Food Allergies and Intolerances

The Difference Between Allergies and Intolerances

The symptoms of both conditions may be very similar and can even confuse the experts, as both cause unpleasant symptoms and inflammation!

Generally food allergies are triggered by a protein and cause the body’s immune system to over react – with serious systemic symptoms (maybe life threatening).

Food intolerances generally only affect the digestive tract and are less severe than allergies. They are caused by –

1. absence of an enzyme
2. psychological stress
3. IBS
4. Sensitivity to food additives
5. Inflammation of gut when exposed to gluten

Common Foods Causing Allergies

• Milk (and dairy produce) – mainly seen in children
• Peanuts
• Tree Nuts
• Soy
• Eggs
• Fish
• Shellfish

Common Foods Causing Intolerances

• Dairy – usually caused by a sugar called lactose
• Gluten – a protein found in many grains, especially wheat, barley. Gluten intolerance may present as Coeliac Disease or the less severe Non Coeliac Gluten Intolerance.
• Caffeine
• Alcohol

Dealing with Allergies and Intolerances

Allergies –

• Total avoidance of allergen
• Desensitisation via oral immunotherapy
• Anti histamines (mild to moderate reactions)
• Adrenaline injections (severe reactions)

Intolerances –

• Remove or reduce consumption of foods causing symptoms – an exclusion diet may be required to identify the culprits
• Improve gut health generally via dietary changes and improving gut flora
• Treat chronic gut infections eg H Pylori or candida
• Add supplements to diet – especially Glutamine, N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG), Quercetin, Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)

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