The Causes of Food Intolerance

This page gives you a quick overview of the different causes of food intolerance issues. There is still a lot of research being done, but this page reflects the current understanding of what causes food hypersensitivity.

The main causes of food sensitivity

Below I have summarised the main causes of food intolerances. There are more reasons being uncovered, but this page reflects our current understanding of the subject. It is also believed that some of these issues can lead to full blown food allergies. However, for people who suffer from actual allergies the cause is usually directly connected to the way their body functions rather than due to outside influences like parasites, or chemicals. Although, they can sometimes play a role and exacerbate an underlying issue the person was born with. 

1. Missing digestive enzymes

The body not being able to break down certain compounds found in some foods can cause the symptoms. This is normally because the body is missing at least one digestive enzyme. Or has very low levels of some or all of them.

Research into this is still being carried out. Perhaps the most comprehensive study is this one. This is a quote from the team that carried out this research.

This is a quote from the team that carried out this research.

Based on the here reviewed data it is evident that functional gastric digestion is important for food allergy prevention. Impairment of physiological peptic digestion has repeatedly been reported to be associated with food allergy induction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5467726/

I have personally found that my digestion improved greatly after taking Bio Kult for a couple of weeks. But do not know for sure how much impact it had on my ability to eat the foods that normally cause me problems. This is because things were already starting to improve for me because of the elimination diet I was already following.

2. Autoimmune disorders

Certain autoimmune diseases cause what are classified as intolerances. Celiac disease is an example of this.

The disease means that gluten cannot be digested properly by the body. Over time, the digestive system is damaged. When the problem gets bad enough it can be seen when a biopsy is taken and studied under a microscope. 

At that point, the person is normally diagnosed with celiac disease and put on a gluten-free diet. This eliminates the irritant that is inflaming the gut and causing it to break down. Over the course of many months, often years, some of the damage heals.

You can find out more about managing celiac disease here.

3. Adverse chemical reactions

Sometimes a chemical reaction within the body causes the symptoms of food intolerances. Often foods that contain certain chemicals trigger this reaction. Most of the intolerances that are caused by food additives fall into this category.

The exact mechanism of this type of food sensitivity is still not fully understood. Research is ongoing. However, it is thought that mast cells over-reacting is the root cause.

4. Naturally occurring histamine in foods

Histamine is a chemical that the body automatically releases as part of an allergic reaction. Everyone has background histamine levels and most people’s bodies can cope with eating histamine rich foods, but for some people doing so tips their body over into an allergic-like reaction. It causes itching, hives etc.

Foods like mushrooms, vinegar, smoked fish, pickled foods and many others all contain high levels of histamine.

5. Toxins in food

It is possible to mistake food poisoning for intolerance of a certain food. This is especially the case with foods that carry a high level of stomach bugs.

Studies have shown that in some areas over 50% of the oysters sold and eaten raw have some sort of stomach bug. This means the chances of stomach issues are high when you eat them, so it is easy to end up believing that your body cannot cope with oysters when in fact your symptoms are caused by a stomach virus. The video at the end of this page explains more about the way naturally occurring toxins in food can cause symptoms that are similar to those that occur with food allergies and intolerance.

6. How food is cooked and stored

Food & Drink

The way you cook certain foods also has an impact on what toxins are released and, therefore, whether you can eat them. Piyaz undercooked beans contain toxins that some people’s bodies cannot tolerate, but they are fine if they eat well-cooked beans.

Rice is another culprit. Freshly cooked rice has no toxins. Let it cool and you can get a build-up of toxins, which can cause sickness and diarrhoea.

6. Parasites

There is some indication that parasites can play a role in how sensitive someone is to certain foods. This cause is recognised by the mainstream medical community, but some research indicates that parasites can play a role in food sensitivity.

6. Tick bites – red meat food intolerance

One of the strangest causes of food intolerance, or allergies, is tick bites. Again, something that for decades has been dismissed as impossible by the medical community has finally been proven. Some people who are bitten by ticks find that they cannot eat red meat as a result. As you can see from this research, some people who have been bitten by The Lone Star tick find that eating beef, and, sometimes, other red meats leads to an allergic reaction.

Finding out more about the underlying causes of food intolerance

It is important to realise that research into the underlying causes of food intolerances is still ongoing. So, you need to do your own research as well as using the information included in this article.

If you hear about recent research that relates to any of the above, please take the time to comment and share a link to the source of your information. Spreading the word in this way will really help to improve our understanding, so it much appreciated when our readers do this.

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