Immune reactions can result from food allergies or food sensitivity.
Most people have a good understanding of the idea of food allergies. This is when you have an immediate reaction to something, causing an acute respiratory response – weasy, runny nose, itchy eyes, difficulty in breathing. The food to which you are allergic will almost always provoke an immune reaction when ingested. In immediate reactions, the body over produces Immunoglobulin E antibodies, (IgE). IgE binds to allergens and triggers an allergic response to any substance it sees as foreign.
Often, the reaction isn’t severe the first time., It is the second time of exposure that the acute reaction can occur. In the worse case this can result in what is known as an anaphylactic shock, requiring immediate medical care.
A food sensitivity, as opposed to a food allergy, happens gradually and isn’t life threatening. Symptoms of a delayed food allergy can take up to 72 hours to appear. This type of immune response is mediated by IgG antibodies, the largest circulating antibodies in our immune system and can cross the placenta from mother to child. IgG antibodies are the most common form of immunologic mediated food responses. It can be difficult to identify the offending food, since we eat so many foods that go through different processes and have many ingredients. It is estimated that 20% of the population have an adverse reaction to a certain food.
Food sensitivities may be caused by many factors such as stress, infections, overeating, artificial preservatives, additives, moulds, pesticides, antibiotics, and environmental pollutants. Unidentified food sensitivities can then contribute to many chronic health conditions. These include Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, migraines, autism, ADD/ADHD, eczema, chronic ear infections, gut malabsorption, insomnia and many others.
Elimination diets and functional tests
Many times, the foods we eat frequently and seem healthy, are contributing to our health problems. Elimination of the offending foods can improve many health problems and lead to a better quality of life. Fortunately, it is possible via a simple finger prick test to test for IgG food sensitivity to identify those foods that you might be reacting too. Eliminating those few foods may have a dramatic impact on the symptoms that one suffers from.
The Nordic Food Panel tests for IgG antibodies towards a variety of common foods in a blood spot finger test, that can be carried out by the patient, at home, without the need of a phlebotomist. To find out more, click here.