Consuming food is more and more often the cause of health issues. Determining the real cause of digestive discomfort after a meal is not an easy matter. Food can be harmful in many mechanisms, leading to the development of diverse symptoms, not always directly associated with eaten food. What’s more, symptoms often overlap. Firstly, basic types of food hypersensitivity will be presented. You can easily divide them into allergies and food intolerances. The former result from an abnormal reaction of the immune system, which identifies the consumed food as an agent harmful to the body. To effectively eliminate this “fake enemy” immune system activates and the symptoms of allergy occur. Food allergy, however, is not a homogeneous concept. A human body may manifest IgE – dependent allergy (type I, immediate) and IgE – independent allergy. IgE – dependent allergy is fairly easy to identify, because the consumption of allergenic food causes the development of violent symptoms, most often allergic rash, swelling, skin swelling and gastrointestinal complaints (abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, blood in the stool). IgE – dependent allergy can be a direct cause of death – a phenomenon called anaphylactic shock. This disease is diagnosed most often on the basis of medical history and skin blood tests for IgE-dependent allergy. These tests are quite easily available.
IgE -independent allergy is far away more difficult to assess. In such situations predominantly hypersensitivity is of IgG – dependent type (also called food intolerance) occur. However less known, and extremely important IgA – dependent reaction should also be considered. Symptoms of IgG-dependent allergy appear even a few days after ingestion of allergenic food and are extremely diverse and nonspecific. The most common manifestations include headaches, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, muscle and joint pain, overweight, obesity, hypertension, skin problems (atopy, inflammatory acne, pruritus) and even infertility, depression or deterioration of the psychophysical state. In patients with food hypersensitivity of IgA – dependent type symptoms occur few hours after a meal, as heavy digestive problems (abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating).
Both types of hypersensitivity are known as latent (delayed) allergies. Due to various symptoms, often specific to other diseases, and a long period between meal intake and the occurrence of ailments, the diagnosis is extremely difficult. The IgA and IgG – dependent tests are available only in specialized medical centers (FoodScreen study). Due to the varying quality of the tests, it is always necessary to choose ones with appropriate certification and validation, confirming their diagnostic value. Performing a poor quality test will make a false result, and a diet based on such poor quality test may not improve your health and well-being – what’s more, it can cause health problems.
A completely different type of inappropriate reaction to food is food intolerance, which results from the lack or too low activity of digestive enzymes. Food intolerances do not activate the immune system.
Despite various mechanisms and symptoms, the treatment of food hypersensitivity is the same – an elimination diet, which should always be properly balanced to eliminate any nutritional deficiencies.
In case of food hypersensitivity, the following tests are recommended:
– FoodScreen IgG/IgA USBiotek (96 nutrients or 112 nutrients)
– IgE- dependent test for food allergies
– Lactose and fructose intolerance tests