Food Intolerance – Causes and Symptoms of Food Intolerance
Food intolerance is an adverse reaction to certain types of food or ingredients that happens every time they are consumed. It is the inability to properly digest or fully process the foods that lead to illness and chronic symptoms. Unlike food poisoning, it is not caused by toxic substances: nor influence the immune system as in food allergy. It is not psychological either.
Food intolerance is common in children, especially in babies who are breastfeeding. It is also noticed in a number of people. This condition does not produce any serious effect but every person has food intolerance towards certain type of food or other.
Causes of Food Intolerance
The main causes for food intolerance are:
- Enzyme deficiency
- Adverse reactions to chemicals in foods
Enzyme deficiency – Food intolerance may occur if a person lacks certain enzymes that help in digestion of a particular type of food. For example, people who are deficient in enzyme lactase cannot tolerate to cow’s milk. The milk cannot be broken down to simpler forms. Another example is deficiency of an enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase. Excess intake of alcohol make the affected people feel unwell.
Adverse reactions to chemicals in foods – Food intolerance may occur in some people who have adverse reactions to additives and preservatives in foods and drinks, such as tartrazine, aspartame, caffeine, monosodium glutamate, salicylates, benzoates and sulphites.
The other factors responsible for food intolerance are:
- Hormonal changes, especially common in women
- Age i.e food intolerance also develops along with the age
- Genetic pattern, both the tolerances mentioned above are conmon among Asians than Europeans
Symptoms of Food Intolerance
Symptoms generally begin in some hours to days after eating or drinking particular food in question. Food intolerance causes a wide range of symptoms that include:
- Irritable bowel
- Weight gain
- Skin problems such as eczema, hives and rashes
- Abdominal pain
Infants are born with high amounts of lactase enzyme, so food intolerance is generally seen after the age of two years when the body starts to produce lesser amount of the enzyme. Some people do not experience any symptoms until they become older.