Food sensitivity, food allergy or food intolerance? Is it making you sick?
By Melanie DesChatelets, BSc(h), ND • August 1st, 2011 • 6433 Views
Food sensitivity, food allergy and food intolerance are often use interchangeably. Should they be? I’d like to suggest that they are very distinct and deserve to be address as such. In addition, once you realize the simplicity of their differences you’ll have a significantly better understanding of the processes that are affecting you. In order to clarify these differences let’s first review some basic definitions used to describe some of the functions of the immune and digestive system.
Antibodies: It is a large Y-shaped protein produced by the immune system. Its job is to recognize foreign protein and then neutralize it. It’s what happens when you get a cold, the bacteria or virus is recognized and then neutralized by antibodies.
Enzymes: In simple terms enzymes help breakdown things. The important thing to note is that enzymes are very specific for what they break down. Therefore, your body has thousands of different enzymes in your body to efficiently break down very specific compounds. Without the enzyme the process may not occur at all or at a very reduced rate. In the digestive system, enzymes help break down food into smaller units.
Both food allergy and food sensitivity are antibody mediated reactions against food. The antibody recognizes a food protein as harmful and tries to neutralize it. If this is similar then what is different?
We have different types of antibodies in our body. Different types of antibodies react differently to neutralize the foreign invader.
Food allergy is mediated by an antibody called IgE. When this type of antibody reacts with a foreign protein it immediately elicits some of of the following typical reactions. Food allergy reactions can vary from uncomfortable to life threatening. Skin irritation, redness, swelling are often seen. Difficulty breathing can be ominous and represents tightening of the air passageway. Other symptoms such as hoarseness of voice, stuffy and runny nose, itchy and red eyes as well as nausea and vomiting can been seen with food allergies.
Food sensitivity is mediated by an antibody called IgG. IgG antibodies react very differently from IgE. In food sensitivities, when IgG antibody react with a foreign protein, it elicits a milder, slower and non typical reaction. The reactions vary from migraines, to increased behavioural difficulties in children with ADHD, to chronic digestive concerns, decreases in energy and other vague symptoms. Here’s the killer news. Unlike food allergy, food sensitivities are very hard to diagnose. This is...
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Location: Vancouver, CA
Mélanie DesChâtelets, BSc(h), ND, is a licensed Naturopathic Physician committed to recognizing and attending to the fundamental antecedents of illness. Using the synergistic power of groundbreaking scientificevidence and long standing historical evidence in natural medicine, Mélanie strives to empower individuals to...