Digestive Health

digestive health

Intolerances are normally enzyme based such as lactose intolerance where the body is not making enough of the digestive enzyme lactase to break down the milk sugar lactose – a contributory cause to IBS.
Histamine intolerance is where the enzyme Diamine Oxydase is not produced to digest foods naturally high in histamine. I regularly see clients with rashes and itchy skin where this can be a major cause.

Interestingly more people come to see me with digestive problems then allergenic symptoms.
The focus is on the balance of good bacteria in our gut which can cause symptoms of gut dysbiosis. Evidence is being produced it seems on a daily basis as to how vital these bacteria are to our health and how modern western living is distorting them. According to an article published in the New Scientist in March 2012 we are loosing our relationship with them at our peril. We should have approximately 100 trillion of them in our colon (large bowel).

We cannot live without these microbes & they can’t live without us – a commensurate relationship. A study from Cardiff University revealed that if you give a new born baby the correct probiotic the prevalence of infantile Eczema and Asthma can be reduced by up to 60% . It is not just allergy but inflammatory conditions in general including Type 2 Diabetes.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem where the body is unable to digest lactose, a type of sugar mainly found in milk and dairy products. The symptoms of lactose intolerance will occur after consuming food or drink that contains lactose, such as dairy products.

The main symptoms include:

  • Flatulence(wind)
  • Diarrhoea three or more times a day
  • Bloated stomach
  • Stomach pains
  • Stomach rumbling
  • Feeling sick
  • Stomach cramps

The severity of your symptoms and when you begin to experience them will depend on the amount of lactose that you have consumed.

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IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that affects 10% to 20% of people worldwide. A substantial proportion of visits to primary care physicians and to gastroenterologists for GI problems are for IBS. A confident diagnosis by a physician is the initial and crucial step in receiving a clear explanation, effective treatment, and feeling less anxiety about what is causing symptoms.

Medical opinion has changed regarding how to diagnose IBS. The older view emphasized that IBS should be regarded primarily as a “diagnosis of exclusion.” Diagnosis was made only after diagnostic testing, often extensive, to exclude many disorders that could possibly cause the symptoms.

The newer approach bases diagnosis on defined patterns of signs and symptoms and limited diagnostic testing.

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Eosinophlc Esophagitis

Patients who have outgrown their food allergies can develop eosinophilic esophagitis as a reaction to the same foods, a new study shows.

“Two to 4 years later, they come back with a different allergy,” said Jonathan Spergel, MD, chief of the allergy section of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. “Initially, they are getting anaphylactic shock to this food. Now they are getting a swollen esophagus.”

Dr. Spergel presented the study results at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2014.

According to the AAAAI, EE is only recently recognized as a chronic, often painful, allergy/immune condition that involves swelling and inflammation of the esophagus. Eosinophilic esophagitis is characterized by the presence of a large number of white blood cells, called eosinophils, in the tissue of the esophagus, which causes inflammation or swelling. Infants and toddlers with the ailment may refuse food and, thus, grow improperly. School-aged children may complain of abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, or nausea and vomiting. Teenagers and adults most often note difficulty swallowing. Swelling of the esophagus can progress to the point where food gets stuck, becoming a medical emergency.
Recent research has suggested that the mechanism of disease of eosinophilic esophagitis is independent of immunoglobulin E, a key mediator of typical food allergies.

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Bloating can be described as the feeling that there is an inflated balloon in the abdomen. It is a commonly reported symptom and is sometimes associated with distension, or the visible increase in the width of the area between your hips and chest (abdominal girth).

Both bloating and distension cause discomfort and sometimes pain. They have a negative impact on the quality of life for some individuals. The symptoms may be linked with other gas related complaints, such as burping or belching, swallowing air, and passing intestinal gas.

Some people with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) and motility disorders frequently experience bloating, distension, or both as symptoms of their conditions. Examples of frequencies of abdominal bloating reporting include:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): 23–96%
Functional dyspepsia: 50%
Chronic constipation: 56%
There is also something called functional bloating, which is fullness and or/distension of the abdomen, not associated with changes in bowel movements.


While researchers have proposed different explanations for bloating and distension, there is no conclusive answer as to why the 2 symptoms occur.

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Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux/Heartburn/ GERD/GORD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as “acid reflux”, is a chronic symptom of damage to the mucus membrane lining of the stomach or the oesophagus. where acid from the stomach leaks up into the oesophagus (gullet). Although acid reflux is common, diagnose may be difficult because it resembles the symptoms of many other conditions, but unless treated it can be more serious than you might believe.

Research in the medical journal” Gut” reported the proportion of people suffering reflux rose from 11.6 per cent in 1995-97 to 17.1 per cent in 2006-09, a jump of 50 per cent. The prevalence of acid reflux symptoms experienced at least once a week rose by 47 per cent. Almost all of those with severe acid reflux experienced symptoms and/or used medication to treat them at least once a week, compared with around one in three of those with mild symptoms.

Acid reflux symptoms can spontaneously disappear without medication, but this happened to only one in 50 people with symptoms each year during the study.

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Celiac Disease

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition. This is where the immune system (the body’s defence against infection) mistakenly attacks healthy tissue when you eat gluten. This damages your gut (small intestine) so you are unable to take in nutrients, it mistakes the substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them, damaging the surface of the small bowel (intestines)

Coeliac disease is caused by an adverse reaction to gluten, which is a dietary protein found in 3 types of cereal:

  • wheat
  • barley
  • rye

Gluten is found in any food that contains those cereals, including:

  • pasta
  • cakes
  • breakfast cereals
  • most types of bread
  • certain types of sauces
  • some ready meal

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