Suffering terribly with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), my doctor has given me the all clear for hidden illness but my symptoms persist, so I decided to look into food sensitivity testing. Identifying possible trigger foods and reducing or removing them from the diet can improve digestion and minimise symptoms such as pain and cramping, constipation/diarrhoea, trapped wind and bloating, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. I took my boyfriend Freddy along with me for support, however after seeing my results he booked in to have a test of his own with an alarming response.
Launched in the UK in 1987, the same year that I was born, this programme identifies food sensitivity by painlessly combining electro-dermal testing with homoeopathy. Once a food is identified as a potential problem it can then be removed from the diet for a period of time before being re-introduced to see if the symptoms return – this is the elimination programme followed by the re-introduction programme.
Food sensitivities are thankfully not life threatening like food allergies, but can be triggered by many different things from menstruation, temperature changes, emotion, and psychological problems to chemicals, additives, flavourings, colourings, emulsifiers, fungicides and insecticides to name but a few.
After food is eaten it passes through the stomach to the intestines and must be broken down by enzymes within the bowel in order to enter the blood stream. The main foods that cause food intolerances are wheat, dairy, sugar and yeast with some food intolerances being hereditary.
Following the elimination of trigger foods the body initiates withdrawal symptoms which include headaches, fatigue, twitching and moodiness which can last between 5-15 days. Drinking plenty of water at this time and keeping hydrated is essential to help flush out the residues with a life without food sensitivity symptoms being well worth the initial withdrawal.
Keeping a food diary to note down what we’ve eaten throughout the week and the symptoms incurred allows us to see a bigger picture of the way our bodies respond to triggers. If after removing a food, it can be safely re-introduced or avoided altogether based on the response and symptoms, if any.
The non-invasive test involved removing our jewellery and holding a metal rod in one hand whilst our consultant, Eric Murphy, pressed a metal receiver onto a finger of the other hand; this allowed a mild electrical current to pass through the body and into a machine which measured the response to a variety of foods, vitamins, minerals and alcohol stored in test tubes and inserted into the device one at a time.
Fascinatingly I was identified as having a food intolerance to wheat, oats, barley, rye, vodka, whiskey and beer which I must now avoid indefinitely. Freddy discovered an intolerance of eggs, bananas, yeast and sugar which he is able to remove from his diet for three months to allow his symptoms to subside before re-introducing them gradually.
Considering Freddy’s mild symptoms of bloating and fatigue, he never questioned the possibility of having a food intolerance himself and the fact he is intolerant to more foods than I am when I suffer from IBS is shocking. It goes to show that the daily aches and pains that we just put-up with or presume are down to being over-worked or ageing are in fact symptoms of our struggling digestive system which can be treated and cured.
Armed with the knowledge of our exact intolerances we are now able to make healthier lifestyle choices and food swaps for alternative produce and free-from ranges in order to reduce our digestive symptoms and feel healthier, happier and more energetic.
Suitable for all ages from 5yrs+ aside from pregnant women and those with pace makers, this is the one test that we should all take. After doctors have ruled out the possibility of an illness, assessing our intolerances should be our next port of call if symptoms persist – we needn’t live in discomfort.
Sona Health, 4 Bourbon Street, Aylesbury HP20 2RR
Eric Murphy: [email protected]