Enjoying food and drink is one of life’s simple pleasures. For some people, however, certain foods or beverages bring pain or discomfort, like a headache after eating chocolate or feeling bloated after eating dairy.
According to Dr. Nawin Jittat, a Vitallife physician specializing in gut health and detox, discomfort after eating is usually caused by food allergies or food intolerance. “The first step is to determine if a person has a food allergy or intolerance,” said Dr Nawin. “Many people believe a food intolerance is the same as a food allergy – but an allergy and an intolerance are different.”
Dr. Nawin explains that if you are allergic to a certain food, then you need to eliminate it from your diet. If you are food intolerant, however, treatment is available, in many cases, to achieve balance, or tolerance to that food item. “In time,” Dr. Nawin counsels, “one should be able to consume those foods or beverages again without any side effects.”
Allergies and Intolerance. What’s the Difference?
A food allergy is a fast, sometimes dangerous response to a food by the body’s immune system. Common symptoms include rash, swelling of the face, wheezing, hives, itching or shortness of breath. When it is a serious case, a person can go into an anaphylactic shock and die.
In simple medical terms, food allergy is immediate onset and often caused by the Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody – IgE is released into the body when it reacts to something it doesn’t like. The most common allergy causing foods for adults are fish, shellfish, and nuts while children often have allergies to milk and eggs.
When someone has food intolerance, however, the symptoms come on more slowly after eating or drinking and common reactions include bloating or stomach cramps. There are a variety of causes of food intolerance including the absence of an enzyme to fully digest food; irritable bowel syndrome that can lead to stomach cramps, constipation or diarrhea; food poisoning; additives in food, or stress.
Gluten intolerance (an intolerance to flour, rye and wheat) and lactose intolerance (an intolerance to milk and dairy products) are the most common forms of intolerance for many people around the world.
Testing and Treatment
Dr Nawin said significant advances in technology now enable doctors to develop intolerance tests for more than 200 foods and beverages. Analysis can be done from a blood test or skin test. “In the past, people with ailments were probably unaware they were food intolerant,” explains Dr. Nawin “but today we can test more than 200 foods and develop customised treatments.”
To manage more serious cases of a food allergy, it often means permanently avoiding the problem food. People with allergies and intolerance issues should also carefully read the ingredients listed on food products sold in supermarkets and stores. If you have ailments that occur after eating certain foods, Dr Nawin recommends taking a food allergy and intolerance test as the results and recommended treatments can be life changing.
“I’ve helped many patients who had experienced bloating, cramps, and migraines for many years without knowing causes. After taking a food sensitivity test however, we were able to diagnose the cause and find a solution that has made a permanent difference to their health.”
The VitalLife Scientific Wellness Center located on the campus of Bumrungrad International Hospital is a global leader in the provision of scientifically-based integrated medicine. Its programs are managed and run by US Board Certified doctors specializing in the center’s Future Health concept, covering predictive, preventive, regenerative, and revitalizing health care.
It is the first medical wellness center in Asia to be accredited by the World Council on Clinical Accreditation (awarded in November 2007). It is also the first compounding pharmacy in Southeast Asia.
Vitallife is the first wellness center in the world to be accredited to DNV.GL’s International Accreditation Standard for Outpatient Specialist Centers. DNV.GL is a globally respected quality accreditation organization renowned for integrity in certification, standards development and risk management in many sectors including healthcare. DNV.GL International Healthcare Accreditation is based on standards approved by the U.S. Government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
Vitallife is a 100% owned subsidiary of the publicly traded Bumrungrad International Hospital since 2001.
For more information please contact:
VitalLife Scientific Wellness Center
68 Bumrungrad International Tower Building 10th Floor,
Soi Sukhumvit 1, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana,
Tel : +66 2066 8899
Monday to Friday : 08.00 – 19.00 hrs.
Saturday to Sunday: 08.00 – 16.00 hrs.
Nearest BTS: Phloen Chit