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Author: Mark Cook

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Coffee & Migraines

As it’s Migraine Awareness week (September 1 – 7), here at Lorisian we wanted to look at the relationship between coffee and migraines. After all, 14.3% of the UK population (that’s 1 in 7 of us) are affected by migraines.

Migraines usually come with the following symptoms: a throbbing headache, pain felt in the head, face and neck lasting anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, increased sensitivity to light and sound, and even stomach pain.

How much caffeine should I have?

For an average adult, 400 mg of caffeine is recommended as the daily limit. This amount can fluctuate with factors such as weight and common health factors, but it does provide a guideline to avoid effects on our hearts, bones, fertility, behaviour, and headaches or migraines.

But how much is 400 mg of caffeine? This is approximately four cups of brewed coffee, ten 330ml cans of fizzy drinks, and two energy drinks. However, caffeine content varies wildly, especially in coffee. This can depend on the grind, how it has been roasted and brewed.

Certain individuals also may not have the same threshold for caffeine consumption; they may even be intolerant to coffee. It’s important to listen to your own body, monitor your intake, and decide what suits you.

Can coffee trigger headaches?

Coffee can trigger headaches or migraines in three main ways:

  • Caffeine causing the narrowing of blood vessels around your brain
  • As a result of an intolerance
  • As a result of caffeine withdrawal

Having regular headaches that you think might be related to coffee? Firstly, make sure you are not consuming more than the recommended daily limit of 400 mg of caffeine. Suddenly cutting it from your daily routine may result in unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal that include headaches, lethargy, irritability and more. Consider taking a food intolerance† test to decipher whether you are intolerant to coffee, including the milk that tops your daily latte, or any other foods that may be interacting in a way that increases migraine triggers and symptoms.

Is coffee good for migraine headaches?

Strangely enough, while caffeine is a frequent cause of headaches or migraines, research shows that it might have the power to help them. Found in many medications for pain relief, it works by reducing inflammation in the affected part of the body. When working in tandem, caffeine may make ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol work better and more effectively.

Perhaps coffee can help your migraine headache then, but only in a small and certified dose. Too much caffeine and you may increase vulnerability to migraine triggers.

Can you be intolerant to coffee?

A reaction to coffee can either be attributed to a food intolerance, caused by a component of your coffee drink, or might show a sensitivity to caffeine. If symptoms persist even after switching to decaffeinated beverages (coffee without caffeine), it’s likely that you could well be intolerant to coffee. Intolerances are not life-threatening but can cause great discomfort.

What are the symptoms of coffee intolerance?

Finding yourself often with joint pain, anxiety, stomach pain, headaches or migraines, fatigue, or IBS? They could be a result of your reaction to the ingredients in tea or coffee – or even a range of other food ingredients.

Carefully eliminating foods that you have an intolerance could have an incredibly beneficial effect on your symptoms.

†Lorisian define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction. Food intolerance is a condition with a range of symptoms including gut symptoms, bloating, headaches, migraines, low mood, fatigue, weight gain and skin problems. These symptoms must always be checked out by a Medical Professional. If you have clients that have seen a Medical Professional but have not been given a diagnosis for their symptoms, then they may be suffering from food intolerance.

Lorisian scoops award

Lorisian has secured a ‘double double’ by clinching two prestigious business prizes for the second year running.

Our laboratory has been named Food Intolerance Testing Company of The Year in the UK Enterprise Awards.

It has also scooped the gong for Excellence in Dietary Research & Solutions 2019 in the same competition.

Lorisian’s Scientific Director, Dr Gill Hart, said: “We’re delighted to have won two such well-respected awards, and for the second year in a row on both counts.

“The recognition is down to the quality of our products and the hard work put in by the dedicated and passionate team of staff we have.

“In a competitive sector, we strive to stay ahead of the field by ensuring that our service is trusted and transparent.

“We offer the best testing and also excellent nutritional support following the results to help our customers successfully navigate their food intolerance journey.”

Our programmes require a simple finger-prick blood test which can be done at home and posted back to our accredited laboratory which then measures reactions to up to 208 different types of food and drink ingredients.

Richard Dawson, Managing Director, said: “The UK Enterprise Awards reward those who thrive amongst fierce competition on a national scale and we are delighted to be recognised for ‘Food Intolerance Testing Company of the Year’ for the second-year running.

“We are well known for our quality food intolerance testing programmes and this award underpins our belief of constant innovation, teamwork and passion for diagnostic testing.

“We work with businesses of all sizes across all sectors to provide food intolerance tests and nutritional optimisation advice for their employees.

“Our brand ambassador is Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell and we have helped sports teams to optimise their diet. It has been a fantastic year for us.”

