What is food intolerance and its treatment?


The body towards foods that are not fully or partially digested, metabolized, or assimilated.

Two types of food intolerance must be differentiated according to the process they occur metabolic food intolerances and nonspecific food intolerances. 

The former occurs because the body does not digest well or does not metabolize food correctly, which is due to organic failure. The second is because the body does not properly assimilate the food, regardless of the individual’s clinical status. It occurs in both healthy and unhealthy people, and the food itself causes intolerance to the body and not vice versa, as in the first case.

Metabolic intolerances are detected by specific tests of the discrimination to be diagnosed since they are caused by a metabolic deficit that must be seen, as is the case of lactose intolerance. 

In which the body has a total debt or part of the lactase enzyme, which is the one that metabolizes lactose. 

When there is this deficit, the food that contains lactose is poorly digested and produces certain digestive or other disorders. Similar processes occur in other cases, such as fructose intolerance, or another order of things, with gluten intolerance, etc. Some of these intolerances at the Madrid Nutrition and Genetics Clinic are determined using DNA molecular genetic analysis techniques.

Nonspecific intolerances are very complex and difficult to diagnose. They are produced by poor assimilation of food so that the part that is not processed correctly can have certain disorders in the individual (which are mentioned later). 

However, we must bear in mind that intolerant foods can not always produce these adverse effects. It can even produce them on certain occasions and not on others. However, since we do not know when its effect can be triggered, it is always advisable to eliminate it. 

It must also be considered that this type of intolerance is not for life but is temporary. It changes with eating habits, over time, and with lifestyle.

Thus, Nonspecific food intolerances are specific to each individual. They depend on the state in which we consume a portion of food, that is, on its composition, so that when it varies, its ability to generate intolerance can vary. 

This means that a food component does not produce intolerance by how we consume it, which differentiates between food intolerance and allergy.

Allergy is an immediate reaction of the body in which immunoglobulins E (IgE) are mainly produced due to the presence of certain substances identified as foreign bodies by the body. 

At the same time, intolerance is slower and difficult to detect, whose manifestations are usually diffuse and difficult to relate to its cause.

Intolerances can be caused by accidentally ingested food, drinks, additives, drugs, or other products. The mechanism by which they originate is largely unknown. 

However, we know that they are produced by accumulating food components that are not properly assimilated. This generates an inflammatory reaction that sometimes manifests itself with various clinical symptoms. 

That is, when a food intolerance occurs, one or more foods generate an abnormal response from the body and trigger disorders, either digestive or of another type, which in most cases are not related to the food or foods that originate them, since nonspecific symptoms are produced that lead to chronic pathologies.

Disorders caused by food intolerances

Food intolerances produce a series of diverse disorders. Among the most common, which have been related to food intolerances, and which in most cases, after eliminating the food or foods that produce them, have been corrected, are the following:

  1. Gastrointestinal Disorders: Bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome.
  2. Dermatological processes: Acne, eczema, psoriasis, skin rashes, hives, itching.
  3. Neurological disorders: Headache, migraine, dizziness, vertigo, fatigue.
  4. Overweight and obesity. In obese people, who do not respond to the usual slimming treatments, weight loss has been experienced by eliminating intolerable foods from the diet. For this reason, the Food Intolerance Test is highly indicated as a test to be included in the usual clinical examinations before establishing a diet aimed at treating obesity.
  5. Muscular and rheumatic disorders: fatigue, joint pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia.
  6. Respiratory discomfort: Asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, respiratory distress.
  7. Psychological disorders: Anxiety, lethargy, depression, hyperactivity (especially in children).
  8. Others: Fluid retention, fibromyalgia, joint inflammation.

In short, by diagnosing and eliminating foods that are not tolerated, significant improvements in symptoms have been achieved in more than half of the cases. In general, the improvement is perceived after one or two months of establishing an adequate diet. 

It is, therefore, a very important clinical option to take into account when these pathologies manifest themselves since, using a simple test, they can be reduced or eliminated.

For example, at the Madrid Nutrition and Genetics Clinic, we have different methods to identify food intolerances and help their treatment to achieve a recovery of the normal state of health.