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. 

Missing enzymes can cause food intolerances


The body not being able to breakdown certain elements of a food can cause the symptoms. This is normally because the body is missing a digestive enzyme.

Autoimmune disorders can lead to food sensitivity


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. This damage can be seen when a biopsy is taken and studied under a microscope. 

Chemical causes of food intolerance


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

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.

Toxins in food can lead to food sensitivity


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.

How food is cooked and kept plays a role


The way you cook certain foods also has an impact on what toxins are released and, therefore, whether you can eat them. PiyazFood & Drink undercooked beans contain toxins that some people’s body’s 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.

Parasites that cause food intolerances


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.

Tick bites can cause red meat 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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