A spokesman for the awards said: “In what may appear to be a time of uncertainty, one thing remains a standard in the UK: Strong, vibrant and diverse businesses that year upon year develop and grow their products and services to benefit their new audience and situation.”

The annual UK Enterprise Awards recognise and highlight the key SMEs (small and medium sized enterprise) and individuals in the UK business landscape.

Why Choose Lorisian

We have won many accolades over the years for the outstanding service that we offer to our customers. We’re proud of the difference we have made to people’s health and the research we have carried out along the way.

Here are our 12 pillars of excellence, which define the high-quality service Lorisian offers to every client that takes one of our tests, summed up in our infographic below:

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Introducing Lorisian’s Laboratory Manager

My name is Katrina Seaton. My day-to-day duties involve managing the Laboratory, Fulfilment and Quality Assurance departments at Lorisian. I am a HCPC registered Biomedical Scientist and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and I joined the company in early 2018,.

Upon appointment to my role, the relocation of the business to our new site in Huntington, York was imminent and came with many new advancements in our laboratory. The new purpose built laboratory is fitted with designated testing areas, improving workflow across all areas of testing. Additionally, an in-house walk in cold store has enhanced throughput from the manufacturing team. The laboratory is equipped with an ELISA plate manufacturing machine, ultra-pure water generator, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) instrument and two full testing run machines.

As part of the company’s commitment to continuous improvement and delivery of quality products, the equipment in the laboratory has seen large investment.  New analytical balances, pH meters, UV spectroscopy readers, incubators and a water purification machine have been procured, which ensures the high standards of quality control are maintained. The most existing purchase for 2019 is the selection of a new, state of the art production instrument that will increase ELISA plate production by 100%.

The laboratory are responsible for Quality Control of the products. Working with Quality Assurance policies, all products are manufactured, tested and reported to straight quality requirements. The company has been certified to ISO13485:2016 which ensures that the international standards for our products are maintained as well as GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) recommendations. The laboratory also performs additional QC checks on all samples and the corresponding results. Performance monitoring of the instruments and ancillary systems is conducted daily and weekly, and all equipment is maintained to the highest standard.

A welcome note from our new Managing Director

Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Richard Dawson and I was appointed Managing Director of Lorisian and YorkTest Laboratories at the start of this year.  

The first thing I would like to say, is a big thank you for your support of our Lorisian brand and to thank you for your continuing business. 

My style of running a company is one of collaboration and putting the needs of the customer first.  We have already undergone a few changes this year at Lorisian, which I would like to share with you:

  • a fresh approach from our Lorisian team, headed up by James Callery, Josh Netherwood and Gemma Callaghan, where we wish to work in a true partnership style with yourself and other industry professionals
  • Dr Gill Hart, our Scientific Director, will be sharing more industry news via webinars and our website
  • we are launching some exciting new products this year – which started with the launch of our new LiverCheck Test and Diabetes Test in May
  • Mark Cook, Head of Marketing, will be creating more added value content to support your partnership with Lorisian, such as website and social media content
  • we are investing in new IT systems, so that we can more easily communicate together and meet your ongoing requirements
  • our Lorisian customer support team Georgia Davies and James Harrod; as well as Gemma Callaghan, Josh Netherwood & James Callery and myself – are available to chat with you by phone anytime or to meet with you in person if you wish

There are many other new developments over the coming months that I look forward to sharing with you.  

I would welcome any feedback as to your experience of working with Lorisian and how we could provide an even better service.  Please call me anytime on 01904 428 578 or email me at  

Once again, many thanks for working with Lorisian and YorkTest Laboratories and I look forward to establishing a long lasting and enjoyable partnership with you.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Dawson, Managing Director

What factors contribute to diabetes?

Did you know that over 4 million people in the UK are currently living with diabetes? According to Diabetes UK, this translates to 6% of the UK population.

There is no common cause of diabetes as it can vary depending on the individual and the type of diabetes.

The causes of Type 1 diabetes can vary considerably and can be triggered by a person’s genes or environmental factors. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when a person’s immune system, the body’s system for fighting infection, attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.

There are a variety of risk factors for type 2 diabetes, any or all of which increase the chances of developing the condition. These include genetics, obesity, living a sedentary lifestyle, increasing age and bad diets.

How can I test my clients for diabetes?

The Lorisian Diabetes Test* can identify if your client is at risk of diabetes. A simple finger prick blood test, it can identify if your client needs to visit their GP for further support and make suitable lifestyle changes.  

Once they have taken the test and their blood sample is analysed, you will receive a colour coded score. Depending on where the results sit within our recommended range, you will receive advice on what to do next and how to best advise your client.

