Food intolerances

Nutrition therapy for food intolerances

Nutrition therapy for food intolerances (Picture Credits: ©Devanath/pixabay)

When healthy food makes you ill.

Though people with symptoms often suspect a food allergy, diarrhoea, flatulence and stomach pain can also be caused by food intolerances.

Common symptoms associated with food intolerance are:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders | Constipation, diarrhea, irritation of the intestine, nausea, heartburn
  • Dermatological processes | Eczema, psoriasis, itchy skin, eczema
  • Neurological disorders | Headache, migraines, depressed moods
  • Difficulty breathing, asthma | Runny nose and cough, chronic sinusitis
  • Psychological disorders | Anxiety, depression, irritability, chronic fatigue
  • Other disorders | Fibromyalgia, joint pain and inflammation (arthritis), immune deficiency

Do not trust only on lists

Those affected are usually relieved to have food intolerance diagnosed as many suffered for a long time before diagnosis. Many people find it easy to follow general recommendations from the Internet or lay literature and avoid gluten, wheat, lactose, fructose, histamine, etc. – at least at first. Long term implementation becomes more difficult as the inevitable questions arise: What can I eat and what not? And what quantity of a certain food can I tolerate before I start to have problems? Only appropriate changes to your diet can improve symptoms.

Nutrition therapy process

Step 1: Health and nutritional history

Step 2: Determine key areas of focus for counselling

Step 3: Define counselling period

Step 4: Put plan into action and permanent nutrition

What does nutrition therapy entail?

Step 1: A precise anamnesis as the basis for further procedure

A nutrition therapeutic consultation begins with an assessment of your current diet and any existing complaints or diseases.

  • review of all laboratory and examination results. Bringing copies of medical findings or lab results helps us better evaluate the initial situation.
  • exclusion or consideration of previously unrecognised food intolerances
  • consideration of current medication intake
  • evaluation of the nutrition and symptom diary you brought with you. This daily log makes it easier to uncover connections between diet and symptoms. Your existing nutritional habits are the key to finding the solution best suited to you.
  • identification of stress triggers
  • defining individual goals for nutrition therapy

Food recommendations tailored to your situation will help guide you step-by-step through the therapy concept. You will be given precise instructions as to how to implement these changes in your everyday life.

  • individualised, step-by-step plan with the goal of reducing symptoms to the extent possible
  • guided transition to a diet that expands the range of foods eaten while providing relief from symptoms
  • individual nutritional adjustment with regard to poorly tolerated foods
  • elimination of a possible nutrient deficit in case of unbalanced nutrition
  • implementation support with recommendations that are easy to follow in everyday life
  • advice as to how to maintain a balanced, long-term diet
  • use of certain probiotics if necessary / intestinal cleansing
  • stress management, if applicable

Step 2: Define key areas for counselling

Overall dietary concept and focal points of consultation depend on the individual problem and diagnosis.

The consultation will shed light on connections between the intolerable substance in food and your diet overall. In addition to providing information, the session will focus on permanent dietary change as a key point for ensuring healthy and enjoyable food consumption.

  • precise instructions for avoiding foods or food components that cause symptoms with consideration to individual tolerance
  • instructions for a practical, appetising elimination diet
  • Development of the therapeutic diet in steps with the goal of having an individual nutritional plan in the end
  • Eating out in restaurants, on vacation, with friends

Step 3: Define the consultation period

You will receive personal advice and support in individual sessions. The duration of the consultation period depends on the goal you want to achieve.

Step 4: Implementation and permanent nutrition

The most important goal of nutritional therapy for food intolerances is to make the largest possible food selection possible. Restrictions should only be made where really necessary. In this way, malnutrition can be avoided and the quality of life can be kept high.

Consultation times

Monday – Thursday: 07.45 am – 12.30 pm
Monday – Thursday: 02.00 pm – 06.00 pm

Making an appointment / telephone consultation hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 12.45 – 01.15 pm

Forms of food intolerances

Lactose intolerance

Lactose (milk sugar) is a disaccharide, which is normally broken down into its components galactose and glucose in the small intestine by the enzyme lactase. Only these monosaccharide molecules can be absorbed through the wall of the small intestine.

If the enzyme lactase is deficient, lactose cannot be broken down and therefore cannot be absorbed. The lactose then ends up in the colon undigested, where it is fermented by the intestinal bacteria that are normally there. Lactose intolerance is therefore due to an enzyme deficiency and cannot be confused with a milk allergy, where the immune system reacts to components in milk.

Fructose malabsorption

Intestinal fructose malabsorption is an acquired disorder caused by a defective transport system in the small intestine, i. e. fructose is not absorbed sufficiently by the body. Yet once it has made its way into the body, it is easily degraded.

The fructose that thereby floods into the colon is decomposed by bacteria. The resulting fermentation products (CO2, methane, short-chain fatty acids, H2) cause symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, and cramping stomach pain. The fructose molecules are osmotically active and therefore in many cases cause diarrhoea. Since the hydrogen H2 formed during the fructose fermentation reaches the lungs via the bloodstream, fructose malabsorption can be diagnosed by means of a H2 breath test (fructose load test).

Many nutritional recommendations on the Internet use recommendations that concern hereditary fructose intolerance. It is known that with fructose malabsorption, a fructose-free or too strict low-fructose diet leads to greater sensitivity rather than improvement over a longer period of time.

Histamine intolerance

The clinical picture of histamine intolerance (HIT) is characterised by histamine levels exceeding a person’s histamine tolerance threshold. It is usually caused by a deficiency of the histamine-degrading enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). The lack of a DAO can have primary (genetic) or secondary causes.

HIT can also manifest itself clinically if the body is loaded with so much histamine that, despite normal activity, the DAO cannot adequately metabolise this histamine. The excess histamine may be exogenous in origin (through ingestion with food) or it may be due to excessive levels of endogenously produced histamine (mast cell-associated inflammation, allergy). Both DAO deficiency and excessive levels of histamine can be determined with laboratory tests. In addition, a genetic test can be used to differentiate between primary and secondary DAO deficiency. Read more

„non-celiac gluten sensitivity“ (NCGS)

The so-called non-celiac gluten sensitivity describes the intolerance reactions to gluten or wheat, which are not due to celiac disease or wheat allergy. The symptoms are rather diffuse and partly resemble those of irritable bowel syndrome. However, symptoms such as tiredness, headache, joint problems or changes in mood can also occur.

The terms non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS) are generally used to refer to this condition, when removing gluten from the diet resolves symptoms, after testing negative for celiac disease and a wheat allergy.

Gaby Lingath