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The food that we eat is broken down into smaller particles and absorbed by the intestines during digestion. Most often these food particles are absorbed into the blood harmlessly. However, sometimes small fragments of partially digested or undigested foods, that pass into the bloodstream, may be recognized by the immune system as being ‘foreign’. This means that our immune system starts fighting against the foods we eat by releasing substances known as antibodies.
We can understand if a person is intolerant or allergic to any food by studying these antibodies in the blood.
There are two types of antibodies produced by our body in response to the food we eat, IgG – intolerance and IgE – allergy. Having either of these types of antibodies is not a good sign. It’s a sign your immune system is out of balance and something needs to change.
Food Intolerance is an IgG mediated or non-allergic reaction of the body referring to difficulty in digesting certain foods. Food intolerance is a detrimental reaction, often delayed, to a food, beverage, or compound of foods that produces symptoms in one or more body organs and systems, but generally refers to reactions other than food allergy.
IgG antibodies provide long-term resistance to foods. Hence, a food intolerance is subtle and most people may even live with it for years.
The symptoms associated with Food Intolerance may occur hours or even days after the offending food has been ingested.
Symptoms range from headaches and nausea to depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity, or, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation and Crohn’s Disease.
People with inflammation or irritation of the intestinal lining are also prone to partially digested foods leaking into the bloodstream. This condition is also known as the leaky gut syndrome, and it typically results in higher levels of antibodies to multiple foods. When food particles enter into the bloodstream in a person who has a leaky gut, the body has an activated immune response and can create antibodies to fight the ingested food.
The complete elimination of IgG-positive foods may bring about substantial improvements in symptoms.
An IgG food sensitivity test gives you a picture as to how much chronic inflammation and adverse reaction a particular food can cause to you upon consumption. It demonstrates results as values of high, moderate, and low. Everyone should get IgG tested for food sensitivities, so they know what foods work for their body and what foods don't.
All high and moderate values should be completely avoided for 12-16 weeks while you embark upon a proper gut-healing program. Only after you've done the work to clean up your gut and re-educate your immune system can you retest to see how many true food sensitivities are left and how you should craft your diet around them in the future. Often after gut healing, 50-80% of food sensitivities go away, and one can reintroduce certain foods, and the body will know how to best use them for health after that.
IgE antibodies are primarily associated with allergies. A food / inhalant allergy is when the immune system produces specific IgE antibodies against substances ingested or inhaled.
The first time someone is exposed to a foreign substance, it may take the immune system up to two weeks to make an antibody blueprint against it. When the exposure occurs again the next time, the IgE antibodies signal the mast cells in the body to release histamine and other compounds. Histamine and these other compounds are the cause of allergy symptoms like itching and inflammation. All of this usually happens within minutes of ingesting the allergen, which can be pretty scary.
The IgE antibodies lead to an immediate allergic reaction which can present in the form of very serious symptoms like difficulty in breathing, swelling, rashes and itching skin, or itchy eyes or nose, sneezing, nasal congestion and tight throat. Symptoms can be particularly harsh for children as their immune systems are not fully formed yet. In even more severe cases of allergic reaction, IgE reactions can lead to anaphylactic shock.
While true allergies are associated with fast-acting immunoglobulin IgE responses, it can be difficult to determine the offending food causing a food intolerance IgG reaction because the response generally takes place over a prolonged period of time. Keep in mind that the stronger the immune system and the healthier your gut, the better your body will be able to tolerate accidental exposure of the foods/inhalants. IgE food allergies typically do not go away but can decrease over time as health improves. It is always recommended to stay away from those things you are completely allergic to.