A food allergy is where our immune system is activated and reacts unusually through exposure to a particular food. Allergic reactions can be mediated by different parts of the immune system, and although they are often mild, they can also be life threatening. A life threatening allergy such as a nut allergy activates the IgE response, potentially causing aphylaxis with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing or speaking and feeling dizzy or faint. Such responses can be immediate, therefore these foods much be avoided at all times.
Some people often think of food allergies and intolerances as a similar response, whereas they are actually very different. An intolerance triggers a much less serious immune response involving our IgG mediators. These responses are changeable throughout life and during certain times an individual may get associated symptoms such as bloating and discomfort and other times, no response whatsoever. This is often down to the overall health status at one given time such as the health of the digestive tract wall and microbiome status.
Intolerances may be less severe than allergies, however if we continue to consume food which we are intolerant to, for example gluten, this can negatively impact our microvilli within the digestive tract causing disease state such as coeliac disease. This will therefore result in an IgA response within the immune system.
During a Nutritional Therapy consultation, we work using a Functional Medicine Framework to look at the root cause of any intolerance or allergy response. Instead of excluding particular foods from the diet, we look at including specific functional foods as more of a restorative approach to health. We find removing food groups from the diet (unless an allergy of course) can sometimes exacerbate the response when small amounts of the triggering foods are consumed. We may also decide to look at Functional Testing if we feel it is absolutely necessary, such as Gluten Sensitivity profiles, Intestinal Permeability and Food Intolerance Analysis. There is no one size fits all approach and our main aim is to help and educate our clients with a workable plan of the simplest interventions which make the biggest impact.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.