Persistent stomach rumbling: food intolerance and its effects on the body
Anyone suffering from gastrointestinal diseases is faced with a variety of possible causes. This also includes food intolerances that many people initially do not notice. "Because intolerances can lead to symptoms up to 72 hours after eating," explains Dr. Susanne Fink-Tornau, nutritionist and ecotrophologist at the health food manufacturer Natura. But what are the most common triggers and how can the symptoms be alleviated?
Fruit sugar and fructose are found not only in various types of fruit, but also in soft drinks, light products and barbecue sauces. Consumers often do not know this, so that the monosaccharide can also be taken unintentionally. As soon as the sweet substance arrives in the intestine, it begins to channel fructose into the blood via a transport protein. However, if there is a fructose intolerance, the responsible transport materials no longer function properly and process the special sugar only slightly or not at all. Consequence: flatulence, abdominal pain and diarrhea, since non-absorbed fructose in the colon is broken down by bacteria. To date, researchers have not been able to clarify exactly why fructose intolerance arises. For most of those affected, however, it can be easily managed through a special diet. First of all, there is a consequent waiver - until there are no more complaints - in order to then increase the dose slightly every day and explore the individual tolerance limit.
"If you still don't want to do without sweets, fructose-free sweeteners like stevia, cereal sweetness or zero-calorie sweetness from the health food store offer a healthy alternative," recommends Dr. Fink-Tornau.
What do dairy products, ready meals and various types of bread and sausage have in common? They all contain milk sugar, also called lactose. Complaints occur when lactose ingested is not processed due to a deficiency in the enzyme lactase. This causes the sugar to enter the large intestine, causing bloating and diarrhea. In order to avoid future inconveniences, it is advisable to limit the consumption of appropriate foods - depending on their tolerance.
Complete waiver is rarely necessary here, as most of those affected can tolerate small amounts. For example, sour natural yoghurts or long-aged cheeses have little milk sugar. Alternatives to this are the large number of lactose-free products on the market. There is also the option of supplying the body with lactase from the outside using special tablets, thus ensuring that lactose is fully processed.
As a messenger substance for the immune defense, histamine fulfills a variety of tasks in the human organism and triggers the body, for example in the event of infections and allergic reactions. Certain foods and beverages, such as cheese and red wine, naturally contain histamine. If histamine-intolerant people ingest more histamine than they process through their diet, the metabolism of the neurotransmitter suddenly stops. This affects around two percent of the entire population in Germany. Finding the cause is difficult because the wide range of possible symptoms - from facial redness to itching to intestinal complaints - makes diagnosis difficult.
"The symptoms of this intolerance are usually only temporary, so that improvements can be seen after a 10- to 14-day histamine diet," says the Natura expert. If those affected know about their intolerance, if they use fresh and little processed food, the stomach will also tolerate small amounts of histamine, such as in cream cheese and white wine.
This is an adhesive protein that occurs in wheat and related cereals such as rye, spelled, green seed or barley. People who tolerate gluten do not have to do without this special protein because it does not cause any complaints. However, if there is an intolerance, also known as celiac disease, it is a serious illness. Ingested gluten causes inflammation of the intestinal mucosa because the immune system sees the protein component of the grain as an enemy and produces antibodies. Particularly tricky: symptoms appear different for each person affected. There are both direct signs such as diarrhea and weight loss as well as indirect signs such as anemia, constant fatigue and persistent joint pain.
A lifelong waiver of gluten-containing foods is the only way to avoid complaints. Those affected can find gluten-free products especially in the health food store, such as sweet lupine flour, inulin or guar gum for baking and for preparing pasta.
"In general, it can be said that complaints that indicate an intolerance should not be underestimated, but should not be problematized too much. There are countless causes for intestinal complaints, even without intolerance, ”emphasizes Dr. In conclusion, Fink-Tornau.