Food Intolerance Symptoms in Adults

What is food intolerance?

In fact, it could be simple: we chew something that we like, the food slides down the esophagus, it reaches the stomach and the intestine, and then it finds its way out.

Yes, that easy. However, often it is not.

That is because many disturbances may occur in the digestive tract: sometimes enzymes don’t work properly, as in the case of lactose intolerance, which leads to bloating, diarrhea and nausea.

People who suffer from fructose malabsorption have abdominal cramps every time they eat it. And those who can not tolerate gluten or histamine are forced to give up certain foods.

Currently, a growing number of patients are diagnosed with various intolerances, and one explanation is that the symptoms are better known today than they were a few years ago. Modern diet also plays an important role in this respect.

Thus, some new varieties of fruits contain a larger amount of fructose, a substance to which an average of one out of three adults reacts with intestinal disorders.

Such inconveniences are annoying, but usually harmless, unlike food allergies, which occur more rarely, but they are much more dangerous. It affects four to eight percent of Europe’s population.

The enemy is the hidden allergens in a wide range of foods. Often, a few pieces of peanuts or traces of eggs are enough to trigger a response from the immune system: in that moment, membranes swell preventing the breathing to continue normally, and in extreme cases, blood circulation collapses.

The number of allergic people has registered an increase in recent decades. The causes are complex and not fully elucidated yet. But it is obvious that the eating habits of the contemporary man are at least partly to blame.

What can be helpful in these situations is knowing allergens and the appropriate therapies.


How does it arise?

The problems are caused by the sugar (lactose) contained by milk, which is also found in cheese, sour cream, whipped cream. In order to digest it, the body produces an enzyme called lactase. It works in the small intestine, breaking down sugar into its components, so that it becomes digestible. Patients with this type of intolerance either don’t produce enough lactase or this enzyme lacks completely.

Therefore, lactose is moving along with the mixture resulting from partial digestion of the food in the deeper intestinal segments, where bacteria take over and metabolize it. Finally, these processes lead to the formation of hydrogen, carbon dioxide and short-chain fatty acids.

Which are the disorders?

Those affected complain of abdominal pain and bloating. Responsible for this are the bacteria in the gut, which feed with excess lactose, producing carbon dioxide. The volume of gas will be directly proportional to the amount of lactose they consume. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea and feeling too full. Although less typical, heartburn, fatigue and migraine attacks are also possible.

How to determine?

It is determined by the hydrogen breath test. The patient is given to drink a solution of lactose dissolved in water, after which the doctor measures the concentration of hydrogen in the breath. The value obtained indicates the activity degree in the gut of bacteria that degrade lactose.

What helps?

In order to improve symptoms, patients are forced to minimize consumption of milk sugar. Consequently, many of them give up milk, ice cream and whipped cream or buy products that don’t contain lactose. It is found in small amounts in some types of cheese, like Parmesan and Swiss cheese, which is why they are generally tolerated.

Enzyme preparations containing lactase are very useful and are recommended for administration before meals. When intolerance occurs as a consequence of other underlying disease, for example Crohn’s disease, doctors characterize it as a secondary form. In such cases, the main condition must be treated first. Chances are lactose intolerance will disappear by itself.


How does it arise?

There is a category of special proteins within the small intestine, that are designed to carry sugar from sweet fruit (fructose) into the cells of the intestine. In case of a fructose malabsorption, either these proteins no longer properly fulfill their mission, or they are overstrained. Fructose reaches the large intestine, where bacteria process it, so that it results in carbon dioxide, hydrogen and short-chain fatty acids.

Which are the disorders?

Those affected feel pain in the abdomen and bowel sounds, suffering from diarrhea and bloating. Fructose malabsorption can influence the psyche as well: some patients complain of fatigue after meals or they experience a certain emotional instability. Chronic sinusitis and migraine attacks may also signal a fructose intolerance.

How to determine?

The current method is the hydrogen breath test. The person subjected to the test drinks a certain amount of fructose dissolved in water. Next, the physician measures the hydrogen content in the expired air at regular intervals, and if it exceeds the normal amount, then he can diagnose the patient with fructose malabsorption. Specialists advise against tests found on the internet as they can not offer an accurate diagnosis.

What helps?

Those who are intolerant to fructose should, at least at the beginning of therapy, avoid foods that contain this substance. They include all kinds of fruit, jam, fruit juices and honey. Fructose is found in all types of muesli, as well as in foods whose label reads: “natural sweetener”, “fruit sweetener”, “invert sugar”, “syrup fructooligosaccharides” or “FOS”. After about six weeks, small deviations from the diet are allowed.


  1. many people are developing food allergies later in life. My theory is that the food we are eating is much more contaminated and we are actually reacting to the GMO’S and pesticides in the food and water. Best way to stay healthy is Organic these days its getting hard to find clean chemical free food. Know that if doesnt say GMO free its GMO.


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