Food Allergies vs Food Intolerances

Food For Thought
November 2, 2012

Food intolerances, along with true food allergies and malabsorption, are on the rise around the world.

But what are they exactly?

With malabsorption, certain intestinal cells are simply unable to help you absorb your food. Whereas ‘true’ food allergies are immune reactions to food proteins. Your body’s immune system basically launches an inappropriate and severe attack on normal food substances and treats them as invaders.

A reaction to an allergic food is immediate in onset and can be life threatening.

This is known as an IgE, Immunoglobulin (type E), immune response.

Quick Definition: Immunoglobulins are a class of proteins made by the body, which function as antibodies produced by the immune system in response to foreign bodies such as food antigens.

Food intolerances (or sensitivities) on the other hand, are more subtle in their presentation, often occurring hours to days after exposure to food antigens.

Symptoms of a food sensitivity tend to be cumulative.

IgG, an Immunoglobulin (type G), often mediates a food sensitivity response.

Food sensitivities can also be pharmacological reactions (like side effects of a drug) to certain foods when they are eaten.

Factors such as enzyme deficiency, histamine releasing effects, and altered intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) can all contribute to development of a food intolerance.

Though not usually life threatening, the effects of a food intolerance are still ‘hard to stomach’. Adverse reactions to food may initiate a myriad of effects on your body.

And just in case you are blissfully free of food sensitivities, a common list of symptoms may include: bloating, abdominal distention, pain, nausea, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation, rashes, mood disturbances, fatigue, headaches, fluid retention, urticaria, weightimbalance, and sinusitis (to name a few).

So, if you have unexplained symptoms such as these, how do you know if a sneaky food intolerance is to blame? Identifying troublesome foods can be made much easier with the help of Computerised Electro Dermal Testing.

What Else Can I Do?

Heal Your Gut Wall with Functional Foods:

Under normal circumstances, the lining of the small intestine is nearly leak proof and only fully digested food molecules are allowed to pass through. The epithelial cells that line the intestine are joined by tight junctions. If stresses on these delicate structures are severe, the formerly tight junctions may start to detach.

The resulting gaps make your gut “leaky” and large undigested food molecules may pass through into the bloodstream and lymph vessels of the intestine.

  • L-glutamine – aids in the proliferation and repair of intestinal cells.
  • N-Acetyl-Glucosamine – a component of the mucus layer that lines the intestinal lumen and therefore plays an important role in maintenance and repair of intestinal mucus membranes.
  • Quercetin – an anti-inflammatory bioflavonoid that helps down regulate allergic response.
  • Soluble fibre – the special properties of soluble fibre have a soothing effect on the gastrointestinal mucus and also act as a fuel source for good bacteria.

Protect Your Gut with Probiotics:

Not all probiotics are created equally.

Digest Better with Digestive Enzymes:

Proteases (enzymes that help you digest protein) especially may play a significant role in preventing food reactions. In order for an absorbed molecule to produce a response, it must be of a relatively large size, and proteases help you break down your food protein molecules better. Clinical studies dating back as far as the 30s and 40s have found pancreatic enzymes to be effective in the prevention of food intolerance.

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