What’s the difference between a food allergy and food sensitivity?
Food sensitivities and food allergies are different. They are mediated by different parts of the immune system, but they can both co-exist. For e.g., I am allergic and sensitive to bananas - my tongue swells up immediately (allergic reaction) and the next day, I will have 1-2 acne spots on my face (sensitivity reaction).
Food allergies are mediated by IgE antibodies with a more immediate reaction. For e.g., hives, tongue swelling, anaphylaxis, diarrhoea etc.
Food sensitivities are mediated by IgG antibodies and can manifest for up to 72 hours post-exposure. These food sensitivities can manifest differently in different people. For me, they manifest as acne on my face. For others, they may manifest as the following:
- gas, bloating
- constipation, diarrhoea, acid reflux
- chronic congestion and airway inflammation
- migraines, joint pain or muscle tension
- thyroid and autoimmune conditions
- skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis
- mental fog, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity
- weight gain, water retention
- and more
How do you test for food sensitivities?
A blood test can help determine your food sensitivities. Part of your blood is exposed to over 200 different food antigens and a numerical value is assigned to how much your immune system responds to all the different foods.
How accurate is the test?
I’ve never run a food sensitivity test where we didn’t see some benefit from removing the most aggravating foods.
Sometimes, there can be false positives (the test shows you’re reacting to foods that you’re not actually sensitive to). This is usually because your gut is leaky and inflamed and has an opportunity to respond to more foods than it normally would if it were not leaky or inflamed.
On the other hand there can also be false negatives, especially if you know that a certain food has caused you issues in the past and you’ve eliminated it from your diet for a long period of time before testing.
How can I get a food sensitivity test done?
Come in to see me to learn more or do your own food sensitivity test! Most extended benefits will cover all of or part of the cost of the test.