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The Difference Between an Allergy and an Intolerance

by | Dec 16, 2019 | Allergies

A food allergy is a response by the body’s immune system to a specific food protein (e.g. gluten or lactose). Generally the immune system is there to keep us safe from outside bugs, but in cases of food allergies, it turns in on itself and causes (sometimes quite) severe reactions to what is considered for most people, safe food groups or proteins within them; treating them like they would outside bugs.

There are 8 foods that are the cause of 90% of all food-related allergies, these include: – milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.

Symptoms can include (but are not limited to): hives, itching, eczema, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. In the more severe cases it can also lead to death through anaphylaxis; the closing of the airways.

A food intolerance, on the other hand, is a reaction that doesn’t involve the immune system. The reactions can range from immediate, or upwards of 24 hours, after eating.

Symptoms of an intolerance can be quite vague right through to reasonably severe (although intolerances are not generally life threatening), and they generally include gastrointestinal problems. These include such things bloating, excessive and smelly wind, cramps, diarrhea, nausea and indigestion. It can also aggravate other conditions such as eczema and asthma, and also cause issues with other aspects of body and life. These reactions can include such things as all-over body aches, brain fog, fatigue and exhaustion, mood swings, depression, anxiety, tremors etc.

There are no quick fixes.





Hives Diarrhea
Eczema Bloating
Facial Swelling / Rashes Rashes
Respiratory Symptoms: Headaches
– Runny / Blocked Nose (hay fever) Nausea / Vomiting
– Watery / Sore Eyes Fatigue / Lethargy
– Sneezing / Sore Throat Abdominal Cramps
– Swelling of Throat Runny Nose
– Persistent Cough Reflux Symptoms
– Wheezing Change of Skin Colour
– Bronchospasm – Pale/Gray or Flushed
Nausea / Vomiting Indigestion
Stomach Cramps Brain Fog
Diarrhea Body Aches
Feeling Faint / Weak / Dizzy Eye Problems
Pallor or Gray Skin Colour Mood Swings
Floppiness / Collapsing Excessive or Smelly Gas
Sudden Blood Pressure Drop Anemia
Anaphylaxis Depression / Anxiety

As you can see there are a lot of similarities in symptoms, thus it is difficult to tell the difference between an allergy and an intolerance, and a proper diagnosis requires medical intervention and tests.

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