“Lactose intolerance” is what we Filipinos usually know of when it comes to food intolerance. But there’s a much bigger kind that would be helpful if we knew about it, since it’s another innovation in preventive medicine. And this can be the answer to stopping migraines, headaches, and can even help in better weight management.
Food intolerance can be defined as the “inability to digest certain kinds of foods, often overlooked because its reactions appear more slowly, and at times even unnoticeable.” It is also a mild inflammatory reaction of the tissue directly in contact with food, the gut.
A kind of food that a certain person can eat can be bad for another, and vice-versa, if the person’s body is unable to process the food. Food intolerance can go undetected, and can cause a compromised food system, where one’s immune system suffers, causing symptoms like headaches, LBM, and the like (these weren’t attributed to food before).
Other symptoms include bloating after eating certain food, being tired at certain times of the day, and headaches for no apparent reason. Other symptoms are asthma, depression, constipation/diarrhea, gastritis, insomnia, itchy skin problems, and weight control problems, among others.
Those who have food intolerance complain from lethargy or “fogginess,” and not feeling their best, with these persisting for many years, with doctor check-ups not really treating the disease. These can affect one’s productivity and work performance.
The Food Intolerance test.
The Cambridge Nutritional Sciences (CNS) offers two kinds of Food Intolerance tests to help clients see which food they cannot tolerate, so that they can get rid of these symptoms. It is also a form of preventive measure. “It’s really about preventive wellness,” said Chris Romero Castro, Life Director of LifeScience, a wellness center located in Bonifacio Global City.
The test identifies antibodies, and is the only one of its kind in the Philippines now. It has been used internationally, such as in countries like Brazil, where it is used for aesthetics (one can test their food intolerance, to see they are prone to scarring, for example).
There are two types of Food Intolerance Tests: the Food Detective, and Food Print tests, which are accessible to Filipinos. The Food Detective test (priced at Php8,500) is qualitative, and can be taken at home and can be done in 40 minutes.
The Food Print Test (priced at Php25,000) is a quantitative lab test, which is one of the most advanced and comprehensive of its kind, which can detect the presence of IgG (Immunoglobulin G on antibody found in all body fluids and protects against bacterial and viral infections). This requires a blood sample, and results can be received in 10 working days after the sample receipt.
There is also a micronutrient analysis that customizes supplements for the client (since eliminating certain food could cause one to lose vitamins in his diet). They will also provide a tailored meal plan, after identifying which food items to eliminate.
The goal of LifeScience is really a balanced diet with supplementation, for optimal nutrition. This can be achieved by taking the test (initial screening), then talking to experts afterward for follow up. Dr. Ben Valdecanas, orthopedic surgeon and medical director at LifeScience, said that patients will be advised to eliminate certain food items from their diet for a period of time, gradually reintroducing these, then monitoring the person’s symptoms for reactions. (They will see if they can increase the person’s threshold of tolerance to the food.)
The Cambridge Nutritional Sciences (CNS) Food Intolerance is a diagnostic company providing the food diagnostic test. LifeScience, its first partner in the Philippines, plans on using the food diagnostic test as a preventive measure and lifestyle modification, as Filipinos usually only see a doctor and have a check-up or get treated when their disease has already progressed.
For patients with major diseases like cancer, this falls under tertiary prevention (there are different levels of prevention). The usual clients who get the Food intolerance test so far, are triathletes, those with diabetes, and kids with ADD (attention-deficit disorder). It is CNS’ goal to make the test mainstream eventually, and distribute it to doctors nationwide.
What are the benefits of eliminating food you can’t tolerate? Aside from eliminating symptoms, there is also the slowing down of one’s aging process.
It’s also not the end of the world when you find out that you are intolerant to a certain kind of food. According to Dr. Valdecanas, you can substitute that particular food instead. Anlternative to rice, for instance, is quinoa, and a substitute to wheat is eating bread with tapioca flour.
With food intolerance tests admittedly not being mainstream yet, what if one ignores his food intolerance? One’s symptoms, such as migraines, can become worse, according to Dr. Valdecanas. Astoundingly, even if it is one of our staple foods (and one of those that Filipinos cannot live without), it has been found that 60 percent of Asians are intolerant to rice. Other food items that Filipinos are commonly intolerant to, according to tests, are wheat, milk, and eggs. Others are gluten, lactose, fructose, and alcohol.