Don’t suffer in silence

Learning about your food fingerprint could drastically reduce your IBS symptoms, so there’s no need to suffer quietly.

Women with stomach pain

Painful, distressing and emotionally challenging, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has a serious impact on a person’s quality of life causing uncomfortable, embarrassing symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, excessive wind and stomach cramps. It can also have a deep psychological impact, leading to anxiety and depression. 

Even though it affects one in six people in the UK and between 9 and 23 percent of the population worldwide, many people feel reluctant to talk about the condition. IBS Awareness Month, which runs throughout April, is a worldwide campaign that aims to help reduce the stigma and focus attention on the importance of diagnosis, treatment and support for those affected.

Identifying your food fingerprint

Symptoms of IBS can be managed with lifestyle and dietary changes. Certain foods are known to stimulate gut reactions, but a diet suitable for one person may not help another as every individual has his or her own triggers. Many people try a food diary or cutting out certain foods, but it can be hard to ascertain what is causing a reaction.

One way is to test for IgG antibodies in the blood – your body produces the antibody as a defence against certain foods that may not agree with you. A food-specific IgG test, such as the YorkTest IBS Diet Programme, is designed for IBS sufferers and can pinpoint what your body is reacting to. It involves a simple finger prick blood test carried out at home that analyses reactions to 158 foods and drinks. 

In the largest study of its kind, Allergy UK commissioned a retrospective postal survey of 5236 customers, who had elevated food-specific IgG levels and had purchased a YorkTest food-specific IgG-guided diet programme, 3,626 stated that they had followed the diet rigorously and 76% reported improvement in their condition. Patients with gastroenterological or psychological illness showed the greatest improvements and the results were noticeably better again in those with several different symptoms. 92% of those who had followed the dietary changes rigorously and responded positively, reported a deterioration in symptoms after reintroduction of the implicated foods showing that this is a specific and targeted approach. A subset of data from the study was further analysed which identified 777 out of 3026 subjects self-reporting to have IBS. 84% of these reported improvement in their condition following the food-specific IgG-guided elimination diet.

Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest and author of white paper “Food-specific IgG guided elimination diet; a role in Irritable Bowel Syndrome?”, explains: “A food intolerance can have a range of effects on the body, many will cause uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, flatulence, IBS, diarrhoea and constipation. These symptoms are often treated with drugs to alleviate symptoms when, in fact, dietary changes can be equally or more effective. Of course, it is always important to have serious medical problems ruled out first, but when these prove negative a food intolerance test+ should certainly be the next step.”

To find out more about your personal food fingerprint, visit YorkTest

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 2:12 pm Women's Health