A subject that we're getting more and more questions about these days is how food intolerance can impact sports performance. Testing is growing in popularity as more and more of our top professionals have found that removing foods that they are intolerant to can have a big impact not only on their health but also their performance. In the Tennis world, it was Djokovic who famously removed food intolerances in his diet and he credits this for his ability to remain at the top of his profession.
Food intolerance is estimated to effect 45 percent of the population and can show itself in a variety of symptoms, for example, headaches, migraines, IBS, eczema, joint pain, unexplained fatigue among others. More on food intolerance and health can be found here. One of the difficulties for sports people and a common trap that they can fall into unwittingly is that they can follow diets that can become quite repetitive and find themselves eating allot of the same foods which can itself lead to food intolerance. An example of this would be eating a high number of eggs as it is a protein rich food. But if we become intolerant to this food, we can find ourselves with various symptoms, fluid retention and sub-optimal sports performance. Another common intolerance is to dairy products, so imagine the number of sports people out there who are regularly consuming whey based proteins in shakes and protein bars who may be impairing their performance without realising it. Intolerance to specific foods can also lead to challenges around weight management, so if you are finding that you are struggling to lose weight even although you believe that your diet and exercise program is optimal, it may be that you have underlying food intolerance which could be driving inflammation and leading to some challenges around losing weight. Typically people find that they lose a few of those extra pounds fairly quickly after removing problematic foods as they lose fluid retention and going forward find that they are better able to maintain an optimal weight for them.
A number of studies have indicated that a risk factor for food intolerance in sport can result from very intense training which can impact our immune system negatively and lead to impaired intestinal barrier function which allows food proteins to find their way into our blood system. One study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that "sports performances and health in elite athletes depend on food intolerance in many ways. The elimination diet for 3 months significantly improved health, body composition and faster lowering HR after cardiopulmonary testing."
The particular test that we offer is from the Lorisian laboratories and they have a number of case studies after working with a number of high profile sports professionals and sports teams, notably Newcastle United and Wigan Warriors Rugby League Team. Some examples of individuals are marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, Professional rugby players Peter Stringer and Rob Vickerman, triathlete Matt Perry, International Hockey Player Mike Shaw and runner Dani Rowlinson.
Paula Radcliffe found out she was intolerant to egg, chicken, wheat, tomatoes and dairy and said,
After I cut these foods out of my diet, I was able to run without doubling up in pain. I have a lot more energy and I am back to my normal self. It truly made such a difference to my life and I would recommend it to anyone else suffering from symptoms like these.
England Rugby 7's player Rob Vickerman had always followed a protein rich diet designed to help fuel his training and assumed the foods he was eating were the best possible choices to compliment his exercise. He said,
At no point throughout my professional career did I even think about awareness of my nutritional make up. I, like many of my peers ticked the usual boxes of high protein quantities, low carb and fats without really knowing what was good for me or why.
Rob Vickerman is a classic example of someone eating the very foods he was intolerant to and in very high amounts which led to some health challenges. He says,
To overlook what fuelled me meant I was perhaps missing the most important information contributing to my performance. I used to react somewhat 'typically' after taking protein shakes, seemingly no different to the majority of my teammates. I never questioned this, nor the fact when I had eggs I would have a similar reaction, bearing in mind I was having 20-30 eggs a week.
Triathlete Matt Perry also benefitted his sports performance after taking the test. He said,
I have lost over an inch from my waist and lost 17lbs in weight. My energy levels throughout the day are higher; I am more focussed and clear headed. Also in my first triathlon of the season I knocked 17 minutes off my time from last year... A simple test and re-education on your eating habits can turn your life around.
Are there any other tests relevant to optimising sports performance?
One that I recommend is the Optimal Nutritional Evaluation which is a simple and convenient urine test which analyses key nutritional biomarkers including antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals, digestive support and amino acids. The report also gives advice not only on any nutritional deficits you may have but also suggested nutrients and optimal dosing for you to rectify any deficiencies or imbalance.
Our nutritional status is impacted not only by what we eat but what we absorb of what we eat. We may therefore require further support in the form of digestive enzymes and probiotics. As excessive sport is known to impact free radical damage, we also need to be mindful of optimising antioxidants in the diet. Another factor which we can't underestimate in sport is stress, not only because it impacts performance but also because it can have a negative impact on our digestion and absorption of nutrients. Another test which may therefore be appropriate in some cases is cortisol. It is well known in sport that mind set and keeping stress under control can be pivotal in taking us to the next level.
For further information for individuals or for teams contact us at email@example.com or phone 01224 969637. We are open Tuesday to Saturday.
Getting to the bottom of your skin conditions...
There are many possible triggers and drivers for skin problems from acne to psoriasis to eczema to a whole array of lesser known skin conditions which often have their roots in diet, immune, nervous system and digestive health. Common triggers can be viral, bacterial or fungal, or based on contact allergies. Often we fall prey to these things following a period of extreme stress or long term use of particular medications. If you’ve been struggling with a long term skin condition and are not getting to the bottom of it, give us a call or pop in and find out whether we can help you get to the root of the problem. We offer full consultations and a variety of blood testing including food intolerance and allergy testing. Stool testing can also be relevant in some cases.
