Food intolerance is sensitivity to a specific food or a compound in a group of foods.
There are many reasons why someone may have a food intolerance. For example it could be due to a lack of enzymes to break down that food normally or because the immune system has developed a negative response to the food – so that the food is seen as an enemy rather than a friend.
A food intolerance in terms of the immune system is classified as an Igg response. Igg is an antibody that our immune system makes to attack antigens such as bacteria and viruses. Food intolerances may go away over time with dietary changes.
Allergies are different, and are classified as an Ige response.
This is also an antibody. In the case of food, if you eat something you have an allergy too, such as a peanut, your immune system will begin making antibodies for the peanut.
This is the same process that happens when a virus is detected. The difference is foods like peanuts should not be perceived as a danger to us, whereas a virus should be.
These antibodies will then attach themselves to mast cells (found in body tissue) who are ready to release histamine next time that person eats peanuts. Histamine and other compounds are what cause symptoms such as swelling and itching.
If you have a food allergy you must avoid the allergenic ingredient. A true allergy results in serious symptoms and in many cases requires immediate medical attention such as antihistamines and the use of an EpiPen (adrenaline injection).
If you have an intolerance, here are some tips to support a healthy immune response and reduce sensitivity to allergens: