How Does Food Intolerance Develop? – Dr Gill Hart Explains

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With food intolerance now said to be affecting almost 50% of the population according to leading charity Allergy UK, the food intolerance industry has become big news. Innovative food intolerance tests which allow you to find out if you have certain problems to food such as dairy and wheat intolerance has made it easy for people to get a better understanding of how their bodies function. However how do we all of a sudden go from being trouble free to then suffer with food intolerance?

Dr. Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest Laboratories, says that “for food intolerances to develop something has to have changed within your body; foods that are normally eaten without ill affect have become foreign and reactive.” But what could have happened for your body to all of a sudden become sensitive to a certain food?

There are actually numerous reasons as to why this can happen however it all centers our digestive system. As Dr. Hart explains “our digestive system contains more immune cells and produces more antibodies than any other organ in the body. Our gut lining acts as a second “skin”; a highly selective barrier that is in place to protect our internal environment; protecting us from harmful toxins, bacteria and incompletely digested foods, yet making sure that essential nutrients and digested foods are freely allowed into the bloodstream.

This balance between an efficient passage of nutrients and the restriction of the entry of larger molecules, such as larger proteins, is critical. If the barrier fails for any reason, causing what is called “leaky gut”, this leads to an increase in the passage of allergens and larger food particles triggering multiple complex immune responses, inflammation and food intolerance symptoms. The inflammation in turn causes further damage and a vicious circle of increased gut permeability.”

This effect can then contribute to a host of common symptoms that can make life quite unpleasant for many people. Certain problems like IBS, bloating, fatigue, migraines, eczema, can all be brought about due to a problematic food. So what can be done if you suspect you have food intolerance?

“The first action you need to take is to confirm you actually have food intolerance” says Dr Hart. “The best way to determine this is through taking a food intolerance test that can measure food-specific IgG antibodies which helps to identify food groups that your body may be reacting to.”

With food intolerance becoming more widely known there has been an explosion of different tests on the market as people have realised it is big business. However Dr Hart advises that you look out for tests that are reputable and offer help as part of a food intolerance programme.

“There are many tests on the market today with questionable validity and many of these do not offer any support for the person who has taken the test. Finding out you have food intolerance can result in people to making uninformed decisions regarding their diets which can do a lot more harm than good. For these reason I cannot stress enough the importance of nutritional advice that you can get as part of an on-going programme.”

YorkTest Laboratories have been creating innovative food intolerance and allergy tests for over 25 years. For more information about food intolerance and to find out about their programme visit or call 0800 074 6185.