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DNA ancestry – does it work?

DNA ancestry

What is DNA ancestry?

DNA ancestry is a relatively new, cutting-edge technology that allows people to find out their origins by analyzing the DNA.You see, DNA is a fascinating entity that encodes everything that we are. It includes the genetic code that translates into protein, as well as the particular mutations that get passed throughout generations. Since DNA is transmitted from one generation to another, some mutations can be noted in particular regions that last for millennia. Therefore, scientists were able to collect a large database that allows us to pinpoint our geographic and ethnic origins. In short, DNA ancestry takes advantage of the technology of DNA sequencing and compares it with an existing database to determine your origins.

Does DNA ancestry work?

According to, the accuracy of DNA ancestry testing exceeds 99 percent! This advancement is due to how specific and sensitive DNA sequencing is becoming. Today, scientists can analyze thousands of nucleotides in a matter of seconds. In summary, DNA ancestry testing is very accurate, and the results are reliable.

DNA ancestry is useful to find origin

DNA ancestry testing is a powerful sign of the enormous advances we have made in the fields of biotechnology and medicine. Some people were really surprised to find out their origins, and many heartwarming videos that document these moments are available. If you have any questions about DNA ancestry testing or DNA in general, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

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Lactose Intolerance vs Lactose Sensitivity

lactose sensitivity

Most people get confused when the subject of lactose intolerance and lactose sensitivity comes up. Both conditions sound quite similar, and it’s really difficult to distinguish them clinically.

In this article, we will cover the basic concepts of these two ailments and how to tell the difference between them.

What is lactose intolerance?

When we consume dairy products, the different components of those products will get broken down by various enzymes in the gut. The most prevalent carbohydrate in dairy is lactose, which is normally metabolized by an enzyme called lactase.

The deficiency of lactase is what produces all the signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance; these include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating and gas
  • Dehydration

Lactose intolerance affects a significant portion of the population, with some scientists estimating that 75 percent of people have it!

What is lactose sensitivity (dairy allergy)?

We should first establish that the term “lactose sensitivity” is a misnomer, and not many people use it. When you hear this term, people are probably talking about lactose intolerance or dairy allergy.

Unlike lactose intolerance, dairy allergy is not caused by an enzymatic deficiency, but it’s rather the result of an immune reaction against some protein components of dairy.

The signs and symptoms seen during an allergic episode could be quite severe, and in some cases, patients may develop a life-threatening medical condition known as anaphylaxis.

Final words

Whether you have lactose intolerance or dairy allergy, it is important to perform allergic testing to identify the exact cause of your symptoms since most of these diseases share many clinical features.

Pinpointing the exact cause of your symptoms is a crucial step to adjust your diet accordingly.

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What is Home Testing?

home testing

Before allergy tests became readily available, patients who had allergies, food intolerances, and some diseases had to identify the substance that’s causing their symptoms the hard way!

Patients used to exclude a food element and wait for a couple of days/weeks to see if their symptoms improve. This technique was extremely ineffective, time-consuming, and delays proper treatment for patients.

Nowadays, allergy testing is available at public hospitals and private clinics. Moreover, home testing is gaining massive popularity because of how convenient it is. You can get yourself tested today, using a hair or a blood sample, and get results in a timely manner.

Who could use home testing?

Home testing is indicated for everyone who suspects having an allergy or intolerance to identify the substance that’s causing their symptoms.

You could either offer a hair sample or a blood sample to be tested for different allergens, depending on the symptoms you present with, as well as the region you live in. As you may know, some regions in the world are more susceptible to certain allergens than others.

Final words

This is an easy, quick, and affordable technique that will save you a lot of trouble.

Moreover, home testing’s accuracy has increased over the past couple of years, adding more to its credibility.

