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Allergies & Sensitivities - Food

Allergies & Sensitivities - Food

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According to Food Allergy Research & Education, 200,000 people in the United States require emergency medical treatment for allergies to food each year, with about 32 million people having identified food allergies. 

Food allergies are IgE immune system-mediated, causing histamines and chemicals to be released, resulting in an allergic reaction which can sometimes be fatal. Symptoms experienced include swelling and itching skin, digestive symptoms, and anaphylaxis. Some of the most common allergy-causing foods include: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. 

Food sensitivities are triggered by the digestive system and often mediated by IgG, leading to bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, and nausea. Additional  symptoms similar to a mild allergic reaction may also occur such as confusion, fatigue, itching, joint/muscle pain, headaches, sneezing, and nasal congestion.

Some causes of food sensitivities include:

  • Not having the right enzymes for digesting certain foods
  • Reacting to food preservatives or additives
  • Reacting¬† to chemicals or caffeine
  • Reacting to the sugars produced in certain foods
  • Imbalance of gastrointestinal bacteria

Food allergies and sensitivities tests help identify harmful triggers, support treatment plans and diet changes. 

What do food allergies tests measure?

Food allergies and sensitivities tests include skin prick testing for a reaction to specific foods, and blood testing for the presence of the immunoglobulin E and G in response to certain foods.

A variety of comprehensive test panels are available through Rupa Health which assess reactivity to numerous food products. Some of food related allergy and sensitivity tests include:

Determining food allergies and sensitivities includes a physical examination, a medical history of symptoms with a food diary, screening for gut issues, and assessing for nutrient deficiencies, in combination with the food allergy tests. 

Treatment Plans

Once a food allergy is identified, the food needs to be eliminated, and for safety, carrying an epinephrine auto-injector should the harmful food be accidentally consumed. 

With food sensitivities, trialing an elimination diet of the identified food can be helpful in confirming it.

Some common treatment plans include:

  • For a true food allergy, the harmful food needs to be removed, likely for life.
  • Education for awareness of hidden sources of allergen foods.
  • Improving digestive function and nutrition with nutrients important to the gut microbiome such as vitamins A, C, E, D, folic acid, beta carotene, and zinc, selenium, manganese, and iron.
  • Supplements and herbal medicines to improve immune function and gut digestion can assist with food allergy and sensitivities.
  • Reducing stress as it is a factor in the development of allergies.
References

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