Not Every Food Reaction Is An Allergy

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Not Every Food Reaction Is An Allergy

If you saw someone with nausea, dizziness, abdominal cramps and vomiting after they’d ingested a particular food, you’d likely be running for an Epi-Pen.

You assume it was an old-fashioned allergy. You could be wrong.

Despite the similarity to allergies, it seems that doctors have identified a new syndrome called food hypersensitivity. It’s still an immune-system mediated reaction, but it’s because you can’t digest the food item – not because you are allergic to it.

Ohio State university student, Amy Graff, has food hypersensitivity to citrus fruit and preservatives. Graff has trouble eating on campus as a result. She says, “I … usually opt for salads.” Another student, Haley Kish, will have a life-threatening reaction to any kind of dairy product. She says, “It’s difficult to know what’s safe.” Even asking a cafeteria worker on the university campus doesn’t guarantee the correct ingredients in the dish, because the food often comes prepared and is simply cooked or heated.

Apparently, the most common foods causing hypersensitivity are cod fishtree nuts and cashews. There is some overlap with the 8 most common food allergens, which include fish and shellfish, tree nuts and other nuts such as cashews.

Food hypersensitivity can resemble anaphylaxis; sufferers may experience everything from a sense of vertigo and vomiting to mental fog and asthma symptoms.

More and more professionals are realizing that true “allergy” (as defined by an IgE mediated reaction) affects far fewer people than are diagnosed with it. As little as 2% of the population could suffer from an actual allergy; those other individuals who think they have allergies likely have an undiagnosed food sensitivity or intolerance.

Certain foods may also aggravate other chronic conditions, such as migraine or irritable bowel syndrome. Again, the answer isn’t allergy: the answer is food intolerance. Some medical professionals are linking cheese and chocolate to increased migraine frequency and intensity, while others believe that soft drinks and sugar can deepen depressive illness.

It is possible to have a diagnosis of food hypersensitivity confirmed. A RAST blood test should be all you need.

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