Food intolerances

About the disorder

Over the past few years, there has been an ever growing presence of food intolerances, owing to the rapid spread of  modern nutritional lifestyle, that has led us to consume foodstuffs that are poor nutrients but rich in calories, full of refined ingredients, additives and pollutants.

Even though the interest for food and the art  of eating well are growing, together with a greater awareness regarding the link connecting food and health, the topic still seems to be new for many or, even worse, underestimated. Yet, many suffer from the problem without even knowing it, given the wide variety of symptoms that food intolerance can entail: as a matter of fact, the disorder does not necessarily manifest itself with intestinal problems only, such as abdominal pain or bloating, colic attacks, diarrhoea, etc., as symptoms can be extremely diverse, affecting  all body districts.

Symptoms of apparently unknown origin, such as frequent headaches, nasal discharge, recurring bronchitis and rhitinis, ear infections, acne and skin rashes, weight variations, chronic fatigue, insomnia, relapsing cystitis and vaginitis and many more ailments, can all be signs of the body’s intolerance to one or more foodstuffs. What’s worse is that it is precisely foodstuffs that are most commonly and frequently consumed that are involved in the insurgence of the disorder.

What is food intolerance?

Food intolerance refers to a distorted response of the immune system following intake of a particular foodstuff, in other words an adverse reaction to a substance perceived as being foreign and harmful. However, the definition shouldn’t be confused with allergy: in that case, in fact, even a one-time exposure to small quantities of the incriminated foodstuff will trigger an immediate and acute immune response, causing clear and evident symptoms.

 By contrast, with food intolerances the reaction acts as a “delayed action bomb”: a slight, silent, chronic and constant inflammatory status ensues, as a consequence of the continued, repeated consumption of the same foodstuff. With the continued inflammatory status, accumulating day after day, onset of the disorder occurs once a certain limit is exceeded.  The reasons for such a slow reaction are attributable to the type of antibodies involved: IgG immunoglobulins (in particular IgG4) and IgA, which initiate a constant, low intensity and long-lasting, silent immune response, allowing inflammatory substances and antibodies to reach the most varied organs and tissues.

Intestinal mucosa: where intolerances originate

Everything starts at intestinal mucosa level, where the outer world –  represented by foods ingested, and the inner world –  consisting in the bloodstream and nutrients circulating, meet. Apart from its well-known digestive function, the intestine is also involved in defending the organism, acting as a selective filter capable of distinguishing between what is useful and what is harmful and that needs to be discarded.

The defensive action is carried out owing to three essential factors.

1) the presence of bacterial flora;

2) the selective barrier made of mucosa cells;

3) the lymphatic system associated with the mucosa, “headquarters” of the body’s efficient immune response. An extrextremely rich horde of beneficial, residential bacteria inhabits the intestinal mucosa, competing for space and extremely wide range of “good” residential bacteria in habit the intestinal mucosa, competing for space and  nutrients against pathogenic microorganisms, preventing their adhesion and proliferation. Moreover, bacterial flora produces defensive substances (bacteriocines), that are useful to the whole organism and it elaborates digestive enzymes.

But there’s more to this: the epithelium of the mucosa, extending over 300 squm, is the most strategic defensive filter of the whole body.  It is formed by cells (enterocytes) adhering closely to each other, thanks to structures called “tight junctions”, that create an actual selective barrier preventing access to unwanted substances that make their way through intercellular space, but enabling passage only through the cells themselves, via specific “carriers”. Interwoven with the epithelium and intervening immediately in case of unwanted access of harmful substances, there is a dense network of defensive cells belonging to the so-called GALT (Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue) –  the immunocompetent system associated with the intestinal mucosa, and that are activated as soon as foreign matter appears, giving rise to the inflammatory response.

If the intestinal mucosa remains intact in all its fundamental aspects (microbial flora, epithelium, tight junctions and GALT), the organism is protected by the invasion of harmful substances; otherwise conditions for the insurgence of food intolerances may occur. Over time, an unhealthy lifestyle and poor nutrition alter the integrity of the intestinal mucosa, diminishing its function of selective barrier: this creates the condition for the insurgence of food intolerance.

