Everyone has experienced one of those days – where you just don’t feel your best. Your stomach is turning, you’re slightly nauseous and you feel SO bloated. The first question we ask ourselves? What on earth did I eat?
Though allergies tend to be thought of as the more serious of the two, both dramatically impact your quality of life.
Naturally, a food allergy, intolerance, and even a specific preference for food are all very different. A food allergy in its most extreme circumstance can be deadly. An anaphylactic reaction to peanuts, mussels, strawberries (to name only a few) are what generally come to mind. In contrast, a reaction to an intolerance can be felt up to a few days after consumption, and can cause symptoms ranging from discomfort, stomach pain, and irritable bowel symptoms, among others. Finally, a diet preference can come into the picture based on factors that include, but are not limited to religion, lifestyle, or an individual’s palate.
Currently, we know less about intolerances than we do allergies, but there is more and more research being completed in this area by multiple labs across the world. Among the more interesting characteristics of an intolerance is that we do know that they’re disorders not actually linked to our immune system like an anaphylactic reaction is.
While many people experience different symptoms originating from a food intolerance, the most common range from stomach cramps to bloating, and are often linked to issues like inflammatory bowel disease, stomach obstruction, and most commonly, irritable bowel syndrome.
As a result, understanding an intolerance is as challenging as managing it. It’s a frustrating state for both the patient and the doctor, but there is hope. Treating intolerances to food requires understanding the balance of both your gut flora (the microbiome that is responsible for breaking down food) and your cell wall integrity. Over time, chronic stress to your system results in damage to the cell wall that is responsible for keeping all those proteins from food in your digestive tract. Then, more and more triggers start to create more inflammation and what once just diarrhea from travel has now become constant bloating, cramping and digestive upset. To get you back to feeling yourself, your doctor may lean towards an elimination diet, which, in combination with the right nutrients to repair the cell walls can be ultimately, very worthwhile – not to mention relatively quick.
So what’s the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance? We’ll let HealthStatus show you the difference below.
Symptoms of food allergy will appear almost immediately after the contact with the offending food, starting with the tingling in the mouth and lips;
Even a trace of the food can cause an allergic reaction;
There is a series of tests which can be used to diagnose allergy to a particular food with accuracy;
A test should find the presence of Immunoglobin E (IgE) antibodies against the particular food, and a food intolerance does not.
If not treated immediately, severe allergic reaction can be life-threatening
Symptoms of food intolerance show up slowly, a couple of hours after eating, and are long-lasting;
Most symptoms affect the digestive system;
Most people can eat a small quantity of offending food and only have reaction to larger amount. Some people need a very little to react;
To add insult to injury, many people crave foods that make them feel sick;
There are no useful tests for food intolerance, so it is very difficult to diagnose;
There are no Immunoglobin E (IgE) antibodies in the blood;
It’s never life-threatening
With so little known about intolerances we have to use a combination of methods both identify them and come closer to understanding our bodies in relation to these sensitivities. At the end of the day, the significant increase in these sensitivities can be indicative of the failure of the westernized diet – especially when you feel much better eating foods originating in countries like those in Europe.
If you’re worried you might be suffering from a food intolerance, would like professional insight on preventative diet augmentations for yourself and/or your family, or simply want to stock up on best-in-class vitamins and minerals, book a complimentary 15 minute consult with us at Cornerstone Naturopathic. We are happy to lend our expertise, and our dispensary is always fully stocked.
Contact us here to get started!