Food Sensitivities, Allergies and Intolerances – What’s the Difference?

Origin26 Blog food allergies min
Food sensitivity testing is one of my favorite tests to use with Origin26 customers because it's a simple finger prick with a potentially big impact on quality of life. Our immune system samples everything we eat to determine if you can eat it or if it poses a risk to your health. I have seen all kinds of symptoms improve after the client clears their personal food sensitivity.

Food sensitivity testing is one of my favorites tests for use with Origin26 customers as it is a simple finger prick with a potentially large impact on quality of life. Our immune system samples everything we eat to determine if you can eat it or if it poses a risk to your health. I have seen all kinds of symptoms improve after the client clears their personal food sensitivity. Many people assume that food sensitivity symptoms are related to digestion. Not necessarily true! Symptoms can range from panic attacks, anxiety, depression, rashes, uncomfortable bloating, aches, pains, to stubborn weight gain. When we eat foods to which we are sensitive, our body becomes inflamed. Inflammation due to food sensitivities causes uncomfortable symptoms that vary depending on the person and their biochemical makeup. Research has shown that inflammation is a key initiator of many diseases. Therefore, identifying and reducing food-sensitive substances is a great way to control inflammation!

In the world of food reactions, there is a lot of confusion. A food sensitivity is NOT a food allergy. Food sensitivities and food allergies also differ from a food intolerance. Celiac disease is not a food allergy, food intolerance or food sensitivity! The exact cause of adverse food reactions can be difficult to determine, as many types of reactions share similar symptoms. However, the timing of the response can be a key indicator of the type of reaction and testing can help confirm. There are several types of adverse food reactions that will cause a person discomfort from an offending food. See some of the differences in types of food reactions and how to test below.

Food sensitivities: what are they?

Our immune system samples everything we eat to determine if you can eat it or if it poses a risk to your health. There are three pathways the immune system can take with the food you eat: it can approve the food without any reaction, it can produce a life-threatening IgE-mediated histamine reaction (such as throat swelling and air supply cut-off) indicating a food allergy, or it may sound the alarm that triggers a cascade of inflammatory reactions throughout the body that is interpreted as food sensitivity or an IgG delayed hypersensitivity reaction of type III.

IgG food sensitivity reactions occur about 3 hours and up to 3 days later after eating an offending food. Responses to IgG food sensitivities can sometimes be the same as an IgE response, but will manifest much more discreetly. Food sensitivities create systemic body inflammation that can make weight loss difficult.

How do you know you have food sensitivities?

When your body sends out a cascade of inflammatory compounds, your body goes on high alert because your immune system is telling the rest of your body that there is a problem and you are at risk. These inflammatory compounds, also known as cytokines, prostaglandins, histamines, etc., trigger or mediate the symptoms of food sensitivities. If you think you have food sensitivities, it’s a good idea to keep a food/symptom diary so you can track trends. Food sensitivity symptoms can vary widely from person to person and may be indicators of another health condition, but the following list is what to watch out for (Keep in mind that some food sensitivities may be delayed, so you may experience symptoms immediately or within 4 days of consuming a food or chemical/additive to which you are sensitive):

  • Headaches / migraines
  • Stomach ache
  • Swelling (i.e. water retention)
  • Joint and muscle aches/aches
  • Fatigue – feeling “tired” within 30-60 minutes of eating a particular food
  • Skin issues (psoriasis, eczema, flushed/red cheeks, acne, itchy, bumps on the back of the arms appearing as a “gluten rash”)
  • Digestive problems (gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation)
  • Tested negative for food allergies but still showing uncomfortable symptoms
  • Stubborn weight gain
  • Brain fog
  • Constipation / diarrhea
  • Heartburn / indigestion
  • Mood issues
  • Anxiety
  • chronic pain


How do you get food sensitivities?

Sometimes you will feel sensitivity to a food you have never eaten before without a clear reason for the reaction. Other times, your immune system will react to a food because it is misidentified as one that you are extremely sensitive to. This is known as “molecular mimicry” or “cross-reactivity” reactions. For example, the body often misidentifies dairy products as wheat or gluten, which is one reason why many gluten-sensitive people may also experience dairy sensitivity reactions.

Another common reason for developing food sensitivities results from a condition called “leaky gut syndrome.” What is leaky gut syndrome? In simple terms, it’s excessive permeability in the gut that occurs when the protective elements of your gut start to break down and can no longer protect as well as they used to. When this happens, spaces begin to form between the cells that line your intestinal tract (called tight junctions), which allows food particles that aren’t completely broken down, harmful bacteria, viruses or fungal elements, parasites and other germs from being absorbed and entering your bloodstream. Normally, the protective elements in the gut are barriers that carefully filter out elements in your environment that can harm your body. However, If your gut is inflamed or damaged, these pathogens can more easily cross these barriers and enter the bloodstream where they can travel to other organs, cells, and parts of your body. If your immune system identifies a food as a foreign invader, it will sound the alarm and trigger an inflammatory reaction the next time you eat that food, and bam: a food sensitivity is born.