Many factors are involved, all having the same outcome: junctions between cells become slacker and filter screens expand, letting in particles of partly undigested food, toxins, pathogens, that end up accessing the organism. This is what is referred to as the “leaky gut syndrome”. At its origin there is always an undermining of residential bacterial flora. Whatever it is that alters its balance, it opens loopholes in the barrier, allowing substances to pass through and develop intolerances.

That is how, starting from childhood, lack of or insufficient breast-feeding, or mistakes during weaning, are sufficient to create a “fragile” ground. Alteration of microbial flora can be due to different factors: drug abuse (anti-ulcer, laxatives, anti-inflammatory drugs and, above all, antibiotics); unhealthy nutritional lifestyle, with intake of foodstuffs that are today increasingly rich in chemical additivies and pesticides; extensive presence of heavy metals; stress; systemic yeast infection, an infection caused by a fungus (called Candida) that becomes aggressive, invading the mucosa and penetrating the intestinal mucosa when the defensive action of the microflora is undermined.

These factors, and many more, alter the integrity of the mucosa’s defensive and filtering system; they destroy the flora and encourage settling in and aggression of pathogenic microorganism, as well as having a negative impact on the production of digestive enzymes; the intestinal mucosa, increasingly resembling a “colander”, therefore allows harmful substances (including food macromolecules) to circulate undisturbed.

The role of pancreas, liver and kidneys

The intestinal mucosa is where the game of food intolerances is played. Intoxication starts from there, because that is where waste material passes through instead of being discarded. Other organs end up being involved, sooner or later: above all the pancreas, liver and kidneys. The pancreas produces a liquid that is extremely rich in enzymes which  are essential for the complete breaking down of food macromolecules. However, stress and a refined diet, rich in poisonous substances and poor in vital foods, affect its functionality, creating the conditions for digestive problems that cause undigested,  hence “not tolerated”, macromolecules to linger in the intestine.

Liver and kidneys come into play once the intestinal barrier has been crossed. The liver receives the blood directly, loaded with digestive products coming from the intestine and, just like a depuration plant, it metabolizes all useful nutrients while inactivating and neutralizing toxic substances. Kidneys are filters through which blood clearance takes place as well as the definitive elimination from the body, through urine, of anything that is useless and harmful.

With the onset of a food intolerance, the quantity of unwanted substances that need to be eliminated increases (macromolecules of undigested foodstuffs; complex antigens-antibodies, inflammatory mediators, etc.) and the workload for these organs increases, as well. In the long run, the stress from the overload makes them less efficient and their detoxifying action is weakened.

As a result, toxins remain in circulation, free to reach other organs and tissues, with negative consequences that, as already explained, can affect the nervous system, the respiratory tract, the genitals, the skin, etc., that is to say all body districts that apparently  – and wrongly – seem to be completely disconnected from the intestine and from nutrition.

At this point, given the above considerations, an approach aiming to be truly valid in terms of efficacy and capable of ensuring a definitive solution will need to act on all factors involved, starting from the intestine, where functional integrity needs to be restored. Once again, nature can prove helpful, offering effective means in both ways.

Our Approach

A natural and effective approach

In case of food intolerances,  eliminating the foodstuff (or foodstuffs) responsible for triggering off the inflammation could seem to be the solution to the problem at first sight.  But apart from the difficulty in determining, and therefore eliminating, possible “guilty” foods, the only factor responsible  for such inflammatory condition is the loss of integrity of the intestinal mucosa and the passing through of food antigens and toxins.

Therefore, eliminating the foodstuff causing intolerance, although a surely useful step, does not actually represent the definitive solution to the problem. There will be temporary relief, but not lasting very long: the damaged mucosa will allow “leakage” of other molecules and the organism will develop new intolerances, with new recurrences of skin affections. Instead, it is vital to act on the causes, starting from where the inflammation originated in the first place, i.e. the intestine.

