Food Allergy or Food Intolerance
- Food allergy is caused by specific IgE antibody against the specic food.
- The symptoms are usually those of ‘classic’ allergy such as rashes, wheezing, itching, severe gut symptoms or (very rarely) sudden collapse.
- Most people will therefore already recognize that the food causes them a problem.
- There are allergy blood tests and allergy skin tests, and food challenge tests available by allergy specialist doctors to diagnose food allergy.
Food intolerance (non-allergic hypersensitivity) is a sensitivity to food without an immune reaction.
- The onset of symptoms is usually slower and may be delayed by many hours after eating the offending food;
- The symptoms may also last for many hours, even into the next day.
- Intolerance to several foods or a group of foods is not uncommon,
- hard to decide whether food intolerance is the cause of chronic illness, and which foods or substances may be responsible.
- The symptoms caused by intolerance are much more variable
- symptoms include fatigue, bloating, irritable bowel, joint pains, rashes, nettlerash, eczema, migraine and various other symptoms.
- Chronic conditions such as Arthritis, Eczema, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Migraine and Ulcerative Colitis are sometimes linked to allergy or intolerance to foods .
- Food intolerance can have a number of different causes.
- Some people may be lacking in an enzyme that is required for proper digestion of the food.
- Others seem to be upset by substances that occur naturally in the food (e.g. histamine or salicylates) which don’t affect other people.
- There may be increased sensitivity to natural components such as caffeine, or to food additives.
- This means that there is no easy blood or Allergy skin tests to identify intolerance.
- Some tests have been developed that may be helpful but none of them give a definite answer; they can only guide us about what might be causing a problem, but this then needs careful checking.
- The most accurateway of identifying whether food intolerance is contributing to a chronic illness is an Elimination and Challenge Diet.
- Food avoidance and repairing your intestinal barrier are two ways to treat food sensitivity.
Action plan if you have food sensitivity
The most effective way to identify the cause of your food allergy/reactions is food diary and deliberate challenge.
- Record the time and duration of all symptoms
- Record all foods, medications, snacks and nibbles
- Once you suspect a particular food, avoid it for at least one week, and re-introduce it for three days in a row and see if the symptoms recur.
- Consult a specialist doctor who understands the problems of food allergy and solutions for leaky gut syndrome
Watch Food Allergy video from American Academy of Allergy