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Food Allergy vs. Sensitivity

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

Are you wondering about the differences between food allergies and food sensitivities? Jurgita Caballero, Certified Holistic Health Coach interviewed me to talk about how you know if you have sensitivities and what you can do about it!

Our Immune System

We only have one immune system, but there are different aspects of the immune system. Every plant or animal has an innate immune system. But we also have a more complex immune system called the adaptive immune system, which is when the immune system addresses a particular threats like viruses. Beyond that, we also have an even more complex immune system called the humoral immune system. This is where the antibodies come in and play different roles in our bodies. Some of the most common are:

  • IgA antibody protects the mucous membranes

  • IgG protects the tissue

  • IgE is like the gatekeeper and it brings on histamines

Food Allergies

Usually when somebody has a food allergy, it's an IgE histamine. Those are the life-threatening food allergies. If you have an IgE allergy, and you eat something you're allergic to, your entire body is going to fight it. It really thinks it's a foreign invader and it thinks it is going to kill you. So your body attacks it.

Food Sensitivities

An IgG response could be an environmental response. This is what causes leaky gut. So if someone has an IgG reaction, it's more of a food sensitivity than it is an allergy. It is an inflammatory response that causes downstream effects within your body.

Testing for food sensitivities

Let's say you have a sensitivity to dairy and you have a bowl of cereal with milk for breakfast. The later that morning, you eat a snack that contains nuts. A little while later if your stomach starts to hurt, it's hard to tease out whether or not it was the milk or the nuts because your body has the transit time for it to digest and absorb the nutrients.

I suggest that my clients get a food sensitivity test, which test for what's triggering the cascade of unwell symptoms.

Elimination diet

The other thing you can do is an elimination diet. If you suspect that you may have a sensitivity to nuts, what you do is take them out of your diet for four months. Four months sounds like a long time, and it is. When you eat a particular food, the antibodies formed from eating that food remain in your bloodstream ready to attack the food, which is considered a foreign invader.. These antibodies have a half-life of 21-20 days. (So after 20 days of not eating that food, you have half the antibodies. In another 20 days you have a quarter of the antibodies.) It takes a long time to reduce the antibodies from your bloodstream and immune system.

A lot of people will cut a food for only a few weeks and think, "I'm not feeling better, so it must be something else." When in reality, it maybe that your body is still having some residual effects from the initial time you ate the food.

This ensures that when you reintroduce the food back into your diet, three times a day, your body is pure. Your body forgets whatever it was that it reacted to, This allows you to truly see if your body has a reaction to the food you reintroduce.

Whether you're navigating a new allergy, or struggling to find out if you have a sensitivity, I'm here to help. I'd love to connect and help you get at the root causes of your symptoms so that you can life your best and fullest life possible.

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