 GSE and food intolerances

With regard to this specific problem, Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is particularly effective for two essential reasons. First and foremost, in fact, owing to its selective antimicrobial action, GSE controls proliferation of organisms that alter intestinal permeability (including the the much-feared Candida albicans), while safeguarding bactial flora, which plays an essential role in protecting the mucosa and preventing food intolerances. Secondly, it protects and repairs the gastro-intestinal apparatus, accelerating the healing process of damaged mucosa originating the problem of food intolerances and of the subsequent, chronic and systemic inflammatory status.

For all the above reasons, GSE therefore represents the cornerstone upon which an extraordinarily effective approach is based, to counteract causes underlying food intolerances. The association and synergy of specific plant extracts enables to implement a complete approach aimed at tackling and solving the problem causing food intolerances by means of a product for systemic use, performing the following functions at the same time:

1.it restores integrity of the intestinal mucosa: only this way can access to the organism of food macromolecules and antigens be hindered, so as to prevent accumulatin of toxins and development of inflammations;

  1. it optimises the intestinal “ground” and promotes correct metabolic processes, ensuring the presence of integral and vital bacterial flora, as well as facilitating  digestive process of the pancreas;  
  2. it promotes drainage of toxins and improves functionality of dedicated organs;
  3. In addition to the above, it is necessary to follow a diet that enhances intestinal eubiosis and the right input of nutrients on the one hand, avoiding food categories that alter the intestine’s permeability and, on the other, promoting intestinal eubiosis with the right input of nutrients.

This approach, combined with a healthy lifestyle (in terms of diet, but not only), includes the use of natural remedies that are well known in folk tradition and the efficacy of which in providing a definitive solution has been confirmed by recent studies.

  1. To restore integrity of the intestinal mucosa (only this way can access to the organism of food macromolecules and antigens be hindered, so as to prevent accumulatin of toxins and development of inflammations) …

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract: thanks to its cytoprotective properties, GSE accelerates healing of damaged gastro-intestinal mucosa.

Centella: traditionally employed for its cicatrizing properties, Centella strengthens epithelial tissues, promoting  keratinization processes; it stimulates growth of the epithelial endothelium and fosters the production of collagen, therefore ensuring a more effective wound healing. Moroever, it has anti-inflammatory, tonic, diuretic and sedative properties.

Asiatic acid and asiaticoside present in the phytocomplex are the most active complexes: asiatocoside, in particular, favours angiogenesis and stimulates the synthesis of collagen. These properties make Centella essential to restore integrity of an excessively permeable intestinal mucosa.

Agar Agar: the high content of complex polysaccharides, agarose and agaropectin, justifies its internal use as an anti-inflammatory, with a soothing effect on the mucosa. Agar Agar is immune to the aggression of gastric juices and reaches the intestinal tract directly, where it covers the mucosae with a thin, protective layer, while indirectly promoting the restoration of intestinal integrity.

2.To optimise the intestinal “ground” and enhance correct metabolic processes, ensuring the presence of integral and vital bacterial flora, facilitating digestive processes of the pancreas…

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract:  thanks to its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, it is the perfect remedy to directly combat pathogenic microorganisms (in particular the much-feared Candida) responsible for the alteration of the intestinal microbial ecosystem, which in time causes injuries at mucosa level, worsening intestinal permeability and consequentely triggering the onset of food intolerances.

Curcuma: from Curcuma rhizome an extract is obtained, rich in curcumina, that has proven beneficial effects on the immune system: a team of researchers has, in fact,  discovered that curcumina can reinforce the immune system making it more efficient in counteracting the attack of pathogenic agents. Curcuma also has a digestive function, since it simulates biliar secretion helping the digestion of fats. In addition, it also has an important antifungal action and, in this sense, it works synergistically with GSE.

