This week is allergy awareness week. Food allergies and food intolerance are sometimes confused with each other, but they are quite different in terms of their origin, symptoms and treatment.
A food allergy is an acute immune reaction that never reaches the gut. The immune system mistakes the food for a dangerous-foreign-substance and goes into overdrive to fight it off. This results in the release of histamine and other naturally occurring chemicals in the body. It is this release of histamine and chemicals, which produce the symptoms we recognise as an allergic reaction. We call this a true allergic (immune) response.
The most severe form of food allergy can result in anaphylactic shock. This usually starts with an immediate blotchy rash, swelling of the lips, tongue or face, and then throat constriction, swelling of the airways, breathing difficulties and low blood pressure. The only reliable tests for allergic reactions are blood test IGE or RAST (Radio-immuno diffusion Test).
With a food intolerance, on the other hand, the immune systems is usually activated in the gut. Partially digested food enters the blood stream and triggers an immune system reaction by aggravating the mast cells in the gut’s mucous membrane. The reactions are more likely to be delayed - occurring several hours and sometimes up to several days after eating the offending food.
The symptoms of food intolerance are diverse and dependent on the organ systems impacted by the increased toxicity load created by a permeable gut.
Localised symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids and IBS. Systemic symptoms include skin conditions including hives, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea & allergic dermatitis. Long term issues associated with food intolerance are anxiety and depression, mouth ulcers, aching joints and muscles, fatigue, headaches/migrains, sinus and mucus problems, autism, ADHD, and weight gain. Many people will seek stimulants such as tobacco, coffee, tea, sweets, or coke drinks to combat their stress and depleted energy reserves further weakening their system.
The most common food intolerances are wheat, yeast and dairy products and chemicals that are produced naturally in foods. For instance, caffeine in coffee, salicylates which are a kind of natural pesticide found in many plants, and histamines in foods like strawberries, chocolate and cheese. Another possible cause of food intolerance is to additives in foods, these can be found in the form of sulphites, which are added to processed foods to give them a longer shelf life. They can also be found in fruit drinks and wine.
The gold standard to find out which foods are causing an adverse reaction in an individual is by keeping a very clear good and symptoms diary. I find that along side bioenergetics testing foods can be quickly identified and unlike a food allergy food intolerances can be reversed. Although we also use blood testing my preferred method is by monitoring the natural energetic response of acupuncture points to test signals, the tests are non-invasive and are produced immediately.
By overloading the body with foods mistaken as ‘enemies’ the immune system is overworked and a lot of vital energy is wasted. When these foods are avoided this vital energy can be redirected to cellular and DNA repair aiding you to restore your health and optimise wellbeing.
To find out more about the testing or to make a booking please contact our team of specialist food sensitivity experts.
Naturopath Nutritional and Herbal Medic Therapists providing programmes designed to restore health & optimise wellbeing.