What Exactly Is A Food Intolerance?

It never ceases to amaze me how a myriad of symptoms in many patients that I see daily literally disappear within a 15-day period as soon as they avoid their food allergies or intolerances.  I am often asked what exactly are food intolerances, so here is my opportunity to expound for those that are interested.

 

There are four different types of immune reactions in food allergy. These are called Types 1, 2, 3, and 4.  More than one type of reaction can occur at the same time in the same allergic individual.  Types 1 and 3 are the focus of this article.

Type 1 (Immediate-Onset) Food Allergy

The best known and well-studied form of food allergies is called a Type 1 immune reaction which is a classical food allergy, immediate-onset, IgE-mediated, atopic food allergies.  Type 1 food allergies occur in approximately only 2-5% of the population.  Type 1 food allergies occur mostly in children and are less frequent in adults.  Usually occurring in the genetically predisposed individual, the immune system begins creating a specific type of antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) to certain foods.

One side of the IgE antibody will recognize and bind to the allergic food.  The other side of the antibody is attached to a specialized immune cell packed with histamine, called a Mast cell.  Primed for action, the IgE antibody now only has to patiently wait for re-exposure to food allergens.

When you eat the allergic food the next time, IgE antibodies hungrily latch onto the food.  Instantaneously histamine and other allergy-related chemicals (chemical mediators) are released from the mast cell, quickly bringing on the unwelcome appearance of stomach cramping, diarrhoea, skin rashes, hives, swelling, wheezing or the most dreaded of all Type 1 reactions, anaphylaxis.

Type 3 (Delayed-Onset) Food Allergy

Type 3 immune reactions are much more commonly involved in food allergy than Type 1 reactions.  In fact, 45-60% of the population has been reported as having Type 3 food allergies.  (Note: According to world authority James Braly, M.D., “70%-80% of Americans currently suffering from chronic medical conditions of unknown cause, who have proven poorly responsive to conventional medical interventions, are suffering from IgG-mediated delayed-onset food allergies.”)

This is the type of food intolerance that I pick up in most of my patients that undergo the VEGA food intolerance testing that we use at the Da Vinci Holistic Health Centre (www.naturaltherapycenter.com)

A Type 3 food allergy, also known as a delayed food allergy, food sensitivity, food intolerance, also involves the immune system.  They occur when your immune system creates an overabundance of antibody Immunoglobulin G (IgG) to a specific food.

The IgG antibodies, instead of attaching to Mast cells, like IgE antibodies in Type 1 allergies, bind directly to the food as it enters the bloodstream, forming different sizes of so-called circulating immune complexes (food allergens bound to antibodies circulating in the bloodstream).  The allergic symptoms in Type 3 immune reactions are delayed in onset – appearing anywhere from a couple of hours to several days after consuming allergic foods.

Delayed food reactions may occur in any organ or tissue in the body and have been linked to either causing and/or provoking over 100 allergic symptoms and well over 150 different medical diseases.  An estimated 60 to 80 million Americans suffer from clinically significant food allergies and most all of whom suffer delayed symptoms.

The Difference Between An Immediate & A Delayed Food Allergy

1). Once thought to be the only “real” food allergy, immediate food allergy is common in children, but rare in adults.  Once thought to be uncommon at best, delayed food allergy is now considered the most common form of food allergy in children and adults.

2). Allergic symptoms in immediate reactions occur within two hours of eating.  Allergic symptoms in delayed reactions do not appear anywhere from at least 2 hours to 2 days (there are even reports of delayed symptoms appearing 3 to 7 days after eating).

3). As a rule, immediate-onset food allergy involves one or two foods in the diet.  Delayed reactions characteristically involve 3 to 10 foods, sometimes as many of 20 foods in very allergic individuals.

4). Because a small amount of a single food is involved and the allergic symptoms appear immediately, immediate food allergy is usually self-diagnosed.  Example: You eat the food, it causes symptoms quickly, you are able to see the connection and you stop eating the food.

Due to a combination of delayed symptoms, multiple foods, and food cravings, Type 3 delayed-onset food allergies are extremely hard, if not impossible, to self-diagnose.  The only accurate and reliable way to detect the delayed allergic foods is by means of laboratory testing or the use of the VEGA biodermal screening – but this must be done in the hands of an experienced practitioner otherwise there will be many false positives.

5). Immediate food allergy involves foods that are rarely eaten.  Delayed food allergy involves commonly eaten foods (i.e. – foods that you eat every day and may even have a craving for).

6). When people quit eating foods that cause immediate symptoms, they have no withdrawal or detoxification symptoms.  Powerful addictive cravings and disabling withdrawal symptoms are reported in over 30 percent of delayed food allergy patients when they stop eating the food they are intolerant to.

7). Immediate food allergens primarily affect the skin, airway and the digestive tract. Virtually any tissue, organ or system of the body can be affected by delayed food allergy. This includes the brain, joints, muscles, hormone-producing glands, lungs, kidneys, and nervous system.  Additionally, delayed-onset food allergy is linked to over 100 medical conditions involving every single part of the body and some 100 different allergic symptoms.

8). Immediate-onset food allergies are frequently permanent and fixed allergies.  Example: Once you develop an allergy to peanuts or shellfish, it’s for life.  Delayed-onset food allergies can be tolerated after completely eliminating them for 3 months – you can reintroduce most of them (approx. 86%) back into your diet on rotation every four days and remain symptom-free.

Because delayed-onset food allergies are so often undetected and untreated, they lie behind many chronic medical conditions of unknown cause.  The allergic person suffers for years, even decades, without ever suspecting that their health problems are being caused by what they eat.

9). Immediate-onset food allergy is a skin (“scratch”) test positive allergy.  Delayed food allergies are skin (“scratch”) test negative.  The traditional skin tests are poor tests for detecting delayed food allergies.  Instead, delayed reactions food requires state-of-the-art blood tests.  These tests detect serum levels of  IgG antibodies to foods.  Also, using VEGA technology, which is generally a cheaper and very accurate test can also be used.

10). In my experience, using VEGA biodermal screening to detect the IgG mediated, delayed food intolerance which is the most common in adults, for those adults that adhere to the abstention from these foods “religiously” it is a Godsend. Literally, within a 15-day period symptoms that the patient may have had for decades simply melt away – it’s seems miraculous to the patient! I can confidently say that significant improvements are noted in about 90% of cases and often these improvements are life-changing.

Migraines of long-standing have melted away in days, chronic constipation disappears, aches and pains in joints vanish, low energy levels fade away, brain “fog” evaporates, stomach, bowel distension and cases of IBS are a thing of the past – in fact the symptoms and conditions that I have personally seen disappear after identifying and avoiding food intolerances could fill another volume.

I hope next time your doctor comments on this “stupid” notion of food intolerances causing your symptoms and gives you yet another drug to suppress these symptoms without looking at the causes, you should be able to give them a good lecture in this topic! It is true to say that less than 1% of doctors look at food intolerances, mainly because it is not cost-effective to the pharmaceutical companies as there are no expensive drugs involved – only avoiding the food intolerances!

Maybe one day when we live in a utopia that doctors and drug companies will REALLY care for their patient’s health as opposed to seeing them as cash registers – I wait patiently for this day!