PH: How common is food intolerance?
The charity Allergy UK claims that up to 45% of the population suffers from food hypersensitivity1.
PH: What are the most common health problems linked to food allergy?
Typically a wide range of symptoms from fatigue, headaches, migraine and skin problems, to bloating, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, IBS, joint pains, catarrh and runny nose.
PH: What’s the difference between food allergy and intolerance?
IgE-mediated food allergy is an inappropriate and harmful response of the immune system as it mistakes perfectly normal substances and treats them as invaders. Allergic symptoms can range from relatively minor rashes through to generalised swelling or collapse as a potentially fatal anaphylactic shock occurs. An allergic reaction can occur quite rapidly, often within minutes but generally within a maximum of two hours. Food Intolerance is quite different, it is not life threatening although it can and does make the sufferer feel unwell. It is very difficult to identify the food that is causing the problem as symptoms can appear up to 48 hours after the food is eaten. There is much confusion, particularly in the media, about different types of food hypersensitivity and how they manifest themselves. Frequently we find that food allergy and food intolerance are confused with each other. This is not surprising when you look at the raft of different mechanisms involved.
PH: What causes most food allergies or intolerances?
There are several mechanisms by which an individual may have an adverse reaction to food.2 Food hypersensitivity can involve reactions from the body’s own immune system such as:
- IgE Allergy – the most commonly known, immediate and potentially fatal response to foods (such as peanuts).
- Coeliac Disease – blood tests for Coeliac disease look for specific antibodies; tissue transglutaminase antibody and endomysial antibody. However, a few people with Coeliac disease do not have raised levels of these.
- Delayed onset food allergy, often referred to as food intolerance – Measurement of food-specific IgG antibodies is used as a strategy to identify foods to which an individual may be sensitive. Validated tests such as YorkTest First Step and YorkTest FoodSCAN113 are not diagnostic of any condition, but are ......
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