The blood sample will be tested for glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c). Haemoglobin molecules contain iron and carry oxygen around the body, delivering it to all cells in the body. HbA1c is haemoglobin with ‘sugar’ molecules attached to it. The more sugar in the bloodstream, the more it attaches to the haemoglobin.

By encouraging your client to make necessary lifestyle changes, the client can go a long way towards decreasing their chance of developing diabetes.

What lifestyle changes can be made?

  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage stress levels

Do you have a question about our diabetes test? Are you interested in offering the test to your clients?

To find out more about Lorisian and our testing, please contact our friendly team online or call 01904 428 550.

*Diabetes Test (HbA1c) results are provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use Diabetes Test results for diagnosing or treating medical or health condition. If your client feels unwell or suspects that they have a medical problem, promptly contact a GP.

Can a food intolerance cause migraines?

It is estimated that 1 in every 7 people around the globe suffer from migraines†, making it the third most common disease in the world.

Research has also revealed that migraines affect twice as many women as men and they affect adults and children of all ages.

The World Health Organisation classifies headache as a major health disorder and has rated migraine amongst the top 20 most disabling lifetime conditions. A migraine attack can last for between 4 and 72 hours and sufferers experience an average of 13 attacks each year.†

So what is the link between migraine and food intolerance and how could this link lead to answers and a resolution for your clients?

Known causes of a migraine include disturbed sleep patterns, stress, and reactions to certain foods and it is the latter that is regarded as one of the easiest to control.

There are many foods which may act as a trigger and could cause migraines.

The case for a food intolerance causing migraines

A survey of a 1,000 people suffering with migraine by the charity Migraine Action revealed that over two thirds of Migraine Action members affected by frequent migraine attacks believe that certain foods could be the cause.

The gold standard method for confirming food reactions is the elimination diet and challenge. This involves eating a restricted diet over a period of time. If there is no improvement in the frequency or severity of your migraines during this time, it is assumed that the food type that has been restricted is not contributing to the symptoms (migraines), and the process is repeated with another food type.

This method can be very time consuming, and it is very difficult to test all the different combinations of food types that may be contributing to the problem. A food intolerance* test can highlight a person’s trigger foods without the need for eliminating individual foods one by one and can form the basis of a fast-track elimination diet. The potential that food intolerance* testing offers migraine sufferers has been demonstrated in several studies (see references below).

The most recent of these, published in the Headache Journal, concluded that the number and severity of migraine attacks was significantly reduced when the subject followed an IgG guided elimination diet.4

The Migraine Action survey 2011 meanwhile found that 85 percent of people affected by debilitating migraines had their symptoms reduced, and quality of life improved, once their food triggers were discovered and avoided.

Additional research from the University of York, the largest clinical trial of its kind in migraine-like headaches, published in the Nutrition Journal, has further supported the Migraine Action findings. It uncovered that the frequency of migraine attacks was slashed by almost a quarter (23%) over 4 weeks when the Lorisian food-specific antibodies test was carried out to identify a sufferer’s food triggers. For additional references please see below.

How can I test my clients for food intolerances*?

Do you have a question about food intolerance? Are you interested in offering tests to your clients? To find out more about Lorisian and our food intolerance* testing, please contact our friendly team.


1. Further analysis of data published originally as Hardman G and Hart G (2007) Dietary advice based on food-specific IgG results. Nutrition and Food Science 37: 16-23.

2. Mitchell N et al (2011) Randomised controlled trial of food elimination diet based on IgG antibodies for the prevention of migraine like headaches. Nutrition Journal 10: 85.

3. Alpay K et al (2010) Diet restriction in migraine, based on IgG against foods: a clinical double-blind, randomised, cross-over trial. Cephalagia 30:829-37. Link.

4. Aydinlar E et al (2013) IgG-based elimination diet in migraine plus IBS. Headache 53:514-25. Link.

5. Rees T et al (2005) A prospective audit of food intolerance among migraine consumers in primary care clinical practice. Headache Care 2, 11-14. Link.

*Lorisian define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG antibody reaction. Our information is intended to provide nutritional advice for dietary optimisation. Lorisian do not claim to treat or cure your client’s symptoms and recommend that they discuss any medical concerns they may have with a GP before taking one of our tests.
The Migraine Trust

Can your diet and nutrition affect psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin complaint that can cause a red rash, mainly around the elbows, knees, hands, the lower back and the scalp. It can be very difficult to treat clients with the condition as the cause can be complex.

