Food Allergy Symptoms or Food Intolerance?
By Wendy Wells, NMD.
Food intolerance is one of the main causes for health problems of any kind. Finding relief to food intolerance and food allegies means treating the cause. We may sneeze or itch after eating certain foods, we may have an increase in phlegm in our throat or stomach pain, gas, bloating. Many of us have reactions to foods and think that simply removing the food(s) from our diet is the answer. The cure, however, can be found by asking WHY we have these food reactions.
We MUST begin with how we digest and assimilate our food, in order to have a healthy body. A healthy gastrointestinal lining would not allow these undigested particles into the bloodstream. The cause must be in the barrier function of our gastrointestinal lining. The question then becomes what are we doing or not doing that is causing the lining to be compromised? One of the main causes could be food intolerances. Here is a list of possible causes.
- Consuming intolerant foods
- Chronic use of NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen)
- Steroids (prednisone, cortisone, etc)
- Antibiotic use
- Chemotherapy – (methotrexate)
- Alcohol use
- Low anti-oxidants
- Poor diet
- Recent gastroenteritis
What is the difference between food allergies and food intolerances?
Then when undigested particles get inside the body due to weakened gastrointestinal lining, food "allergy" or 'reaction" occurs. Allergy involves an IgG, or IgE immune reaction. This reaction is a symptom of a deeper pathology.
What is a food intolerance?
Each individual is unique in how well we digest our food. Some simply do not have the enzymes to digest certain foods. Celiac's Disease or Lactose intolerance is the classic example. It is a huge misnomer that these people are the only ones with food intolerances. Everyone has some degree of food intolerance. Food intolerance leads to improper digestion which leads to food particles that putrefy in the GI tract and cause toxicity and inflammation. When people stop eating these foods or food combinations, they feel better
What happens when I eat foods I cannot digest (food intolerance)?
These partially digested materials are deemed foreign to the blood and an immune response ensues. They can also interfere with normal functioning of the body and they can lead to chronic disease.
First symptoms of food intolerance?
Often patients report multiple symptoms such as headaches, constipation, diarrhea, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, aches and pains, weight issues, depression, insomnia, asthma, anxiety, ADHD, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, eczema, PMS.
The body may or may not "react" immediately to these foods when eaten. Reactions can vary from sneezing, coughing, mild itching, to less noticeable chronic reactions that can lead to a variety of health issues. Regardless, these partially digested materials weigh heavily on our immune system, leave toxic residue in our gastrointestinal tract that causes disease in the body.
How can I find out my food intolerances?
Food intolerance can be determined by a simple blood test. This method of testing identifies foods which are not well digested or metabolized in a particular body. These foods are a source of maldigestion, intestinal toxemia, dysbiosis, and chronic irritation to body tissues.
What are common food intolerance test results?
Most people tested intolerant to one of the following foods or food categories: milk, soy, egg, meat, sugar, fruit, and potato. In addition, most people have a problem with one or more combinations of food, similarly not well tolerated. The most common food combinations are these: grain and potato, grain with milk, grain with fruit, grain with sugar, and fruit with sugar. Food intolerance is not limited to these categories, but most commonly a person will fall into one of these. Occasionally we need to look to other possibilities, such as soy, nuts, fish, etc.
How was the the Food Intolerance Test developed?
Food intolerance testing as devised by Dr. Carroll is similar in some respects to the bioelectronic testing of Voll, from which many biofeedback mechanisms currently in use have evolved. In the testing, a blood sample is placed in a specific electric circuit, and exposed to various foods in contact with a reagent. Fluctuations in the current are detected, and thereby the outcome of the testing determined. (For further information, you may want to consult writings by or about Albert Abrams, MD, such as "The Electronic Reaction of Abrams", which is available online. Copies of Abram's books and papers can be found at the library of the National College of Medicine in Portland, Oregon . The book Nature Doctors by Boyle and Kirshfeld have a chapter on Dr. Carroll, which includes some information about the development of the food intolerance test, and the book Naturopathic Hydrotherapy has a chapter on Dr. Carroll's dietary work. Thanks to Dr. Jared Zeff, ND of Portland, Oregon for this information.
Food Allergy Symptoms
Symptoms usually begin immediately, seldom more than 2 hours after eating. Rarely, the symptoms may begin hours after eating the offending food.
If you develop symptoms shortly after eating a specific food, you may have a food allergy. Key symptoms include hives, hoarse voice, and wheezing. In severe reactions, you may have low blood pressure and blocked airways.
Other Food Allergy symptoms that may occur include:
- Abdominal pain
- Angioedema (swelling, especially of the eyelids, face, lips, and tongue)
- Difficulty swallowing
- Itching of the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, or any area
- Light-headedness or fainting
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach cramps
Symptoms of oral allergy syndrome:
* Itchy lips, tongue, and throat
* Swollen lips (sometimes)
A food allergy is an exaggerated immune response triggered by eggs, peanuts, milk, or some other specific food. Many Americans believe they have food allergies, while in reality fewer than 1% have true allergies.
In fact, many more people have a food intolerance, where food allergies are less common. In a true food allergy, the immune system produces antibodies and histamine in response to the specific food.
Source: US National Library of Medicine
Normally, your body's immune system defends against potentially harmful substances, such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins. In some people, an immune response is triggered by a substance that is generally harmless, such as a specific food.
Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but a few foods are the main culprits. In children, the most common food allergies are to: Eggs, Milk, Peanuts, Shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster, snails, clams), Soy, Tree nuts, Wheat
A food allergy frequently starts in childhood, but it can begin at any age. Fortunately, many children will outgrow their allergy to milk, egg, wheat, and soy by the time they are 5 years old if they avoid the offending foods when they are young. Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish tend to be lifelong.
In older children and adults, the most common food allergies are: Fish, Peanuts, Shellfish, Tree nuts
An oral allergy syndrome may occur after eating certain fresh fruits and vegetables. The allergens in these foods are similar to certain pollens. Examples are melon/ragweed pollen and apple/tree pollen.
Most people's allergy symptoms are caused by intolerances to foods such as:
* Corn products
* Cow's milk and dairy products
* Wheat and other gluten-containing grains.
Author Wendy Wells is a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Arizona.
Symptoms during pollen season can be connected to food intolerance.