Food Allergy & Senstivity Testing
Food Allergy, Food Sensitivty and Food Intolerances. Testing and the differences between them.
A lot of people will have reactions to food, some allergy based but for the most part, the reactions are food intolerances/sensitivities. The easiest way to overcome both is by eliminating the food. For food allergies, they will be there for life whereas with food sensitivities they can be for the most part reversed. A lot of people reading this may have begun to experiment with eliminating certain foods, which is a good place to start especially if you’re dealing with any of the following issues:
- Digestive disorders
- Skin rashes/disorders
- Mood issues
- Weight gain
- Inability to concentrate and focus
We are in the age where are alot of people are dairy free, lactose intolerant, gluten free, yeast free, etc., and this isn’t a bad thing if the offending food is causing you symptoms, however, the question in functional medicine is “the why” behind why are having these symptoms and getting an in-depth answer to this.
Food Allergy Test
A food allergy is immune-mediated and its when the immune system mistakes an ingredient in food as foreign that creates an immune response. The immune system response is to produce antibodies (Ige). If these antibodies are elevated high enough it can create a plethora of symptoms which can range from mild to potentially life-threatening. Signs related to a food allergy include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting,hives, tingling mouth, swelling of the lips and diarrehea. A reaction known as anaphylaxis can cause breathing trouble and dangerously low blood pressure which can be life-threatening.The causes of food allergies can be genetic in nature affecting a small percentage of the population (1 to 2%) and the offending food will need to be avoided for life.
Food allergy testing are measured through antibodies via a blood test only. Things get a little more complicated when there is a delayed non-IgE-mediated food allergy, which can’t be picked up by tests currently. The best way to figure this out is to exclude the food for a short period and then reintroduce it a later date and see if there are any reactions.
Food Sensitivity Testing
As mentioned, most reactions to offending foods are caused by a food sensitivity rather than a true food allergy. From an immune perspective, different antibodies are produced (IgG, IgA and IgM) and although still has an element of an immune response, symptoms are slower to appear than a true allergy, The problem here is that you may have eaten an offending food 48 hours prior to a symptom showing up making it difficult to find the food causing the senstivity,
Food sensitivity testing are measured through antibodies via a blood test, however, the testing isn’t back by any gold standard. Although, testing can be useful in certain situation, we generally look at an elimination diet of the typical offending culprits.
Food Intolerance Test
The main difference between food intolerance and food sensitivity is that it doesn’t involve an immune response meaning there are no antibodies produced. When food intolerances occur it generally involves a reaction in the digestive tract causing issues with the digestion of the offending food. Symptoms can be gas, bloating, heartburn or vomiting.
With food intolerances, there is a threshold that your body can handle and once you exceed that threshold, symptoms start to appear. The most common food intolerances are gluten and dairy. For example, someone may be able to eat a pizza one day without any issues, however, if they eat the exact same pizza the following day, they may end up with digestive symptoms. Everyone will have different thresholds and different timeframes within those thresholds. Ways to get over this is taking enzymes to digest the offending food such as lactase with dairy.
Although NHS food intolerance testing is a viable option in terms of its quality, the problem is that you will generally need a referral which can take many months before you can be seen by a specialist and the costs .for private food intolerance testing in the UK are quite reasonable
If you are experiencing food allergies or sensitivities, we can help at our functional medicine clinic in London.
Book an appointment at the London Centre for Functional Medicine to learn about food intolerance tests London/food allergy tests UK and treatments available to you from our expert practitioners.
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