Food Sensitivity Testing
The terms food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances are often confused and used interchangeably, although they are unique physiological conditions. A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. It can cause a range of symptoms, and, in some cases, an allergic food reaction can be severe or life-threatening. In contrast, symptoms of food intolerances or sensitivities are generally less serious, but often more difficult to detect or diagnose.
These are called type 1 hypersensitivities, whereby the immune system identifies some components of food proteins as dangerous and produces IgE antibodies against that food. True food allergies are mediated by mast cell activation that subsequently releases large amounts of histamine into the system. True allergy symptoms are acute onset (usually within 1 hour) and can range in severity from mild to severe.
These are called non-IgE reactions, or type 2, 3, and 4 hypersensitivities. In food sensitivities, food protein antigens will bind to antibodies and form an immune complex, which can evoke systemic immune responses. Symptoms of food sensitivities are often delayed and hard to pinpoint or detect. Multiple food sensitivities can be related to the presence of leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability.
These are reactions that do not involve the immune system. Usually, food intolerances are caused by a deficiency in a protein or enzyme critical to proper digestion of a food. Lactose intolerance is a classic example in which certain people lack the enzyme lactase and cannot break down this carbohydrate.
What is oral tolerance?
Food sensitivities are often referred to as a “loss of oral tolerance.” Oral tolerance refers to the immune system’s normal ability to maintain homeostasis in the presence of foreign food proteins.
Who benefits from Food Sensitivity Testing?
Conditions and symptoms associated with food sensitivities include:
- Abdominal pain
- Brain fog
- Rashes, such as eczema
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin itchiness and redness
- Bronchitis and asthma-like symptoms
- Musculoskeletal joint pain
- Muscle stiffness and swelling
If you experience any of these symptoms or you suspect you may have food sensitivities, call Glendale Whole Health for more information and to make an appointment.