Our digestive system is a complex but vital part of our health that is required to process a great variety of inputs every day ! Foods, drinks, pathogens (bugs !), medications/drugs and emotions. It does a fantastic job but at times it can suffer. The digestive system can be overloaded, subject to infection, become inflammed, develop sensitivites or respond to an inappropriate onslaught by the immune system.
These processes may leave you with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, "Leaky Gut" or Food Intolerances.
The good news is that your body has a great capacity to recover, and this can be helped by herbal medicines, diet and probiotics.
Your naturopath is equipped to help sort out the processes that might be disrupting your digestive sytem and help you on a specific treatment plan.
Food Intolerances & sensitivites
There is quite a lot of confusion about allergies,
intolerances and sensitivities, but the reality is
some foods can make us unwell and we generally
like to know which foods are the offenders.
Your Naturopath can help you with the detective
work of finding out more aboutthe quality of your
digestive function, and the foods that may aggravate it.
Food allergies are typically immune IgE mediated reactions and are relatively uncommon - childrens peanut allergy is often this type, and can result in fairly quick reactions that vary from hives, itchiness and trouble breathing to a major reaction such as anaphylatic shock. The most common are the "big eight" : peanuts, eggs, tree nuts, dairy protein, wheat, soy, shellfish & seafood.
These can be tested with a blood test at medical or private pathology clinics, or by a skin prick test done by doctors, or by a Food Challenge. Your Naturopath can order blood tests for IgE allergies.
Food Intolerance is a broad term but these are non IgE reactions caused by a number of different factors including IgG immune reactions, enzyme deficiences, malabsorption or reactions to food chemicals or additives. These can result in local gastrointestinal reactions such as reflux, nausea, bloating, loose bowel movements or less commonly constipation. They can also cause more systemic reactions such as headaches, tiredness, poor concentration and sore joints. These also can be tested by a blood test in the clinic by your Naturopath.
Dietary fructose and lactose intolerance are related to digestive insufficiency and/or an accumulative excess consumption. You can be born with these intolerances (eg lactose intolerance), or have a tendency toward intolerance, that can then be aggravated by an infection, or food poisioning or even an adverse reaction to medications.
These intolerances generally cause nausea, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea or loose bowel movements. These are tested by Hydrogen breath tests in pathology labs, food challenge and private laboratory tests.
Gluten Intolerance includes Gluten Enteropathy (Coeliac Disease) and "ïdiopathic" gluten sensitivity. Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune reaction to the gluten protein found in wheat, barley & rye.
Many people experience gluten sensitivity and can confirm this by an avoidance and food challenge test, if this is their only food sensitvity.
In practice people are generally sensitive to more than one food.
are like food intolerances but may not show on an IgG blood test. They also result in digestive symptoms and discomforts as well as systemic symptoms and generally occurr 3 ot 4 hours after eating food. However they can also be accumulative, which sometimes makes it difficult for a person to pinpoint what foods react. They are still real and can be identified by food challenges and other testing methods used by naturopaths.
The FOOD DETECTIVE test is conducted on site and measures IgG reactions to 46 different foods and the results are available in one hour