Food intolerances are one of the most common causes of health complaints that bring kids into our clinic. Intolerances can cause an array of symptoms that can affect your child’s health and often go undiagnosed in the medical industry. This is largely because food intolerances can be difficult to diagnose without the right testing.
A food intolerance is very different to a food allergy. An allergy is more obvious, more severe and has more immediate symptoms- such as an egg or nut allergy that can cause immediate and obvious systems such as rashes and trouble breathing. An allergy involves an antibody known as IgE reaction.
A food intolerance is quite different. An intolerance is an IgG antibody reaction. A reaction can occur anywhere up to 3 days following consumption of the food. The level of reaction will also be dependent on how much of the food product your child has eaten. They may have the food only occasionally, and experience minimal or no symptoms. They may have the food daily and symptoms will be worse. As the symptoms can be delayed, it can be very hard to link symptoms back to a specific food, and this is why testing is useful.
What are common symptoms of food intolerances?
- Digestive symptoms- such as bloating, abdominal pains, cramping, diarrhoea and/or constipation
- Headaches or migraines
- Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, acne or dermatitis
- Immune issues such as sinusitis, ear infections, asthma, chronic coughing, hayfever
- Mood changes, fatigue, poor sleep
- Learning difficulties, ADD, ADHD, cognitive delay
- Dark circles under the eyes
Food intolerance testing
Having any of the symptoms above is enough to lead you to suspect food intolerance. We recommend testing as the fastest and most accurate way to diagnose food intolerances as the other option is to undertake a grand elimination diet. This involves following a very restricted diet for a period of 4 weeks- usually only including a handful of foods such as rice, chicken, pears, apples and some green veggies. You then slowly re-introduce suspect foods, looking out for symptoms over the space of 3-4 months. To do this properly takes many months- this is why the blood test that we offer at Better Health is the best way to go! The testing gives you a practical list of food that you are intolerant too which is the easiest way to determine if intolerances are impacting on your health. Our Naturopaths Aimee and Hayley will then prepare for you and your child a healthy eating plan for based on avoiding any food intolerances and reaching optimal health.
If you suspect food intolerances may be playing a part in your children’s health, please contact Hayley or Aimee at Better Health for more information on testing, pricing and procedures.
By Hayley Stockbridge, Naturopath at Better Health Practice