Understanding Food Allergies, Sensitivities, and Intolerances: Why I like to test

Understanding Food Allergies, Sensitivities, and Intolerances: Why I like to test

Have you ever wondered about the differences between food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances? Let’s delve into these distinct conditions that can impact your health and well-being.

According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization, approximately 32 million people in the United States have food allergies, equivalent to about 10% of the population.

Food Allergies

When your body encounters an allergen, it triggers an immune response. This response involves the release of histamines stored in mast cells throughout your body. Histamines cause inflammation and can lead to symptoms such as flushing, hives, itching, and difficulty breathing—classic signs of an allergic reaction.

Interestingly, food allergies can develop over time. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology notes that food allergy symptoms can appear at any age, even to foods you’ve eaten without problems for years. Individuals with certain conditions like eczema, asthma, or seasonal allergies may be more susceptible to developing food allergies.

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities differ from allergies as they don’t trigger an immediate immune response. Symptoms can manifest anywhere from 3 to 72 hours after consuming the offending food. Unlike allergies, which involve IgE reactions, food sensitivities are often associated with IgG responses.

Symptoms of food sensitivities vary widely and can include brain fog, fatigue, irritability, bloating, skin issues, and digestive discomfort. Sensitivities usually stem from disturbances in the gut microbiome caused by factors like food poisoning, antibiotic use, or poor dietary habits.

Food Intolerances

Food intolerances arise when the body lacks specific enzymes needed to digest certain foods. Lactose intolerance is a common example where individuals can’t break down lactose due to enzyme deficiency. Symptoms typically include digestive issues like gas, bloating, and loose stools.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To identify food allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances, comprehensive testing is essential. I work with labs which offer advanced testing that evaluates immune responses to over 80 different foods, providing insights into allergies (IgE), sensitivities (IgG), and more.

Once identified, an elimination diet can help restore gut health. By removing trigger foods and gradually reintroducing them, patients can alleviate symptoms and potentially regain tolerance to certain foods. I work with you and provide recipes, meal planning, and journaling tools to make this journey. 

Testing also assesses intestinal permeability and inflammation levels, guiding practitioners in repairing the gut microbiome through dietary adjustments and targeted supplementation. We may decide the best approach involves supplements as well as nutrition. After we get your test results back, we have a telehealth session to review the results and begin to create your plan, the map to recovery which may include supplements, nutrition, or lifestyle changes.

The Road to Relief

Many patients experience significant improvements in symptoms, such as reduced pain, enhanced focus, clearer skin, and improved digestion, through personalized treatment plans that restore gut health and identify dietary triggers.

Understanding food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances is crucial. If you suspect you have food-related issues, please reach out and schedule a session. It’s time to begin your journey toward better health and improved quality of life.

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