What’s the Difference Between Food Allergies and Food Sensitivities?
Food sensitivity testing has become the most popular test among my patients. This blood test identifies reactivity of both IgG and IgE antibodies against food proteins found in the diet. The higher the reactivity, their greater the sensitivity to those problematic foods. The results from these tests have had the following impact on my patients:
- Clarity: Answering the question “What food does my body react to?”
- Certainty: Providing an explanation as to why their symptoms worsen after consuming a certain food item.
- Confidence: The recognition that their immunity, mood, energy and general health can be improved by food choice.
- Vigilance: Understanding that certain foods (even foods generally considered to be healthy) may need to be avoided.
The public is gaining an understanding that certain foods can prove difficult to digest. Celiac disease, lactose intolerance, food allergies and symptom-triggering foods are generally recognized, yet sensitivities - their effects and how they develop - are still misunderstood. The intestines are a highly specialized tissue that helps digest food, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste. However, people who’s stomach inadequately digests food, those who lack adequate enzymes, or those in an immune-compromised or exhausted state will have difficulty digesting even simple foods. Several related conditions can cause the intestines to suffer, including inadequately digested protein, bacterial overgrowth, poor beneficial flora and generally bad eating habits. Most patients recognize only the obvious signs of intestinal concerns, such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and pain, while the less obvious signs are ignored or attributed to other causes.
Allergies are discerned from sensitivities based on the acute severity of reaction, type of antibodies present and manner of diagnosis. Currently, many believe that sensitivities illicit no immune reaction - but this is clearly not the case. What we are witnessing is a difference in the rate and/or severity of the reaction. One patient may have an allergy to foods and immediately develop an acute rash. Another patient may have a sensitivity and suffer from eczema in the days to follow. Removing the trigger food will resolve both of these conditions in many cases.
Medical science has stalled in the recognition of these conditions, where foods cause sub-acute and chronic symptoms. In people with food sensitivities, the trigger food causes local intestinal inflammation, driving an immune response that creates immune complexes that the body needs to metabolize. This event varies from person to person: Some swell, develop eczema, joint pain, immune dysfunction, nutritional issues, or other manifestations. People who remove the most significant food sensitivities for a period of time will get some relief of their symptoms. Generally speaking, 2-4 weeks is sufficient time to recognize an improvement.
Other practitioners refute this, likely due to the fact that these methods were not part of their training, nor do they utilize this test or dietary therapy in their practice. I, on the other hand, have run this test over five-hundred times. The testing is more precise than ever and the benefits are worth the effort. Every patient changes their diet and every patient takes intestinal restoring formulas. This protocol is the foundation of my success and of my patient’s health. Food sensitivity testing is here to stay.