Where to start:

  1. Get tested! Contact Origin26. It is very difficult for the intestine to recover if reactive foods are always eaten and constantly cause inflammation. The tests can tell you precisely which foods or food components you need to eliminate to stop the inflammatory madness. After your Origin26 clinician reviews your test results, you’ll receive clinical and dietary advice as well as supplement recommendations to support your gut health as you work to eliminate reactive foods. If you or someone you know could benefit from a food sensitivity test, try the 44 foods, 90 foods or 180 food sensitivity panels from Origin26 .
  1. Keep a diary: It can be very difficult to identify delayed reaction food sensitivities, as some symptoms may not appear for 2-4 days. However, many reactions will occur more quickly, often within 30 minutes to 2 hours of eating the food. If you keep a food and symptom diary, it will make it easier for you to identify foods that cause problems, such as fatigue, headaches, skin problems, bloating, etc. Any foods that you identify as potentially reactive should be eliminated from the diet. For a month then you can challenge with food to see if you still have a reaction. Keep in mind that some food sensitivities will be quantity based and may not react with minute amounts. Each person is unique, so it may take some time to figure out what works best for you.
  1. Rotate your diet: Food sensitivities are much more likely and can worsen when the same foods are eaten frequently. Therefore, it is so important to vary what you eat each day. If you are prone to food sensitivities, try to avoid eating the same foods for three days. For example, if you eat almonds or almond milk on a Monday, use different nuts or nut milks on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Most common food sensitivities: Pay particular attention to the top five foods that can cause food sensitivity reactions: cow’s dairy, wheat gluten, corn, soy, and chicken eggs. If you notice one or more of these foods causing symptoms, you should eliminate them for at least 4-6 months before doing a food challenge. Some food sensitivities stay long-term while others stop being a problem once your gut health improves.

A note on food sensitivity testing: If you avoid or limit a certain food from your diet, it is common to see an absent or low IgG response to that food. Also keep in mind that food sensitivities and food allergies are different types of reactions. A food allergy will usually cause an immediate IgE-mediated reaction. Our food sensitivity tests identify IgG reactions.

Note: Anyone who notices symptoms immediately after eating a certain food is NOT a candidate for food sensitivity testing and should seek medical attention (see Food Allergies below). IgG food sensitivity testing is not recommended for people taking oral, injectable, or inhaled corticosteroids and/or immunosuppressive drugs for 3 months. Use of these drugs may lead to reduced production of IgG antibodies which may correlate with lower reactivity on a food sensitivity panel.

Food allergies: what are they?

Where to start: Contact your healthcare professional.

Food allergies are immediate responses to offending foods. Symptoms can occur immediately up to 3 hours after consumption. Food allergies can be a life-threatening medical emergency for some people with allergies.

Symptoms of food allergies may include: inflammation, itching, rash, cough, runny nose, sneezing, digestive problems, headache, pain, swelling, congestion and/or closing of the throat (anaphylactic reaction).

How to test: To identify IgE-mediated responses, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Testing methods include both blood tests for IgE antibodies and skin tests to detect food-specific IgE.

Celiac disease

Where to start: Contact your healthcare professional.

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that can occur in genetically predisposed people where ingestion of gluten results in damage to the small intestine. When people with celiac disease eat gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye, spelled, and/or barley), their immune response will attack the small intestine. Celiac disease has a genetic component, so it runs in families. Symptoms of celiac disease may include depression, anxiety, bloating, pain, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, weight loss, fatigue, ADHD, unexplained iron deficiency anemia, infertility unexplained, fatigue, bone or joint pain, etc.

How to perform the test: test HLA genetics to assess the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes and a blood test to check for antibodies in your blood. Note: Your doctor may prescribe gluten reintroduction if you are on a gluten-free diet. If these tests are positive, the next step is an endoscopy. Endoscopy will evaluate your small intestine for villus damage and a biopsy is often performed.

Food intolerances: what are they?

Where to start: Contact your healthcare professional.

Food intolerances occur because the body lacks an enzyme to digest or assimilate food. An example would be lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance occurs when an individual lacks the enzyme lactase to digest lactose, the dairy sugar. The onset of intolerance is delayed.

Symptoms of food intolerances may include: upset stomach, rash, sweating, diarrhea and/or nausea. There are also digestive enzymes that can help support a missing enzyme.

How to test: To identify food intolerances such as lactose intolerance or fructose intolerance, consult a doctor. Methods of testing for lactose intolerance include lactose tolerance test, hydrogen breath test, and/or stool acidity test (for children and infants). To test for fructose intolerance, a breath test can be performed.


Food poisoning: what is it?

Where to start: Contact your healthcare professional.

Food poisoning is a toxic reaction to food and can occur due to natural poisons in food or an infectious cause (bacteria, parasites, viruses). Onset is usually 3-5 hours from consumption.

Symptoms of food poisoning may include: fever, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and/or sweating.

How to test: consult a doctor. Many times a medical professional can diagnose food poisoning based on symptoms, but will use additional tests if necessary.


In conclusion

If your body is hurting you, pay attention. Uncomfortable symptoms are a message from your body telling you that something is wrong. There is a cause and an effect for all things. If you do one thing, another will happen. There’s a reason it snows; ice crystals in clouds stick together to become snowflakes with ground temperature below 32 degrees. There’s a reason black bears hibernate in the winter; to conserve energy during cold months with scarce foods by lowering body temperature and slowing heart rate. There is a reason you are reading this article; you clicked on it, right? If you’re experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, track them and they’ll lead you to a root cause.

We would love to hear from you. Has food sensitivity testing made a difference in your life? Leave a comment below if you want to share your experience! [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

say about food sensitivity test:

“I eliminated dairy and eggs and took my Origin26 diet and noticed major changes in the chronic pain I had had for years.”

“I have noticed a huge improvement in my skin since removing my triggers!”

“Within 10 days of eliminating wheat/gluten, eggs and soy, the bloating and stabbing pains were gone!!!”Hours!”

“I can finally lose weight again!!!!!!”

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