FOOD ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCES

Article By Matt Nailor

Food allergies and intolerances are two totally different things, amongst the grapevine on the internet it is said that food allergies are caused by eating the same food too much. This is not true. Another ridiculous idea is that if you cut out that certain food for 6 weeks is that the allergy will go away. For all practical purposes, a food allergy never goes away and the idea that abstaining from that food will make it go away is simply absurd.

Food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance from dairy products, typically occurs due to a lack of appropriate digestive enzymes and this tends to cause upset stomach, gas, bloating or diarrhea. The worst that could happen are food intolerances typically cause some discomfort but no real danger.

A true food allergy generates an immune reaction in the body. This is potentially much more severe and can cause respiratory, stomach, skin and cardiovascular symptoms; anaphylactic shock and death can also occur in extreme cases. Food allergies are caused when small amounts of proteins enter the bloodstream. This can occur during childhood when the gut lining isn’t fully developed or later in life when they are older due to a compromised stomach barrier. Some allergens can also enter the body through the respiratory system.

While technically any food can cause an allergic reaction, protein foods tend to be the most common culprits. Including milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, some fish and shellfish being the most common causes of allergies. Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye, is also a common source of food allergies.

True food allergies are thought to occur in 3-4% of adults. There are a number of different ways to determine whether a true food allergy is present but, from a practical view, if eating a given protein source causes problems of the sort described above, that tells the person all they need to know. For the most part, there is little to no treatment for true food allergies; avoiding the problem food is the best and only option.

You can get specialised tests to detect a food allergy, but in my eyes if you eat something and end up critically ill then you already have your answer. Although in less severe cases it is more than likely a food intolerance, which getting tested for can be helpful in the long run to avoid the discomfort of the intolerance reactions.

So overall a food allergy is not caused by overeating a certain food, it’s caused by small amount of proteins entering the bloodstream. You cannot get rid of a food allergy, it is with you for the rest of your life. The difference between an allergy and an intolerance is that with an allergy you are more than likely going to be critically ill if you eat something that you are allergic to, whereas with an intolerance you can still eat the foods and take certain medication or try various methods to decrease the discomfort within the reaction for example bloating and gas can be quite uncomfortable. This is where you can get various herbal tablets that work in harmony with the body to help relieve this to a certain extent.

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