What are the common symptoms of a food intolerance?

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It’s estimated that around 45% of adults in the UK suffer with a food intolerance. With almost half the population experiencing issues with something in their diet, it’s clear that food intolerances are common. But are the symptoms?

Everyone’s diet is different, and how we react to particular foods varies greatly from person to person. An ingredient that may cause problems for you, won’t necessarily trigger any issues for your friends or family members. It’s also the case that the symptoms of a food intolerance can vary greatly too, both in terms of the type of physical problems themselves, and also the severity of the reaction.

For some, food intolerance symptoms are mild enough to be little more than an occasional annoyance. For others, they can be debilitating, causing frequent pain and discomfort.

Some people only experience one particular symptom, such as bloating. For others, they might notice a range of problems, from migraines to skin irritation. Because food intolerances are so individual, it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of the problem, and hard to compare accurately against other people’s experiences.

If you think you might have a food intolerance, it’s worth keeping track of your symptoms, and your diet, to see if you can spot a pattern.

Tummy troubles

One of the most common complaints associated with food intolerance, stomach issues are frequently flagged as a side effect of eating problem foods.

This can include bloating, diarrhoea or constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Acid reflux, wind and abdominal pain can also be uncomfortable signs of a food intolerance, that flare up after a problem food is eaten.

It’s very common for people to complain of bloating and blame carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread or pasta. But often in the case of food intolerance, the problem is linked to a different ingredient that you might not expect.

Skin signs

Do you find you often have flare ups of acne? Perhaps you have recurring psoriasis that causes itchy patches of dry and scaly skin. Or do you suffer with painful eczema? All these skin conditions can be linked to, or made worse by, a food intolerance.

As food intolerances are linked to inflammation, it’s not surprising that the signs can show up on our skin when we continue to eat the foods our bodies react to.

A joint problem

Our joints can often become swollen and painful after injury or prolonged wear and tear over a long period of time. But this discomfort can also flare up as the result of a food intolerance, when the body releases antibodies to fight the food it perceives as a threat, triggering inflammation.

If you find yourself often suffering with sore, stiff joints that can’t be explained by exercise, it might be worth looking at your diet to understand if something you’re eating could be triggering the discomfort.

What a headache

There are many reasons we can suffer with a headache. Dehydration, the wrong prescription for your glasses, staring at screens for too long and stress all contribute to causing that throbbing pain in your head.

But if your headaches persist, and aren’t caused by those common triggers or something more serious underlying, it might be a good idea to take a closer look at your diet.

Headaches, migraine and brain fog – a fuzzy inability to focus – can all be triggered by a food intolerance.

Mood food

It’s been said that the gut is like a second brain. Ever felt butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous? The Enteric Nervous System (ENS) is a network of brain-like neurons wrapped in and around our gut. In constant communication with our brain via the vagus nerve, the ENS makes our whole digestive system incredibly sensitive to our moods, and vice versa. So, it makes sense that, if our gut is unbalanced, our mood may follow.

Low mood, anxiety and depression can all be triggered by an unhappy stomach, which in itself is another common symptom of food intolerance.

Take a breath

While serious and sudden breathing difficulty is commonly associated with a food allergy, less severe respiratory symptoms can be linked to food intolerance.

If you suffer with bouts of asthma, or often find yourself with a persistently runny nose (rhinitis), it could be the case that something in your diet is to blame.

Why food intolerances are hard to pinpoint

The traditional ‘gold standard’ method used to discover a food intolerance is an elimination diet. This slow process involves removing one food from your diet at a time, for a few weeks per ingredient, and tracking how you feel.

As food intolerance sufferers react, on average, to between 4-6 ingredients, it can take a long time before you have all the information about the foods that you personally react to. It’s not uncommon for people to end the elimination diet early before all trigger foods have been found, thinking they have solved the issue after finding just one of the problem ingredients.

Taking control of your food intolerances

At Smartblood, we offer a comprehensive test to help you take control of your diet quickly, and discover your own particular trigger foods.

Our home-to-laboratory service, using ELISA plate testing, gives you fast, accurate results that pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days.

The test is supported by a 30-minute telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist to help you understand your results and make safe, sustainable changes to your diet.

Could YOU have a food Intolerance?
Find out Now with a Smartblood Test.

If you think that food intolerance may be responsible for your symptoms then we believe that our easy-to-complete tests could help you. Find all your food intolerances at once with a full Smartblood test.

The full Smartblood test is a complete program and is a great way to discover all of your food sensitivities and take control over your own personal trigger foods.

Around 10% of our customers exhibit no IgG reactions to the 134 foods whatsoever – for tests conducted from October 2023, we are providing non-reactive customers with a FULL REFUND so they can continue their investigations through other testing.

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