Glossary

A


Acne
Acne is a very common condition that occurs most often in adolescence. Some report that more than 89% of teenagers are affected, and the condition frequently continues into adulthood. Aside from scarring, its main effects are psychological, such as reduced self-esteem and, according to at least one study, depression. Early treatment is really important to lessen the overall impact to individuals. There is a tight connection between diet and acne formation; dietary factors can trigger and aggravate existing acne. Avoiding the wrong foods such as milk, sugar and hydrogenated oils, and eating cleansing and hormonal balancing foods such as green leafy vegetables and essential fatty acids, can help.


ALT and AST
Enzymes which are present inside liver cells. Damage to the liver can cause ALT and AST to leak into the blood. As a result, high levels of these enzymes in the blood can be an important indicator of liver damage

Allergy
Reactions that are IgE antibody mediated which occur almost immediately, usually within 2 hours of exposure to the offending substance. For example pollen allergy symtoms may affect the respiratory system, contact with animal fur and house dust mite may cause skin reactions.

Arthritis
Arthritis is a term used to describe a number of painful conditions of the joints and bones. Two of the main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Asthma
Asthma affects the airways of the lungs (the bronchi) which causes the airways to become inflamed and swollen. The bronchi are small tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the bronchi are more sensitive than normal and certain substances, or triggers, can irritate them. Common triggers include house dust mites, animal fur, pollen, tobacco smoke, cold air, and chest infections.

Anaphylaxis
Also known as anaphylactic shock; this is a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is your body's immune system reacting badly to the presence of a foreign object (e.g. food or a substance) it wrongly perceives as a threat. Your whole body is affected, usually within minutes of contact.

B

Bloating
Each of us at one time or another have experienced the feeling of being bloated; that uncomfortable feeling where the stomach or intestines push against the skin and make the tummy distended and hard. This is often caused by an excessive build up of intestinal gas or wind. Bloating and gas can be caused by a culmination of factors, which on their own may not cause ill effects but when combined can lead to symptoms that many people find not only uncomfortable but also embarrassing. For most people the problem is a minor one, which will from time to time reoccur, but for others it can be a persistent problem that can cause havoc during their everyday lives. Bloating is one of the main symptoms of food intolerance and symptoms of bloating can be relieved by identifying the foods that cause the problem, and then removing them from the diet.

D

Depression
Depression is quite common, and about 15% of people will have a bout of severe depression at some point in their lives. It is a serious illness and there are many factors that can contribute. However, it will come as no surprise to hear that what we eat can have a big impact on how we feel, mentally as well as physically. While depression is not caused by just one factor, eating well is a positive step in the right direction, and eliminating foods from the diet that the body has a reaction against is one way of boosting energy levels and improving mood.

Double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, neither the patients nor the researchers know who is getting a placebo and who is getting the treatment. Because patients don't know what they're getting, their belief about what will happen doesn't taint the results. Because the researchers don't know either, they can't hint to patients about what they're getting, and they also won't taint results through their own biased expectations about what the results will be.

E

Eczema
Eczema is a skin condition, which can result in dry, red and flaky skin. The skin may feel hot and very itchy and scratching can lead to the skin becoming damaged and infected. Eczema is not contagious. Eczema is also known as dermatitis, a term used to describe inflammation of the skin.

ELISA
Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay, or ELISA, is a biochemical technique used to detect the presence of an antibody or an antigen in a biological sample.

F


Fatty Liver
Fatty liver is a condition which is caused by the build up of excess fat in the liver cells. It is normal for your liver to contain some fat. But if fat accounts for more than 5-10% of your liver’s weight, then you have fatty liver and you may develop more serious complications.

Fatigue
Fatigue as a concept is extremely hard to define, since everybody has their own idea of what being tired means. Everybody is tired once in a while, the most common reason is of course lack of sleep. The number of people complaining of tiredness increases every year; 1 in 10 people are suffering from persistent tiredness, with women more likely to be affected than men. Chronic fatigue is a medical condition characterised by drowsiness, slowness, general indifference, or tiredness so much so that you can't perform all of the normal, daily activities you used to. Some people battle chronic fatigue for many years. The cause of chronic fatigue is not known, although it is clear that the immune system is involved. It is also clear that one common symptom of food intolerance is fatigue.

Facultative Pathogenic Bacteria
These bacteria have the potential to be harmful and may or may not be causing you harm at the moment. If these potentially harmful bacteria are found in your Gut Health Test sample at high levels (yellow or red zones on your Intestinal Ecogram) it is important that you see your GP and take the results with you.

Fluid Retention
The digestive system needs to process and deliver nutritional resources and energy supplies to the whole body. A stressed digestive system is less able to process energy and nutrients for the rest of the body. It will also be less able to repel harmful invaders and more prone to disorders such as irritable bowel. Once the immune response is triggered in the body the body feels that it is ‘under siege’ thus hoarding supplies, storing fluid and increasing weight. It takes an overall approach to undo the damage caused, and identifying food intolerances is an important part of this process.

G

Gut Ecology
Gut Ecology describes the profile of micro - organisms in your gut.