As with any autoimmune condition, the body’s normal defence mechanism gets confused and this leads to immune cells beginning to behave differently. With psoriasis, this causes inflammation, which then alters skin cell reproduction and differentiation. Thicker patches of skin then form where new cells build up faster than old skin cells are shed. In some cases, psoriasis can be so severe that these itchy patches cover a large percentage of the skin.

What to do next

If your client suffers from psoriasis, they may ask you whether dairy causes inflammation, or if eliminating gluten from their diet would help them manage psoriasis symptoms.

The truth is that diet appears to have a substantial role in causing the inflammation that triggers psoriasis, and food intolerances may play a part. However, it’s important to remember that each person is unique, so there may be many other foods that are causing your client’s food sensitivity; for example, wheat, eggs or nuts.

A simple IgG food intolerance test may help to determine whether a food intolerance* is the root cause of your client’s psoriasis.

Psoriasis and gut health

If your client has a food intolerance, then eating certain foods may be aggravating their gut. This could cause inflammation and encourage psoriasis.

Identifying food intolerances and then allowing the gut time to heal can be very relevant for those with an autoimmune condition. What a person chooses to eat is very important. As individuals, our reactions to foods and drinks that we consume varies a great deal. An ingredient which may cause problems for one person could be completely acceptable for another.

For clients with persistently itchy skin, discovering and understanding their food and drink intolerances* and the effects they have on their health and wellbeing can be a very important step. Once individual food triggers are identified, informed choices can be made to optimise diet and quality of life.

Contact the Lorisian team today to learn more about food intolerance* and find out about our IgG testing services.

*Lorisian define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG antibody reaction.  Our information is intended to provide nutritional advice for dietary optimisation. Lorisian do not claim to treat or cure symptoms and recommend that your client discusses any medical concerns they have with a GP before undertaking one of our programmes.

7 tips for growing your business: Partners

One of the fastest ways to grow your business is to partner with other practitioners. Not only can it introduce you to their customers (and vice versa), but your partnership could deliver more value to your joint clients, helping you improve their satisfaction and increase your revenue.

Partner with expert, relevant practitioners

Grab a drink, find a quiet place and have a think about what supporting services would strengthen your offering. Talk it through with your colleagues and especially your clients! You can also give us a call, we’d be happy to help shape your business model.

A great example of two complementary practitioners is a personal trainer (PT) and physio therapist. As a PT you could build in regular physio to help your client recover from your sessions. And as a physio you could refer your clients to a PT for strength and rehab work. Win win.

How to find a partner

Referrals are a great place to start and are always reassuring, so ask around to see where that takes you.

Not every partner needs to be local, online coaching and consultations are becoming very common place. Use Google and social media to identify partners and get in touch via their website or tools like LinkedIn.

We work with hundreds of qualified practitioners, so you can also speak to us about finding suitable partners in your area. Talk to us on LiveChat or get in touch here.

Watch our short video and download our free e-book

To learn more, watch this short video from our Commercial Director, James Callery, and download our e-book – 7 dynamite tips for growing your client base.

7 tips for growing your business: Networking

As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know! Arguably one of the fastest ways to grow your business in both the short and long term is to build your network of people and businesses. Good people know good people, so it’s not just about your direct network, it’s about the reach you have at the 2nd and 3rd level!

Build face to face time with your network

We would recommend that you regularly attend local networking events, seminars and exhibitions. Ask your friends and colleagues or get on google and social media to find these.

Although it can take courage to walk into a room and just start talking with people, face to face is where the strongest relationships are built. It’s worth plucking up the courage to introduce yourself. A good tip is to have a bank of basic questions to fall back on if conversation is hard to come by – take 10 minutes to write them down before you reach the venue.

Strengthen relationships online

Online tools such as LinkedIn are a great way to extend your network as well as staying in touch with your existing contacts. Find relevant people through Sales Navigator (one of LinkedIn’s premium tools), use the basic search function or simply look at your existing network’s connections. Send a short note with your request that explains why you want to connect. The key is to clearly position the mutual value your relationship can bring – try and be specific.

Although coffee meetings and lunches are fun, staying in touch by sharing helpful content, commenting on their posts, sending over a quick how are you and introducing them to more relevant people is a great way to keep your relationship alive.

Think quality, not quantity

It’s all well and good having thousands of LinkedIn contacts and a suitcase full of business cards, but in the end a strong network is based on the mutual value you can bring each other. Start small and be specific with the areas you want to grow, for example personal trainers and gym networks, journalists in the health sector or supplement suppliers. You can then choose your networking activity accordingly.

To learn more, watch this short video from our Commercial Director, James Callery, and download our e-book – 7 dynamite tips for growing your client base.

Can diet impact mental health and wellbeing in the workplace?

