I often get asked what is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. All too often these terms are used interchangeably but really, only a few percent of the population experience true food allergies.
A food allergy is an abnormal reaction by a person’s immune system against a normally harmless substance and is diagnosed when the body produces IgE antibodies. A person without allergies would have no reaction to this substance, but when a person who is allergic encounters the substance, the body reacts by releasing chemicals which cause allergy symptoms.
Symptoms may vary from a runny or itchy nose to a skin rash or hives. A reaction often occurs within 30 minutes. Some reactions may be life-threatening, as in the case of eating peanuts for some people.
Food intolerance is a physiological reaction to a chemical in the food and may lead to some similar reactions as for an allergy but also headaches, wheezing, learning or behavioural issues or irritable bowel syndrome. Symptoms can take up to 24-48 hours to appear.
Sometimes there may be an obvious connection between what has been ingested and a subsequent symptom but at other times it might be less straight-forward. It is important to identify the offending foods and to initially eliminate them from the diet. Doing a rotational elimination diet may help. Supporting the immune system and improving digestion are paramount. Having an Asyra Pro screening will help get to the bottom of what your body is really reacting to. All too often, if the initial trigger is ignored, an individual can find themselves becoming intolerant or “allergic” to an increasing amount of foods or environmental substances.