Food Allergy and Food Intolerance

Food Allergy and Food Intolerance

What is  Food Allergy and Food Intolerance?

We understand that sometimes food allergy and food intolerance are often thought to be the same thing. So, we wanted to raise awareness about the differences between them. After all, accidentally mixing the two could be life-threatening
if an individual has a food allergy. We teamed up with research company OnePoll to ask 1000 UK respondents what they thought a food intolerance and a food allergy meant to them and here’s what we found… From these results, it’s clear that there’s a gap in knowledge between the two terms and we want to help bridge that gap. So what are the differences?

What is the difference between food intolerance and food allergy?

‘Food Intolerance’ and ‘Food Allergy’ are often thought to be variations of the same thing but the biological processes behind them, and how they affect you, are very different.

Food Allergy

Food allergy is quite rare, affecting about 2% of the adult population. During an allergic reaction, the body’s immune system believes it is being ‘invaded’ and produces IgE (Immunoglobulin E) antibodies to fight off the food or drink ingredient it mistakenly considers to be harmful.

The body’s inflammatory response in this circumstance can vary from mild to severe and can affect one or more systems in the body, such as the digestive system, respiratory system or the skin. In extreme cases, the immune system triggers a response throughout the whole body, resulting in a systemic reaction (anaphylaxis) which is potentially fatal.

Food Intolerance

Unlike allergy, food intolerance which is generally more common usually involves a delayed biological reaction which, although often uncomfortable and unpleasant, is not life threatening.

Classic Problem Foods

Gluten, corn, wheat, yeast, dairy, egg, oat, seafood, alcohol, nuts and sugar

As individuals, our reactions to foods and drinks vary a great deal. An ingredient which may cause problems for one person could be completely acceptable for another. At Lorisian, refer to this as our ‘food fingerprint’.

Interestingly, our recent customer survey date shows that 64% of Lorisian customers have between 2 and 8 food reactions.

Understanding your own personal food and drink intolerances, and the effects they could have on your health and wellbeing, is important to ensure you make the best possible choices for your diet.

Symptoms of food intolerance

The symptoms associated with food intolerance can vary in severity and are thought to affect many areas including,

digestion eg IBS,bloating

skin eg itchy, rashes, acne,eczema

energy levels eg tiredness and fatigue

respiration eg asthma like symptoms, sinusitis or rhinitis

Pain eg joints pain and migraines

and even psychological health.

In our experience, the most common food intolerance symptoms range from migraines, eczema, IBS symptoms and bloating to joint pain, asthma, tiredness and anxiety.

What causes a food intolerance and how is it different from a food allergy?

Food intolerance symptoms are varied and can be very disruptive to a person’s life. They may occur when you experience a food-specific IgG reaction, which has been described as an ‘intolerance’ to a particular food or drink. The body can produce a range of inflammatory responses if it incorrectly identifies the ingredient as a threat.

The effects of a food intolerance are very different to an allergic reaction, which is an immediate reaction experienced by those suffering with food allergies. Unlike allergic reactions, the immune responses associated with a food intolerance are thought to be delayed for up to 72 hours.

Why get tested for food intolerance?

Understanding your own personal food and drink intolerances, and the effects they could have on your health and wellbeing, is important to ensure you make the best possible choices for your diet.

Do you experience any of the symptoms above? If so, it may be that food intolerance is the root cause of the problem. 

The above information is for medical education purposes. Lorisian do not claim to treat or cure any of the symptoms mentioned on this website

Causes of food intolerance

  1. Food Allergy – immediate reaction (IgE)
  2. Coeliac Disease – lifelong autoimmune reaction to gluten proteins which damages the gut wall and prevents nutrients being properly absorbed
  3. Enzyme deficiencies – lifelong deficiencies such as lactose intolerance
  4. Chemical sensitivities – such as reactions to food additives like tartrazine (E102), caffeine  and sunset yellow (E110)
  5. Reaction to histamine in foods
  6. Delayed onset food intolerance (measurement of food-specific IgG antibodies used by YorkTest as a strategy to determine which foods to eliminate); need not be lifelong

Lorisian Tests
The NHS acknowledges food intolerance and recommends food diaries and elimination diets as the preferred method of treatment. It can, however, be difficult to identify problem foods, especially as it is common to experience reactions to several different foods at the same time.

The problem with an elimination diet can be that, without knowing exactly which foods are causing a problem, you might be depriving yourself unnecessarily of nutrients you don’t need to avoid. Also if you try cutting out a combination of suspected ingredients all at once it can make it more difficult to pin point the exact trigger foods.

Lorisian Laboratories, have spent the last 35 years, researching and developing our knowledge in the field of diagnostic testing and we are the leading providers of food-specific IgG antibody testing services.

Important Information

Some people have detectable levels of raised food-specific IgG antibody levels but do not experience any health problems. We recommend that only people showing symptoms should take a test, and we always advise that these symptoms should first be checked out by a GP to rule out anything serious.

Lorisian food intolerance programmes do not provide information about Coeliac Disease, enzyme deficiencies such as lactose intolerance, IgE-mediated allergies, histamine sensitivity or other chemical sensitivities.

For more information and tests from Lorisian (a partner of York Tests) please contact Hannah at;-

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