Many foods and liquids we ingest today contain additives, preservatives, forms of insecticides and pollution. Others use genetically altered plants. These changes in diet are to blame for the increase of food allergies. A simple blood test will show what your blood is intolerant to. Often a change of diet is called for to decrease or eliminate these foods, which will create incredible, positive changes.
Sometimes people become sick from eating a particular food, because they cannot properly process or digest the food, or because they have a true allergic (immune) reaction to the food. Food allergies and food intolerance are sometimes confused with each other, but they are quite different in terms of their origin, symptoms and treatment.
The symptoms of food allergies and intolerance are not just restricted to gastrointestinal problems like most people think. Symptoms can also be allergic in nature such as in acute allergies or systemic within the body and may occur in many forms not relating to the digestive system at all.
|Digestive Symptoms||Typical Allergic Symptoms||Systemic Symptoms|
True allergic reactions to food involve the body’s immune system. When the body identifies a food as “foreign”, it produces antibodies directed against that food. With repeated ingestion of that food, the body mounts an immune response causing the release of histamine and other chemicals that trigger allergic symptoms. A common example of a food allergy is to peanuts, however, due to toxicity, nutrient deficiencies and drug use people can become allergic to many kinds of food that is usually considered “non-allergenic” including other nuts, fruits, starches and vegetables.
With food allergies, the symptoms can occur almost immediately or up to hours after consuming the particular food. These symptoms may affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, or the skin. Food allergy symptoms usually include skin rash or hives, swelling of the tongue and throat but can progress to breathing problems including asthma, vomiting or diarrhea, and abdominal pain and cramping. Severe allergic reactions (anaphylactic reactions) may result in swelling, throat constriction, loss of consciousness, or even death.
Food intolerance is completely different from food allergy although the symptoms are often similar in nature. The major difference is that food intolerances do not involve an immunologic reactions but occur because the body cannot properly digest the foods. A common type of food intolerance is lactose intolerance. Persons with lactose intolerance lack an enzyme (called lactase) needed to digest the milk sugar (called lactose). They can develop gas, bloating, and abdominal pain when they consume milk products. Food intolerances also have a large genetic component to them and can be found with intolerances that pass from generation to generation. Either way, the body was never designed to digest the foods either due to enzymatic issues or absorption problems in the intestine.
Food sensitivities are energetic reactions that the body can have against a specific food substance. These reactions can be mild or severe in nature and can range from digestive disturbances to skin or systemic reactions. Food sensitivities do not fall under the category of immune reactions as they may or may not produce a typical IgG / IgE response. They are also different than food intolerances as there is no lack of any enzyme designed to break down food. Food sensitivities are most frustrating for patients as they occur even after many blood tests have ruled them out.
What do I do if I react to foods?
If you believe you may have either food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity, keep a diary of the foods you eat and any symptoms you experience. A food diary can help track what foods bother your system. The clinic can also order simple skin tests or blood tests to determine if you are allergic to specific foods. The strategy of dealing with a food allergy is different than dealing with food intolerance as well as sensitivities. It is important to get tested to find out where the root of the reaction comes from.
Food Allergy, Intolerance and Sensitivity Testing
Food Allergy Testing
- IgG – IgE Allergy – Serum Test
- IgG Allergy – Blood Spot Test
Food Intolerance Testing
- Carroll Food Intolerance Test
Food Sensitivity Testing