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What is Food Sensitivity Testing?

Food sensitivity testing is a laboratory test in which blood is analysed to test individual reactions to foods.

Food intolerance, also known as non-IgE mediated food hypersensitivity or non-allergic food hypersensitivity, refers to difficulty in digesting certain foods. It is important to note that food intolerance is different from food allergy.

Food intolerance, also known as non-IgE mediated food hypersensitivity or non-allergic food hypersensitivity, refers to difficulty in digesting certain foods. It is important to note that food intolerance is different from food allergy.

Food allergies trigger the immune system, while food intolerance does not. Some people suffer digestive problems after eating certain foods, even though their immune system has not reacted – there is no histamine response.

Foods most commonly associated with food intolerance include dairy products, grains that contain gluten, and foods that cause intestinal gas build-up, such as beans and cabbage.

Fast facts on food intolerance

Here are some key points about food intolerance:

  • Symptoms of food intolerance tend to take longer to appear than symptoms of allergies.
  • The symptoms are varied and can include, migraine, cough, and stomach-ache.
  • Some food intolerance is caused by the lack of a particular enzyme.

Symptoms

Gluten is one of the most common causes of food intolerance.

It can be difficult to determine whether the patient has a food intolerance or an allergy because the signs and symptoms often overlap.

According to James Li, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic allergy specialist, when it is an allergy, even small amounts result in symptoms, as may be the case with peanuts. Whereas, with food intolerance, tiny amounts will usually have no effect.

The symptoms of food intolerance generally take longer to emerge, compared to food allergies.

Onset typically occurs several hours after ingesting the offending food or compound and may persist for several hours or days. In some cases, symptoms may take 48 hours to arrive.

Some people are intolerant to several groups of foods, making it harder for doctors to determine whether it might be a chronic illness or food intolerance. Identifying which foods are the culprits can take a long time.

According to the Australian NSW Food Authority, the following are the most common symptoms of food intolerance:

  • Bloating
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Feeling under the weather
  • Stomach ache
  • Irritable bowel
  • Hives

Types

  • Some common types of food intolerance are:

    • Lactose, wheat, gluten, caffeine, histamine, present in mushrooms, pickles, and cured food.
    • Additives such as artificial sweeteners, coloring, or other flavourings.

    Some people experience a reaction after eating bread, but this does not necessarily indicate a gluten intolerance. Anyone who suspects they may have a gluten intolerance should see a doctor before giving up gluten, as cereals can be an important source of various nutrients.

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