H

Homocysteine
Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood. Epidemiological studies have shown that raised homocysteine levels in the blood can be linked to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

I

IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder characterised by abdominal pain and distension and bowel dysfunction. It is a distressing condition causing pain, loose bowels, constipation or a fluctuation between the two. IBS is one of the most common intestinal disorders and it is a long-term condition. The cause of IBS is not well understood. IBS can develop at any age, but most people have their first symptoms between the ages of 15 and 40. Women are more likely to get IBS and to have more severe symptoms. IBS is now one of the most common problems of the digestive system; about one in six people in the UK have symptoms. Most people with IBS find their symptoms an occasional nuisance, but don't need to see a doctor. However, for others the condition seriously affects their quality of life. Treatment for IBS may include dietary modification.

Immunoglobulin G (IgG)
IgG is a type of antibody that is found in blood or other bodily fluids.They are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses.

Intestinal Ecogram
The Intestinal ecogram is a detailed chart that summarises your Gut Health test results.

Inhallent allergens
An airbourne substance which causes an allergic reaction.

Itchy Skin
Dry, itchy inflamed skin can make life a misery. It is estimated that at any one time around 25% of the population has a skin problem that could benefit from medical care; skin conditions account for between 15 and 20% of a GP’s workload. One cause of itchy skin is eczema, a general term encompassing various inflamed skin conditions. ‘Atopy’ is the term used for the tendency to develop eczema, asthma and/or hay fever. Atopic people have an overactive immune system and their skin easily becomes inflamed. Although its cause is unknown, the condition appears to be an abnormal response of the body’s immune system. Eczema is not contagious and, like many diseases, currently cannot be cured. However, for most patients the condition can be managed well with treatment and avoidance of triggers. Diet plays an important role in the management of skin symptom flare-ups. Not all food triggers will be the same for everyone, and so understanding that food intolerance can contribute to skin problems and then identifying and eliminating the trigger foods can be key to reducing symptoms.

J

Joint Pain
Arthritis means inflammation of the joints and more that 9 million people in the UK suffer from arthritis and related conditions. Most people with arthritis will experience pain and difficulty moving around, and symptoms include stiffness, pain, swelling and fatigue. According to the Arthritis Research Campaign, many people claim that cutting out certain foods has helped treat symptoms of their arthritis. The problem is that what works for one person doesn't always work for someone else. For those with joint pains, acknowledging that certain food combinations can contribute to symptoms, and then identifying and eliminating the specific foods from their diet, can be an important step forward in improving everyday life.

M

Migraine
A migraine is a throbbing intense headache that usually occurs on one side of the head, although both sides may be affected in separate attacks. Migraines are painful and sometimes disabling and are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, noise, and smell. During a migraine attack there are changes in chemicals and blood vessels in the brain. These changes to the blood vessels are probably what cause the pain, but migraine is still a condition that is poorly understood. Migraine headaches tend to recur; a migraine headache typically lasts 4 to 24 hours but in some cases can last up to 3 days. In many people, migraines are triggered by reactions to foods. Understanding that food intolerance can contribute to migraines and then identifying and eliminating the trigger foods can be important.

N

Non-specific symptoms
There are a number of diseases, some of them very serious, which only cause mild or vague symptoms. People may not even really feel ill, but just have a feeling that things are not quite right. In some conditions, the symptoms get worse over time, but for some conditions, the symptoms may stay vague or non-specific for a long period. Any symptom needs checking with your doctor, even if it seems mild or minor.

O

Obesity
Obesity is when a person is carrying too much body fat for their height and sex. A person is considered obese if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) - weight in kilograms divided by their height in metres squared - of 30 or greater. Obesity can happen when you eat more calories than you burn off over a period of time.

P

Pathogenic Bacteria
These bacteria, including Salmonella, are known to be harmful. If these harmful bacteria are found in your sample (red zone on your Gut Health Test Intestinal Ecogram) it is important that you see your GP and take your results with you.

Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin condition, it is a speeding up of the replacement processes of the skin. Normally skin cells take about 21-28 days to replace themselves , however in psoriasis this process happens much faster skin cells can be replaced every 2-6 days. This results in a build up of skin cells on the surface of the skin, in the form of what is called psoriatic plaque which looks like a raised red patch of skin, covered with silvery scales.
In many people psoriasis is triggered by reactions to foods. Understanding that food intolerance can contribute to psoriasis and then identifying and eliminating the trigger foods can be important.

R

Respiratory Symptoms
Sinusitis and asthma can seriously limit the possibility to catch your breath, can cause pain, headaches and leave you feeling run down. Although they are at different ends of the respiratory tract, upper and lower, they may be linked. Some researchers think they may be the same disease. In fact, about half of all people with moderate to severe asthma also have chronic sinusitis. Over 17 percent of the population suffers from the chronic form of these symptoms, and it isn’t only factors such as pollen or house dust that are the triggers. In one UK asthma survey over two-thirds perceived that various foods caused their asthma symptoms, and it appears likely that a delayed form of food allergy or food intolerance is the explanation. Respiratory symptoms like asthma have been linked to food intolerance and can sometimes be relieved by identifying the foods that cause the problem, and then removing them from the diet.

S

Sinusitis
Sinusitis is an infection of the small, air-filled cavities inside the cheekbones and forehead. Acute sinusitis is fairly common, with approximately 1-5% of adults being diagnosed with the condition every year.

Y

Yeasts (including Candida) and moulds
Candida is a yeast that is a natural resident of the gut. Usually Candida refers to Candida albicans, however there are other species of Candida that are also tested for. The level of Candida in your gut is important. Once the Candida reaches a certain level (see Gut Health Test Intestinal Ecogram for details) they cling to the wall of the intestines making them very persistent. If the levels of yeasts or moulds in your sample are too high recommendations will be provided that may help correct them.

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