What are allergies and food intolerances?
Ellen Agius - Medical Nutritionist
The terms food allergy, food intolerance, food sensitivity, are often used interchangeably, and we are often confused by what they each mean. Reactions
can be identified by the fact that some cause an immune response and others don’t.
Allergies cause a immune response and you will hear of 2 main types of allergies IgE and IgG reactions.
IgE reactions are an immediate adverse reaction within seconds or minutes after ingestion for example: peanut or shellfish allergies. Symptoms can include rashes, sneezing, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock. It is therefore obvious which foods are responsible and these have to be avoided for the rest of your life.
IgG reaction on the other hand are a delayed reaction such as a hypersensitivity to food. This is often measured by a food intolerance test. The onset of symptoms can be hours or days after ingestion of food and include symptoms such as headaches/migraines, fatigue, eczema, asthma, joint pain, arthritis etc. The good news is that food intolerances can be rectified by eliminating the food for a period of time and then reintroducing them gradually.
Other reactions that do not produce an immune response but cause discomfort such as bloating, diarrhoea, excessive wind or stomach pains can be due to an enzyme deficiency. Such as lactose intolerance and histamine intolerance. (foods containing histamine include red wine, cheese, chocolate etc.)
There are a number of tests you can therefore run for allergies and intolerances but are often limited by the number of foods that are on the test. I also do Compatibly testing which tests over 500 foods and products and is different in that the foods and household products are tested to check for compromising of cellular function. Poor cellular function leads to inflammation which is involved in most disease states including allergies.
As a Nutritional and Functional Medicine Practitioner I proved an Allergy and Reactivity Reduction Program. This is a 12 week program which involves testing, meal plan and nutritional support .
Find out more information at www.SunshineCoastNutritionist.net.au