Once you identify the allergen that’s triggering your immune system, there are approaches:

  • Exclusion therapy – you exclude that particular food/substance from your daily routine.
  • Desensitization therapy – this is done by a trained immunologist or an allergist who would expose your to the allergen in small concentrations until your body adapts to it and tamper down its hyperreactivity.
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What is Histamine Intolerance?

histamine intolerance

Histamine is an important chemical that’s responsible for several functions in the body; it is one of the main substances released during an immune reaction. Histamine intolerance refers to the buildup of histamine inside the body, which can cause a variety of signs and symptoms.

Causes of histamine intolerance

Normally, the body breaks down ingested histamine, using an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO). Once histamine is inside the cell, another enzyme known as histamine-N-methyltransferase (HNMT) will break it down. Any condition that alters the activity of these two enzymes can lead to a buildup of histamine inside the bloodstream, and eventually, histamine intolerance.

Here is a shortlist of some causes:

Drugs that decrease DAO and/or HNMT levels

  • Theophylline
  • Antibiotics
  • Heart medications
  • Painkillers
  • Diuretics
  • Tuberculosis drugs
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (e.g. aspirin, diclofenac)

Other factors

  • Alcohol
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency
  • Physical trauma
  • Extreme temperatures

Some dietary choices have also been documented to cause histamine intolerance (e.g. chocolate, yogurt, green tea). For a more comprehensive list, take a look at this article.

Symptoms of histamine intolerance

The frequency and severity of symptoms vary greatly from one patient to another; however, the typical clinical presentation tends to be similar to that seen during an allergic reaction. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Flushing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Hives
  • Very itchy skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic constipation
  • Digestive symptoms (e.g. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas)
  • Lethargy (severe exhaustion)
  • Dizziness
  • Eczema
  • Tachycardia (high pulse)
  • Severe menstrual pain

Treatment for histamine intolerance

There are many therapeutic options for individuals with histamine intolerance; however, not all patients respond the same to one treatment.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Dietary changes
  • Antihistamine drugs
  • Supplementation in DAO enzyme
  • Taking corticosteroids


When histamine intolerance is suspected in patients, immunological testing becomes a must to determine whether they have a concurrent food allergy that’s exacerbating their condition. In the end, histamine intolerance is a challenging condition to deal with, and identifying the triggers is crucial to improve your symptoms.

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Gluten intolerance (sensitivity)

Gluten intolerance

Gluten intolerance is described as the digestive adverse effects patients experience after ingesting gluten-rich foods, such as wheat, rice, and barley.

Gluten intolerance should be distinguished from non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which is another condition that presents with milder symptoms.

What causes gluten intolerance?

Unfortunately, we do not have a complete understanding of gluten intolerance’s pathophysiology. However, we are sure that gluten intolerance is entirely different from the infamous celiac disease.

This is because the intestinal wall lining seems to be intact in patients with gluten intolerance, which is not the case in celiac disease.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance

After ingesting gluten-containing foods, patients may experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy (fatigue)
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Arthralgias and myalgias (articular and muscular pain)

Treatment options

The treatment of gluten intolerance is very straightforward; you simply have to adopt a gluten-free diet.

I know that it might sound easy to do; however, this task could be quite challenging in reality since most foods contain gluten.

Fortunately, the continuous education of individuals and industries about this disease has paid off. Now, you could clearly read on the label whether a product contains gluten or not.


Gluten intolerance used to be a hassle to deal with. Both patients and physicians had a difficult time controlling the symptoms.

Thankfully, inventing allergic testing and gluten-free foods helped patients live a normal life without any long-term complications.

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Food intolerance

Food intolerance

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, food intolerance is defined as having difficulties digesting a certain food element that may cause symptoms, such as abdominal cramps, bloating, and gas.

A food intolerance is different from a food allergy, with the latter being more serious. If you want to learn more about the difference between the two conditions, check out this article (insert link of intolerance vs sensitivity article).

The most common food intolerance is lactose intolerance, which we have covered in greater detail in our other article (insert link of lactose intolerance article).

