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Functional bowel symptoms, fibromyalgia and fatigue: A food-induced triad? – Source: Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, May 18, 2012

  [ 25 votes ]   [ 3 Comments ]
By Arnold Berstad, et al. • • May 19, 2012

[Note: The most familiar food reaction is a specific immune system response to some protein, involving the immunoglobulin (antibody) IgE - e.g., fairly prompt inflammation, hives, eye and airway swelling. Other immunoglobulins are thought to play a role in other types of food related symptoms. In this study, 83 of 84 'food hypersensitivity' candidates were diagnosed with IBS; the large majority also met FM and/or chronic fatigue criteria; IgE activity did not seem to be implicated; and fat malabsorption affected about 1 in 4.]
Objective: Patients with perceived food hypersensitivity typically present with multiple health complaints. We aimed to assess the severity of their intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms.

Materials and methods:
In a prospective study, 84 patients referred to our outpatient clinic for investigation of perceived food hypersensitivity were enrolled consecutively.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was diagnosed according to the Rome III criteria. Severity and impact of bowel symptoms, fatigue and musculoskeletal pain were evaluated by using the following questionnaires: The IBS Severity Scoring System (IBS-SSS), the Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS), the FibroFatigue Scale (FFS), and visual analogue scales (VAS) for scoring of musculoskeletal pain.


• All but one patient were diagnosed with IBS, 58% with severe symptoms.

• Extra-intestinal symptoms suggestive of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia were demonstrated in 85% [chronic fatigue] and 71% [fibromyalgia], respectively.

• Neither IgE-mediated food allergy nor organic pathology could explain the patients' symptoms.

• Nevertheless, malabsorption of fat was demonstrated in 10 of 38 subjects.


Perceived food hypersensitivity may be associated with severe, debilitating illness.

The comorbid triad of IBS, chronic fatigue, and musculoskeletal pain is striking and may point to a common underlying cause.

Source: Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, May 18, 2012. PMID:22594347, by Berstad A, Undseth R, Lind R, Valeur J. Unger-Vetlesen's Institute and Department of Surgery, Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, Oslo; Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway. [Email:]

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Article Comments Post a Comment

A Food-induced triad?
Posted by: stillkicking51
May 19, 2012
I am only able to read the abstract of this article. Have they tested for Celiac disease and gluten related disorders with blood tests and biopsy on these patients? Celiac is a proven cause of FM/CFS. It would be interesting to know if they ruled it out.
Reply Reply

Posted by: KerryK
May 20, 2012
I haven't read the article either. However, a diagnosis would, I assume, be made after the other possibilities have been exhausted. I agree with the article that there may be a common pathway to these conditions.
Reply Reply

Perceived food hypersensitivity?
Posted by: ulala
May 26, 2012
I'm not sure I understand what they're saying. Can someone explain what this article is stating?

"Perceived food hypersensitivity may be associated with severe, debilitating illness." What does that mmean? As far as I know you either have a food hypersensitivity or you don't. Where does the perception come in, and who is perceiving the food hypersensitivity? The doctors or the patients? Thanks!
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