Are you confused about the differences between food allergies and food sensitivities? You're not alone, these often get confused!
Food allergies are IgE mediated immune reactions that happen immediately upon eating a problematic food. These types of reactions have the potential of being severe and even life threatening, often requiring a person to carry an epipen with them. These reactions occur when your immune system overreacts to a food protein, thinking it is an invader and initiating chemical reactions that can cause swelling, airway constriction, watery eyes, dizziness, itching, headaches, nausea/vomiting, congestion, difficulty breathing, blood pressure changes and potentially anaphylaxis. Food allergies are irreversible and can worsen over time. Oftentimes individuals will already know their food allergies since they have immediate and serious symptoms.
Many people tend to get food allergy testing through an allergist, since it is commonly done in conventional medicine practices. At AHM we can also test for food allergies using ELISA IgE food antibody testing through the lab of your choice.
Common food allergy examples include (but are not limited to): peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy, cow's milk , wheat and eggs.
Food Sensitivities are IgG, IgM and IgA mediated responses that are considered delayed reactions, sometimes taking up to three days for symptoms to manifest. This is why many people will have a difficult time with identifying food sensitivities without the help of testing. Food sensitivities can also be due to difficulty with food protein breakdown, such as lacking enzyme production for the proper digestion of a food. Although food sensitivities are not life threatening, continual exposure to a food sensitivity can worsen existing conditions and put you at increased risk of other chronic illnesses. Symptoms of food sensitivities include skin reactions (such as acne, eczema and rosacea), joint pain/muscle pain, headaches, brain fog, inflammation/swelling, fatigue, memory issues/mental changes, difficulty concentrating, tinnitus, bloating, gas, bowel changes, heartburn, weight gain or loss and more.
Common food sensitivity examples include (but are not limited to): wheat, milk, nightshades, legumes, eggs and soy.
Sensitivity reactions do not carry the risk of anaphylaxis, but are a sign that you have lost tolerance to the specific food protein you are reacting to, have autoimmune problems or leaky gut. This is why your practitioner will often opt to make sure your gut is in good shape, before doing food sensitivity testing. If you do conduct food sensitivity testing while having an issue such as leaky gut, you may have many more food sensitivities show up on your test that are a result of a leaky/damaged gut barrier, rather than true sensitivities. This is why having a practitioner to help guide you through the process can be helpful in assessing what your problem may be and the risk it may carry.