What is an allergy?
To answer this question, you need to know a bit about your immune system. Inside your body is an army of immune cells on a 24-hour search-and-destroy mission. When they find an invader, such as a virus, they destroy it. The main way they capture their prey is by producing a tailor-made ‘straitjacket’ – an antibody – to fit a particular invader. This is how vaccination works – the polio vaccine exposes your body to the polio virus, not enough to make you sick, but just enough for the immune army to make polio antibodies, which are then in place to protect you in the future.
In the same way, if you’re allergic to pollen, when you breathe it in your body starts to produce antibodies to pollen. The most familiar symptoms of an allergy include hayfever, a stuffy and running nose, itchy eyes and skin, asthma, headaches, bloating, water retention and facial puffiness. These are signs that your body is trying to get rid of something it doesn’t like. Most allergic responses are inflammatory and can bring on pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints and muscles.
Classic food allergies involve the production of an antibody, called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), tailored to fit the offending food. IgE-based allergies produce immediate symptoms – such as a rash when eating seafood – and are thus quite easy to detect. However, many allergies involve IgG reactions. When you have too many IgG reactions occurring in your body symptoms develop. So your allergic reactions may only occur if you eat a lot of an offending food, or a group of offending foods together. Symptoms are therefore often delayed or hidden and thus harder to detect. Allergies to food are increasingly common.
The most common offenders are dairy products and grains, particularly wheat. However, many other foods cause reactions in some people. But why do some become allergic when others don’t?
Have you got leaky gut syndrome
An obvious place to start in unravelling the true cause of allergies is the digestive tract. After all, the lining of the gut is the first point of contact between foods and the immune system. Did you know that the intestinal lining alone is estimated to contain more immune cells ......
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