We are what we eat!
Our health is a combination of a number of external and internal factors. Genetics and environment work in synergy to make us who we are. One of the most popular factors, and perhaps the most significant one, is food. In the age of instant over sharing and ensuring aesthetic over quality, we often see but don’t really understand what is on our plate.
Most people are aware of common food allergies and how to deal with them, regardless of whether they suffer from it or not. Food intolerance on the other hand isn’t a widely popular or understood concept, as it should it. One may think that dish was under cooked, or a spice overpowered the whole dish, or the food contained ‘something that didn’t sit well with me’ and attribute to it as a cause of a physical reaction of discomfort after eating certain foods. Seldom do people realize that they may be intolerant.
Food Allergy and Food Intolerance: The Difference
Many think that food allergy and food intolerance are same, but actually they are not. Food Allergy is caused due to an immune reaction towards a specific food protein (allergen). Food intolerance is actually a digestive system response to certain foods. Food Allergy is an acute immediate reaction, whereas food intolerance is a chronicle reaction. For example, lactose intolerance is a condition where one’s body cannot successfully digest milk. It does not make a person allergic to all milk byproducts.
Trends in India
Metropolis Healthcare is one of the first labs to conduct a detailed research study using the Protein Microarray Biochip Test for Food intolerance. Using the microarray biochip, 220 food items are embedded on the chip and fluorescence Elisa is used for reporting. The data collected by Metropolis was analyzed age-wise and food item wise and the Percent positivity were calculated. Cut off levels were set, so that based on the values generated from the test researchers can then identify whether the food tolerance for the patient was normal, borderline or elevated. Only patients who had elevated results were retested after a specified amount time recommended by the doctors. The final results of the test found that most women, men, and children are intolerant to cow milk and wheat.
Testing and Management
The reason it is most essential to know what food or ingredient one is intolerant to is that long-term consumption of non-tolerated food causes gut inflammation and accounts for development of various chronic diseases. This in turn may lead to several other health problem and serious chronic conditions. Elimination of diets based on food intolerance testing is recommended in irritable bowel syndrome, atopic dermatitis, and more such conditions.
Most doctors believe that the protein miccroarray food intolerance test is a better tool for identifying Food Intolerance in the most non-invasive, adjuvant, objective and quantitative manner. The information provided by this test gives better insight for diet planning in terms of avoidance or usage of alternate sources for certain foods. Patients can further seek better guidance and interpretation of the reports from gastroenterologist and dieticians to correct their eating habits.
Those who are taking the test need to keep some points in mind. The patients need to include everything they normally eat in their diet for at least two weeks before testing. This test is not recommended for children under 2 years and pregnant women.