The existence of food intolerance, which we should actually call “retarded allergy”, has no doubt by now been recognized also by allergologists. However, the problem is still the possibility of using scientifically confirmed diagnostic tests. Among the many available tests we can include the vegatest, kinesiology and palpation tests, the DRIA test, cytotoxic tests and the search for IgG antibodies by means of the ELISA method.

The most reliable one, from the scientific point of view, is undoubtedly the search for IgG antibodies since, most often, adverse reactions are triggered by food protein supported by class G antibodies. These reactions are dose-dependent, their symptoms are linked to the accumulation of these substances and depend on subjective predisposition or on the excessive consumption of a food substance.

However, our immune system is so complex that to reduce our retarded adverse reactions only to a mediated IgG response is certainly a simplification. Therefore, certain intolerances may not be identified by the tests which are available at present. At this point a direct test, or more clearly an elimination test could be useful by eliminating all those substances which are normally responsible for intolerances.

It is fundamental to start by a mainly vegetable diet excluding gluten, dairy products, eggs, pork and other food rich in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars, GMO foods, food rich in hormones, additives and antibiotics. Instead, it is important to include unrefined organic food containing a large amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibres and phytonutrients.

This elimination diet must be followed for at least four weeks since we are not dealing simply with an allergy which would immediately react to the elimination of the suspected food. In fact, the improvement derives from the reduction of the intestinal antigenic load which induces a rebalance in the production of T-helper lymphocytes and this would take weeks.

It is important to follow the protocol strictly in order to reduce the antigenic load as much as possible. Patients often report unspecific improvements such as an increase in their energy levels, improved concentration, improved general wellbeing and the elimination of symptoms which they had had for years.

Sometimes, particularly in the first weeks, some negative reactions might occur, such as headaches, constipation or diarrhea, articular pain and itching.

These reactions are difficult to explain but it is believed they are due to the process of detoxification and/or the death of intestinal bacteria which liberate endotoxins.

The elimination diet is not a calorie restriction diet. However, the patient normally loses about 2-3 kilos during the four weeks of the programme. This diet can actually be followed for long periods if recommended by the patient’s doctor and if the patient’s compliance is positive.

In any case, after these four weeks, the patient can generally start to reintroduce each single food one at the time. The reintroduced food must be consumed in small quantities two or three times a day and the patient must wait at least 48 hours (but 72 would be better) before reintroducing another kind of food and, if during this time a reaction occurs he must in any case wait for the reaction to disappear before reintroducing a different food.

The food which provokes adverse reactions must be noted in a list of food that must be eliminated, while it is possible to continue eating those foods that did not generate any reaction.

As there can be various mechanisms behind food intolerances (or better, reactions to certain foods) such as genetic predispositions, altered secretions of digestive enzymes, intestinal disorders, drugs, diseases, nutritional deficiencies (for instance the lack of vitamin D reduces tolerance to food) and also aging linked to the increase of free radicals, inflammation, glycation or alteration of the immune system, if these problems are eliminated by means of interventions of functional medicine it will then be possible to reintroduce those foods which were previously not tolerated, obviously in small quantities and not so frequently.

L’Accademia del Fitness-Wellness-Antiaging / January 2016