Causes of food intolerance

There are many causes of food intolerance, including:

Enzyme deficiency

Most macronutrients are metabolized by specific enzymes secreted by the stomach, liver, and pancreas. When one of these enzymes is deficient, the body is no longer able to digest that food element. As a result, symptoms of indigestion occur.

Food toxins

Some foods are rich in chemical substances that irritate the intestinal lining, leading to symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

This is often the result of undercooking our food. For instance, beans are a rich source of chemicals known as aflatoxins, which can cause serious digestive symptoms.

Histamine intolerance

Histamine intolerance is the result of consuming foods rich in histamine; this process could lead to symptoms similar to food intolerance, including hives, skin rash, and indigestion.

For more information about histamine intolerance, check out this article (insert link of histamine intolerance article).

Treatment options

The only viable treatment option for food intolerance is to identify the exact element that’s causing your symptoms. This could be done via allergic testing at a clinic or from the comfort of your home.


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The difference between allergy and intolerance

difference between allergy and intolerance

People often confuse between allergies and intolerances, and this is perfectly understandable. The two conditions share many similarities, including triggers, causes, and symptoms.

However, the main difference between these conditions is the underlying pathophysiology.

In this article, we will briefly define the two conditions and highlight their differences.

What is an allergy?

As we discussed in our previous article about allergies, an allergy is caused by a severe immune reaction towards a food, drug, and even objects.

The hypersensitivity reaction launches after the immune system encounters the allergen for a second time. Signs and symptoms are diverse and include hives, skin rash, congested nose, itchy eyes, and digestive symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).

Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have some sort of food allergy.

Food allergies are triggered by the ingestion of the allergen regardless of how much you consume. One peanut could be enough to start a full-blown anaphylactic reaction.

What is an intolerance?

The best example of food intolerances is lactose intolerance, which affects a large portion of the general population.

The exact pathophysiology of food intolerances is inherently different from food allergies, as there are many causes that don’t involve an immune reaction.

The most common causes of food intolerances include:

  • Enzymatic deficiency
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic stress


As you can see, these two conditions are quite different, even though they share many features. Another similarity between allergies and intolerances is that both conditions can use the help of antigenic testing to identify their cause.

Of course, if the intolerance is caused by an enzymatic deficiency, the main way to make the diagnosis is by removing that food element from your diet and document if your symptoms improve.

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What is an allergy?

What is an allergy

Every day, your immune system encounters thousands of pathogens that try to penetrate and wreak havoc on your body. In fact, if it wasn’t for this system, none of us would be alive today!

Even though this system is highly sophisticated, it is not perfect. Every now and then, your immune system will launch a severe immune response against a harmless substance. If this process is recurrent, we are dealing with an allergy.

Causes of allergy

The exact causes of allergy have not yet been pinpointed; however, scientists believe it’s a combination of nature and nurture.

The nature part is the genetic predisposition that runs in families. If you have a close relative with many allergies, your risk of developing a new onset allergy is high.

The nature part relates to environmental exposure to chemical substances, which can be the trigger point of allergies.

Immunologists refer to the immune reaction that causes allergy symptoms as a hypersensitivity reaction. During a hypersensitivity reaction, your immune system will release several pro-inflammatory substances, such as histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins. All of these molecules will cause the typical symptoms of an allergic reaction, which include:

  • Congested nose
  • Sneezing
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hives
  • Swollen lips and tongue

Treatment options

At first, you might think that the best treatment option for allergies is to reduce the hyperactivity of the immune system. However, this treatment is left for extremely severe cases since it could be very damaging.

If you suppress your immune system, you will susceptible to developing many dangerous infections.

Therefore, the best treatment for allergies is to identify the substances that are causing these reactions.

Before the invention of allergy testing, this process was extremely expensive, long, and ineffective. Fortunately, you can accurately pinpoint the substance that’s causing your allergy from the comfort of your home, using home allergy testing.