Currently the only tried and tested treatment for food intolerance is to avoid the foods that cause the reaction. There are new treatments in development and some complementary practitioners offer treatments some of which are being tested by the mainstream medical community.
Eliminate problem foods
With food sensitivity, most people find that once they drop the food from their diet their symptoms disappear over time. It can take time for this to happen, but most people find that they begin to feel better within a week or two.
Eliminating allergens from your diet is the only tried and tested way to deal with food sensitivity. It is the oldest treatment for food intolerance and still the best approach. However, working out which foods you should be avoiding can take time.
In most parts of the world, there are long waiting lists to see the professionals who can help you to find out which foods are causing you issues. Even once, you get to see an allergist or nutritionist; it can take time to get a diagnosis. Tests take time to conduct and sometimes it is necessary to go on an elimination diet to identify the foods that are causing your symptoms.
As a result, you need to understand how to dampen down your symptoms in the meantime.
Reducing the Symptoms of Food Intolerance
Antihistamines can help to reduce swelling and itching. You can use laxatives to deal with constipation, and medications to ease diarrhoea as well as flatulence medications to deal with gas. All of these drugs can help you to get through your day-to-day life while you work out which foods you are sensitive to.
Naturally, over time these medications can cause adverse side effects. The longer you take them the more likely you are to experience side effects, and if you keep taking them for too long they can cause long-term health issues.
For this reason, it is best not to ignore the symptoms of food sensitivity. It is important to work out which foods do not agree with you and avoid them.
The Future of Food Intolerance Treatment
As I said at the beginning, new treatments are being researched. These new treatments are mainly being developed because of the urgent need to treat food allergies, which can be dangerous and is a health issue that is affecting more people every year. However, these new food allergy treatments have the potential to be adapted and used by those who are sensitive to certain foods.
What is Desensitization?
One of the most promising areas of research is desensitization, which is also known as oral immunotherapy.
Oral immunotherapy can be used to break down sensitivity to certain foods. It works in a similar way to allergen-specific immunotherapy, which has been used for decades to treat environmental allergies like hay fever.
The way it works is that a tiny amount of the allergen is administered orally to the person with the sensitivity. The amount is so small that it does not cause a reaction.
Over time, the amount given is gradually increased. For those with food intolerances there is the potential for their bodies to be able to eventually cope with the food or be far less likely to overact to that particular food. I plan to cover this therapy in detail later because it is a promising treatment, which I know from a family member’s experience can help a lot.
Another promising area of research is protein engineering. Most of the time food sensitivity happens because the body reacts adversely to certain proteins in a food. The irony is that 90%, or more, of the proteins in that food are actually completely acceptable to the body and very useful. Eliminate or change those few proteins that cause the issue and you solve most of the issues.
That is what the medical community are trying to do with protein engineering except they are re-engineering the proteins to change the way they interact with the body’s immune system. Currently the research into protein engineering is being done to try to make oral immunotherapy safer and more predictable for use to treat food allergies and avoid anaphylactic shock during desensitization treatment.
Injections of Anti Allergic Antibodies
People who suffer from asthma can benefit from regular injections of anti-allergic antibodies (anti-Ige). It may be possible to use the same method to help those with food allergies or intolerances to dampen down the immune system. Stopping it from overreacting when certain foods are eaten.
Turning off the Allergic Response
Another area of research is turning off the body’s natural allergic response. This has been done in mice and researchers are working on doing the same in humans.
Blood is drawn from the patient. Proteins from the offending foods are attached to the leukocytes in the blood that has been extracted from the body.
Once the proteins have been attached, the blood is reintroduced into the body. This tricks the body into viewing the proteins it once thought of as enemies as normal, which means that foods containing that protein can be eaten without any adverse affects.
Again it is very much early days for this treatment and it is likely to prove expensive, so it will probably only be used on those with life threatening food allergies. However, in time the cost should fall, so those with intolerances could potentially benefit too and some may want to pay to be treated privately.
There is little doubt that among these new ideas there will be a least one good treatment for food intolerance. The mechanism that causes an allergic reaction in the body is better understood than it has ever been before. Once how the reaction happens is understood it becomes far easier to treat the condition.
Solutions Offered by Complementary Medicine
For centuries, herbal remedies have been used to help people with digestive issues. Today research is going on to see if any of these natural remedies could improve things for people who suffer from food allergies or intolerance. I am currently researching this subject and plan to write about it in depth at some point in the future.
There is also some evidence that acupressure or acupuncture may help to reduce the symptoms of food sensitivity. I will also look into that option and write about that in the future. If you are an acupuncturist that offers treatment for food intolerance to your clients I would like to hear from you.
Eating a More Varied Diet
Another potential way to deal with food intolerance is to eat a more varied diet. Some who have worked in the field for decades have noticed that people who tend to eat the same things every day have more of a tendency to develop issues with foods than those who eat a more varied diet. Exactly why this is not understood, however, some nutritionists recommend that people eat as varied a diet as possible.
This is really a way of stopping you from developing food sensitivity in the first place. However, some nutritionists believe it may also greatly benefit people who have food sensitivities by reducing background issues caused by a build up of certain chemicals and toxins.
Some research suggests the healthier your diet is the less likely you are to suffer from all kinds of allergies, which is food for thought.
Do You Know an Effective Treatment for Food Intolerance?
I would love to know if you have experience of any of the alternative treatments. Also, if you are aware of another effective treatment for food intolerance I would love to hear about them and read the studies on those treatments, so please drop me a line or post a comment below.