Numerous patients come to me looking for help, wondering if food allergies could be causing some of their health issues. The difference between food allergies, food sensitivities/delayed allergies or food intolerances and the current lab test that are available will be discussed.
Food allergies are usually life threatening, medical emergencies and present as a sudden onset. Some signs and symptoms are difficulty breathing, swollen mouth, swollen throat, itching mouth or lips, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, asthma, etc. Food allergies usually occur within minutes to 1 hour after coming in contact with the food and are caused by an IgE antibody.
Food Intolerance can be either a genetic or autoimmune process, i.e. lactose intolerance or celiac disease. These usually occur soon after eating the offending food but are not life threatening. They can also present with similar symptoms of food sensitivities.
Food Sensitivities/Delayed Food Allergies cover a broad range of issues. Food sensitivities can occur anytime for immediately after eating foods to up to 72 hours later. They can be related to numerous health conditions and are usually caused by an IgG antibody. The symptoms are less intense than a true food allergy but still cause many health issues.
Symptoms related to food sensitivities but not limited too, are:
Dark circles under eyes
Needing to sleep after you have eaten
Gas or bloating
Recurrent sinus problems
Post nasal drip
And many more.
Diseases related to food sensitivities, but not limited to, are:
Skin issues: eczema, psoriasis, acne, rashes, itching
Mental: ADHD/ADD, anxiety, depression,
Digestion: IBS, heartburn, Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting,
Immune: Allergies, asthma, autoimmune, frequent sinus infections, Rheumatoid arthritis, frequent illness, swelling in the joints, pain,
General: Fatigue, Insomnia, mouth sores, brain fog, mood swings, headaches, migraines,
Skin prick test/Blood test- (food allergies) IgE- this test is specific for food allergies i.e. anaphylaxis and is usually run by your Primary Care Doctor or Allergist. The most common results are peanuts and shellfish.
Food Sensitivities/Delayed Food Allergies- IgG 96 food sensitivity panels, US Biotek-a finger stick test that tests reactivity to 96 of the most common foods which is usually followed up with an elimination/challenge diet.
Elimination/Challenge- Considered the gold standard but only recommended for most severe cases. This diet consists of eliminating the most common food sensitivities: Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy and Citrus for 3 weeks and then reintroducing one at a time to see if there is a reaction.
Once your food sensitivities/delayed food allergies are identified, elimination is key. Treatment depends on the amount and severity of sensitivities/delayed food allergies. If they are mild to moderate, elimination and some gastrointestinal repair is done with herbs and nutrients, i.e. Probiotics, omega-3s, glutamine, etc. If severe or numerous sensitivities/delayed food allergies are present, a more in depth protocol for "leaky gut syndrome" is recommended. Once identification, elimination and treatment is completed, than most patients can reintroduce small amounts of the offending food without any effects.
Clinically food sensitivities play a big part in many of the health issue of my patients. Although currently no food sensitivity testing is 100% accurate, I usually recommend an appointment and an IgG test to get a good guide of what foods are causing your health issues.
If you have any questions please call us at 303.688.6698 to schedule a free 15 minute phone consult or click HERE.