats in their diet. A supplement providing about 250-350mg EPA and 250-350mg DHA daily could be considered. For vegetarians and vegans a flaxseed oil supplement containing around 500-1000mg alpha linoleic acid daily is an option, vegetarian EPA and DHA supplements made from algae are becoming more available to buy and provide a good choice.
Written by Ani Kowal