Updated: Jun 22
What’s the difference between a food allergy and sensitivity?
Food allergies affect almost 1 in 12 UK children. Food allergies can be deadly if they cause anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis cannot be stopped by antihistamines and needs to be treated with adrenaline.
This is important because there is so much confusion about food reactions. I hear people say they have a ‘food allergy’ when they actually have a sensitivity. This matters because these 2 different reactions need to be handled in different ways. So, here’s the difference.
1️⃣ True food allergies are immune-mediated reactions that involve IgE antibodies and the immediate release of histamine. Food allergies can be fatal or can cause milder symptoms, like hives, swelling, or itching. People who have a true food allergy need to be extremely careful and carry an epi-pen in case of accidental exposure. Here is the list of foods that most commonly cause true food allergies:
➡️ tree nuts
➡️ shellfish and fish
2️⃣ Food sensitivities are not as dangerous. Sometimes blood tests will show that an immune response with IgG instead of IgE is involved. Other times people identify a food sensitivity by their symptoms or an elimination-challenge diet. The response is delayed rather than immediate and can create anything from digestive problems to headaches to joint pain.
Whereas anybody with a true food allergy needs to completely avoid that food, people with food sensitivities can often handle eating small amounts of the triggering food on rare occasions.
I also look at food reactions in the bigger context of the body’s health. Whether a person has true food allergies or food sensitivities, there are often ways we can support their gastrointestinal and immune health to be less reactive.
Speak to us to see how we can help.
Should I take probiotics or prebiotics?
Probiotics and prebiotics in foods and supplements support the microbes living in your gut–your microbiome. That’s important because the microbiome influences everything from your digestion to your mood.
I often get asked—what’s the difference and which should I take?
➡️ Probiotics are beneficial bacteria just like