It’s always great to get a successful outcome and especially when it’s a skin problem as we understand how upsetting this can be and can really affect confidence and self-esteem. This is a great testimonial from one of our recent clients who came and had a food intolerance test to see if he could uncover some important clues. We couldn’t be more delighted for him at the result. Here is what Adam from Aberdeenshire had to say:
Adam's story... "How I got my skin better after 2 years of struggling."
“Two years ago, after returning from a friend’s wedding, I broke out in a rash all over my torso. Initially I thought it was chicken pox, as one of the guests children had this, however it was diagnosed by my GP as Pityriasis Rosea.
The rash cleared up on its own after 3-4 weeks and I thought nothing more of it.
Then a few months later, I noticed a similar 'herald patch' appear on my torso. Initially it was quite small, around the size of a penny. I thought it was the same rash reappearing, and took no notice, as I thought it would clear up on its own as previously.
Several months passed, and the patch continued to grow. It was now 2 inches in diameter and was inflamed and very itchy. I became embarrassed and self-conscious, and was applying an assortment of creams and oils in an attempt to eradicate this, all unsuccessful. My wife then suggested to see a nutritionist as she thought that the rash could have been worsened by a food intolerance, and booked me an appointment that week to see Beverley.
I had a food intolerance test which takes a few minutes, along with a consultation to explain my circumstances, and then waited 1 week for the test results.
I found out that I was intolerant to cow’s milk & yeast, and immediately started to completely remove these food types from my diet. I also supplemented my diet with curcumin to help alleviate inflammation and caprylic acid for its anti-fungal properties.
I was amazed that around 4 weeks later, the rash had almost disappeared and the skin had completely healed. I'm now at week 6, and the rash has completely disappeared. This has opened my eyes, and I firmly believe that with the correct diagnosis, the body can be fully restored from within, with the simplest of dietary changes.
Thank you so much Beverley (and my wife!) for your help, support, and nutritional insight.”
So you'd like to know more...
For further information on Nutritional Therapy or Food intolerance testing please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01224969637 or pop in for a chat at our new clinic and shop at 44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA.
Last year the Daily Mail published a fantastic story about a woman who managed to stop her migraines after cutting out corn and dairy products from her diet – with the help of a nutritionist and a food intolerance test! She had suffered terribly on a weekly basis for years on end, which is so sad to see when the cause was something as simple as eliminating a couple of foods from her diet. Food intolerance testing can help people tackle all sorts of conditions be it head related, stomach problems or skin conditions. I’m so glad I found out about it!
I first developed eczema at the age of around 14 during my standard grade exams. The doctors put it down to stress, and not knowing any better, I simply agreed and went along with it. It was a pretty stressful time in my school life, and having never had any real problems with my skin prior to this, I guess it made sense at the time. Seven years later though, when the medicated creams failed to work time and time again, and the eczema kept coming back more and more aggravated each time, I began to question whether there could be something more to my flare ups than just stress. I visited Beverley in April last year for a food intolerance test – after my little brother had received his results for his own testing with regards to his abdominal pain. I was amazed that the test had managed to narrow down his problems to specific foods and as my brother had done so well and his symptoms had gone away I wanted to know if the foods I was eating on a day to day basis could be the culprit for my irritated skin!
My results came back just one week later, and I took out chilli, garlic, ginger, yeast, gluten and dairy and was recommended to avoid these for 3 months and then re-introduce slowly and see how my skin reacted. It was definitely a thought to begin with – I was so used to eating whatever I wanted be it chocolate, crisps, pizza etc., I was a sucker for convenience food! I can honestly say now that my diet is much more varied and relatively healthy now which is a huge benefit having gone through this process.
Since having switched my diet, I have seen a huge improvement in my overall health, not just my skin. My eczema has improved tremendously, and although it has flared up a little on my hands right now – this normally happens when the weather goes from one extreme to another. When my diet was mostly rubbish based, I would often take a nap during the day as I would get quite tired around 3pm. I can now function like a normal person from 6am – 11pm without a nap, which is a massive improvement as I can actually do things after work and with my evenings! Finally, the results that I have been most pleased with is my stomach. I no longer feel bloated on a day to day basis. I no longer need to eat and eat and eat to feel full, and I’ve lost around about a stone – solely from switching around my diet (and eating more!), and no extra exercise, which is amazing.
I’ve since introduced all of the spices back into my diet with no problems as of yet – and I’m currently playing around with yeast too. At the moment I have no intentions of introducing dairy or gluten foods back into my diet. Of course this is all still a work in progress, however I’m absolutely delighted with all of my results. I feel a whole lot healthier on the inside and out - and would very much recommend a visit to a nutritionist if you feel that your diet could be improved, but you don’t know how to go about it. I also highly recommend Food Intolerance testing as it is life changing and saves years of unnecessary visits to the doctor and endless rounds of steroids. Wish I had done it sooner!
- Lauren, Aberdeen
If you would like to find out more about food intolerance testing or book an appointment pop in and see us at Nourishing Insights, 44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA or call 01224 969637.
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WHAT OUR CLIENTS ARE SAYING
“I did Nutritional Therapy with Beverley and it was life changing. I highly recommend it!” Allison Blakely (Glasgow)
44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA
Tel: 01224 969637
Opening Hours: Sun- Mon: Closed Tue to Sat: 10am-4pm
Late night appointments available on Thursday evening on request.