Fermented maltodextrins (enzymes): this is a special combination of purified, highly efficient enzymes, concentrated extracts obtained from fermented maltodextrins using cultured fungus Aspergyllus. These enzymes are active at a temperature close to that of the human body. They carry out their activity within a pH range between 3.0 and 9.0: in other words, they are the only enzymes that are active in both the acid and alkaline, as well as the neutral tracts of the intestine. Their action starts in the higher part of the stomach. This helps diminish the body’s secretion of digestive enzymes, reducing workload of the pancreas. These enzymes break down proteins as well as carbohydrates and fats effectively, ensuring that food macromolecules are split into their core constituents.

3.To favour drainage of toxins and improve functionality of organs in charge… 

Nature can help you with…

Milk thistle: characterised by extraordinary, antioxidant and detoxifying properties, its action affects the liver in particular; its use is essential to improve hepatic activity and purification of organisms “intoxicated” by food intolerances.

Curcuma: due to its particularly rich phytocomplex, it has always been employed as a remedy to solve liver problems. It has hepatoprotective, choleretic and colagenic effects, promoting the production and secretion of bile and, therefore, of digestive processes. In addition, it has a marked anti-inflammatory action in both acute and chronic cases. This activity, free of any side effect whatsoever, is essential in reducing the chronic inflammatory state which is inevitably sparked off by food intolerances.

Solidago: well known for its marked diuretic and purifying properties, it has an anti-inflammatory and decongestant effect on the urinary tract, contributing to maintain a condition of well-being in kidneys and bladder. Considering its properties in general, the draining action exerted helps eliminate toxins accumulated due to food intolerances.

4.In order to follow a diet that enhances intestinal eubiosis and the right input of nutrients…

Nature can help you with…

PLANT PROTEINS: legumes (beans, peas, fava beans, lentils and chickpeas), tofu, tempeh, yeast and wheat germ.

CEREALS AND WHOLEWHEAT PSEUDOCEREALS: rich in vitamins, mineral salts, fibres, starches and proteins.

They can be divided into gluten-free cereals and pseudocereals (rice, millet, maize, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth) and in cereals containing gluten (barley, rye, spelt, oats, wheat and kamut).

ORGANIC SEASONAL FRUIT AND VEGETABLES:  the richest in vitamins, especially vitamin C, provitamin A and minerals (calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, magnesium, etc.), antioxidants and fibres.

FISH: small fish and open sea fish (sardines, sea breams, sea basses, anchovies, mackerels), not more than twice a week.

OLEAGINOUS SEEDS: rich in vitamin E, group B vitamins, minerals such as phosphorus, copper, calcium, zinc; plant proteins, fibres, essential fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids.

FIRST PRESSING OILS: rich in vitamin F, A and E vitamins, polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6).

LOW FIXED RESIDUE MINERAL WATER: to be taken away from meal times and at room temperature, with fixed residue levels below 50mg/L and pH between 6 and 7.

Planned intake of the above listed components has been split and differentiated according to the requirements of different times of the day (morning, midday, evening). This way, useful substances are provided in adequate quantities at the best time of the day to ensure optimal efficacy.

Besides, it is essential to point out that when there are food intolerances it is necessary to rule out all foodstuffs damaging  the intestinal mucosa and rather opt for foodstuffs promoting intestinal eubiosis and that are therefore essential for the definitive resolution of food intolerances and to maintain good health.

Specific remedies useful to treat the following conditions can further support the above-mentioned combinations, essential to ensure a definitive solution to food intolerances:

– Digestive problems: GSE, Grapefruit, Cardamom, Coriander, Cumin, Rhubarb and Milk Thistle, in swallowable tablets.

– Abdominal bloating: GSE, Vegetable carbon, Sweet mint, Peppermint, Angelica archangelica, Fennel and Linden, in swallowable tablets.

– Constipation or hard stools: GSE, Fermented maltodextrins, soluble fibre-granulates.

– Candidiasis: GSE, Tabebuia, Uncaria, Rosemary and Fructo-oligosaccharides in swallowable tablets.

– Severe diarrhoea: GSE, Krameria Triandra, Oak, Carob, Cypress, Blueberry, Anserine, Baobab, Hawthorn, Alchemilla, Agrimony in swallowable tablets.