Mental health and wellbeing at work is rightly a hot topic at present as more and more employees are encouraged to speak out about any struggles they might be having.

Daily pressures in a frantic world can quickly get on top of us and it’s easy to automatically attribute any stress primarily to heavy workloads when things get a bit too much.

One of the most commonly overlooked factors, however, is diet. The nutrition we get before, during and after work plays a significant role in our overall performance, whether the signs of it are physical or not.

A 2017 study by Pulsin found that over a third of us in the UK are guilty of skipping their lunchbreaks in favour of working longer and harder hours at their desks. This can be a harmful lifestyle to be leading at work – it not only has the potential to affect performance at work, but it can also affect mental health and wellbeing at home in the long run if care is not taken.

 Download our e-book – How to support good mental health in your workplace. It includes 10 free tips for HR professionals.

How important is the workplace diet?

Providing the body with the recommended levels of nutrients and vitamins on a daily basis is vital for giving longevity to its health and wellbeing – they are “recommended” levels because they help maintain the necessary balance for the body and mind to operate at their optimum capacity.

When overworked employees go through long periods of opting for snacking at vending machines and quashing hunger as quickly as possible because of urgent deadlines, they run the genuine risk of affecting their health and overall susceptibility to mental health problems.

The mental health charity, Mind, found in its research that one in five employees in Britain had called in sick to avoid work when the conversation about stress levels arose. Stress can be caused by a number of different contributory factors and diet is one of them.

Access to a better diet won’t magically remove all stress triggers for employees in a workplace, but it can at least encourage them to make a change for the better. An improved level of overall health in your employees can lead to greater happiness at work in general and this can manifest itself in the likes of increased productivity, improved collaboration and enhanced communication throughout the business.

Could food intolerance be affecting the workforce?

Another key factor that your business should consider is the impact that food intolerances may be having on your workforce.

Thought to affect up to 45% of the population, food intolerances could be the root cause of a large number of disruptive symptoms. These range from IBS, migraines and low energy to psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.

Food intolerance can have a significant impact on the health of your gut, which in turn affects our mood and behaviour. This is because the immune system provides key communication pathways between the gut and the brain.

The measurement of food-specific IgG antibodies is used as a strategy for identifying foods to which your employees may be sensitive. This approach is then used as a starting point for an elimination diet.

Lorisian’s team not only offer IgG testing to up to 208 foods and drinks but can also provide nutritional support to help your workforce adapt to their new diet and get on their way to better health and wellbeing at work.

What food and drink should be encouraged at work?

One of the most common messages we get from our GPs is to drink more water – and this particularly applies to the kinds of workplaces that demand active brains and bodies on a daily basis.

Concentration levels are positively affected by the intake of more water, so it’s crucial that access to it is easy, whether it’s from taps, in bottles or in fruit-form. Fruit baskets are growing in popularity, too, and the likes of apples, oranges and bananas are great ways of taking in the daily mix of water, nutrients and vitamins that’s necessary for keeping your mind and body hydrated and healthy.

When the sweet tooth kicks in and snacks are on the mind, a small amount of dark chocolate is one choice that ticks both boxes: it’s rich in antioxidants and indulgent at the same time.

What can employers do for mental health and wellbeing at work?

If you haven’t introduced this already, simple fixes like installing water coolers and ordering weekly fruit baskets at the office can help to improve mental health and wellbeing in your employees. Not only will they have access to food and drink that’s better for them than those from a vending machine, but they’ll also feel more empowered by the fact that their employer genuinely cares about their mental health and wellbeing.

Certain employees may be reacting to something in their diet and this could be having a significant impact on their performance at work. It’s for this reason that more and more employers are making food intolerance testing* available to their employees so they can identify their trigger foods and help them to optimise their diet.

It rings true in any working environment that employers that look after their employees will have employees that are more inclined to look after them, so it helps to give them options.

Download our e-book – How to support good mental health in your workplace. It includes 10 free tips for HR professionals.

Mental health can be seen as a very personal and private matter that may not be easy to talk about, so workplaces can and do often feel like closed-door environments for those who are struggling. Employers can actively encourage communication by breaking down the barriers to having someone to talk to – and sometimes it can even be as simple as leaving office doors open more often than they are closed.

Coupling this with access to healthier choices for food and drink and the option to take a food intolerance test* if they so wish can also have hugely positive impacts on any kind of working environment.

*Lorisian define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction. Our information is intended to provide nutritional advice for dietary optimisation. Lorisian do not claim to treat or cure symptoms and recommend that your employees discuss any medical concerns they may have with a GP before undertaking one of our programmes.

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