Subjective health complaints and modern health worries in patients with subjective food hypersensitivity

Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Jul;50(7):1245-51. doi: 10.1007/s10620-005-2767-6.


Perceived food hypersensitivity is much more common than food allergy as medically verified. Unexplained symptoms and wrong attribution are typical in subjective health complaints. We hypothesize that subjective health complaints and worries are abnormally prevalent among patients with subjective food hypersensitivity. Forty-six patients with subjective food hypersensitivity and two control groups, one formed by 50 health care workers and one by 70 sex- and age-matched volunteers from the general population, were included in our study. All filled in two questionnaires: Subjective Health Complaints Inventory and Modern Health Worries Scale. None of the patients had IgE-mediated food allergy. The patients scored significantly higher than the controls on sum scores for four domains of subjective health complaints, including gastrointestinal complaints (P < 0.001), musculoskeletal complaints (P < 0.01), "pseudoneurology" (P < 0.001), and allergy (P < 0.001). Sum scores on modern health worries did not differ significantly between groups. The results support our hypothesis of an association between subjective food hypersensitivity and subjective health complaints, corroborating the view that, in the absence of food allergy, the conditions are sharing pathogenetic mechanisms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / psychology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires