3 min|Dr. Maya Kuczma
Learn The Difference Between A Food Sensitivity Versus A Food AllergyNutrition
Antibodies are the ‘soldiers’ of your immune system
When the immune system is threatened, various cells recognize this threat and signal antibodies to attack the intruders. An antibody is a large, Y-shaped protein produced by “B cells”, which you can think of as the generals of the army. The antibodies ‘attack’ the invader by binding to it and deactivating it. Throughout this process, various other immune cells are signaled in order to increase inflammation which will also help to destroy the intruder. There are a variety of different types of antibodies denoted by the letters A, E, and G. These letters are preceded by ‘Ig’, referring to ‘immunoglobulin’. They all act as ‘soldiers’ but respond to different threats.
This type of response is essential for a healthy immune system and helps defend us against a variety of dangerous invaders. However, at times this natural defense system can overact to food (even ‘healthy’ food) and airborne materials triggering an inflammatory process that produces symptoms.
Any time you experience an allergy, your IgE antibodies have played a role in the process. The immune system identifies a food or airborne substance as a dangerous invader and signals to immune cells to release a large amount of IgE antibodies as well as histamine, an inflammatory chemical. Histamine is what causes the itching, shortness of breath, and potentially anaphylaxis associated with allergies. Your body produces inflammation in response to what it perceives as a dangerous invader; depending on how much inflammation your body produces, your symptoms of an allergy may range from mild to very severe.
Food ‘sensitivities’ are due to IgG antibodies. Just like a food allergy, the body encounters a substance that it perceives as a threat. In response, IgG antibodies are released but their response is slower and less intense than an IgE response. The full reaction to a food can occur up to 72 hours after you were exposed to the food, making it challenging to identify what triggered the reaction.
Additionally, the symptoms that occur as a result of the IgG antibodies can be extensive and vaguer than the acute symptoms of an allergy. A food sensitivity reaction can lead to widespread symptoms such as headaches, acne, rashes, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, hormone imbalances, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, and pain. Similarly to an allergy, the symptoms you experience are not due to the food itself but are instead due to the inflammation your body produces in response to that food.
We aim to diagnose and treat your food allergies and sensitivities.
We use comprehensive testing to identify the foods you are reacting to which helps guide us in creating a unique treatment plan. Treatment may include modulating your immune system, removing triggering foods, detoxifying your body, healing your gut, and rebalancing your stress levels. Contact us if you’re interested in finding out about your food sensitivities!