24 Nov Food Allergies
It’s estimated that one or two people out of every 100 in the UK have a food allergy. A food intolerance can cause some of the same signs and symptoms as a food allergy, so people often confuse the two. Sometimes it is not easy to identify which food is causing a problem. The way of identifying such a food intolerance is through an exclusion diet, where you cut out certain foods from your diet one at a time to see if there is an effect. One of the tests for detecting which foods you are sensitive to is the immunoglobulins/IgG test.
You may be wondering what the differences between food allergies, food intolerances and food sensitivities are. Let me give you a brief explanation.
What is an allergy ?
An allergy is a response by the body’s immune system to something (called an allergen) that is not necessarily harmful in itself. Certain people are sensitive to this allergen and have a reaction when exposed to it. Some allergic reactions are mild and harmless, but others are severe and potentially life-threatening (anaphylaxis).
What is food intolerance ?
This is the result of the body’s inability to properly digest or breakdown the food due to some deficiency in an enzyme or other body process that would normally digest that food. A common example is lactose intolerance. Where the body lacks the enzyme (lactase) that breaks lactose (milk sugar) down into smaller sugars ready for absorption from the gut. The undigested lactose goes into the intestines and then produces unpleasant gas and bloating. Avoiding dairy products or taking oral Lactase usually solves the problem.
What is food sensitivity ?
These reactions are modulated by non-IgE antibodies or T-cell reactions and are typically delayed in nature. The reactions may occur hours after eating a food up to 3 days later. It can be extremely frustrating to figure out which foods are the actual culprits so have some patience with your poor friends or family members who are still trying to sort it out. Better yet, tell them about Mediator Release Testing. In these cases the symptoms are rarely life threatening but can include things such as digestive issues/IBS, headaches/migraines, body aches, fatigue, eczema, and a host of other ambiguous symptoms that might equate to “feeling lousy.”