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Food Allergies 101 - Part 2

By Expert HERWriter
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In the last blog I explained food allergies occur because of a reaction from the immune system to foods that are eaten and processed by the digestive system.

There are several different immune responses and I discussed the anaphylactic response. In this installment I will discuss another type called the hypersensitivity delayed reaction. As a review from the last article this is what is happening in the body there are proteins on our foods that act as a marker to tell our body what we are eating. These proteins are called antigens. When our immune system comes in contact with our foods it identifies the food and our body then registers whether we it is something that it is allergic to or not. If our immune system has a reaction to the food then it produces a substance called an antibody which then attaches itself to the marker or antigen on the food. This antigen-antibody complex alerts the immune system to come and get rid of the substance that is causing the reaction.

In hypersensitivity delayed reactions the food allergies symptoms did not happen immediately or as forcefully as in the anaphylactic response. Instead the immune system may respond up to 72 hours after the initial exposure to the food that has been ingested. Food allergy symptoms can range from puffiness in the eyes, sinus problems (either short term or long term), canker sores, constipation or diarrhea, upset stomach including heartburn or indigestion, rashes, itching, eczema, hives, gas, bloating, inability to lose weight, abdominal cramping or arthritic type symptoms including swelling of the joints.

Most people do not realize that emotional or mental health related symptoms can also occur including depression, emotional upset, irritability, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, or migraine headaches.

The most common food allergies are milk and dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut (walnut, cashew, etc.), fish, shellfish, soy, corn, and wheat. In the naturopathic and medical community there are several different ways to diagnose food allergies and unfortunately there is no one gold standard to identify these allergies.

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Expert HERWriter


Thank you for your comment. There are many schools of thought around food allergies and food sensitivities or intolerances so I will give you mine. Allergies are reactions specific reactions of the immune system created by reactions to antibodies. There is some research that is now suggesting that there are other immune systems cells that may be involved with food sensitivities or intolerances. To my patients they still feel symptoms even regardless of the definitions and so I treat them using similar methods to improve their health.

To answer your question about lactose intolerance is not an allergy. Instead it is the deficiency of an enzyme required to breakdown milk and dairy products which is a different process. The result is the same avoiding dairy eliminates the problem. Finally for you each member of the nightshade family has its individual protein that would be identified as an allergy or not. There are other digestive problems that can create temporary allergies in the body and I will discuss that in a few weeks this could be part of your imbalance. Acidity may not have anything to do with it. I do believe it is always best to be seen by a well trained naturopathic doctor or other qualified healthcare provider to get the answers you need fo ryour individual health. Be Well,

Dr. Dae

August 18, 2009 - 7:46am

I think it's important for people to know and understand whether they have an actual food allergy or simply an intolerance. For example, while someone may be lactose intolerant, does that equate to having a food allergy?

For example, eggplant or some blend of Indian curry can trigger anaphylactic shock to my system. I can have raw bell pepper, but the acidity of hot house tomatoes cause the inside of my mouth to break out. i don't know why some nightshade plants affect me negatively, while others don't. I think it might have something to do with acidity.

Thanks for the information you're providing. I'm looking forward to your next "chapter."

August 13, 2009 - 6:46pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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