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Food Reactions & Immunology

Is it a food allergy or a food sensitivity?

No one knows why the immune system produces antibodies to certain foods, but when it does, a noticeable food reaction may result.  Rocky Mountain Analytical tests for food-specific reactions to three different antibodies:  IgG, IgE and IgA

The immune system exists to defend the body against bacteria, viruses and any other potentially harmful organisms.  One of the ways it does this is by producing cells called immunoglobulins, also called antibodies. There are five major immunoglobulins: IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM.

Food Allergy

Only IgE reactions are considered true food allergies.  IgE reactions typically occur within minutes of exposure to, or ingestion of, food antigen.  Commonly observed IgE reactions include: hives, itchy watery eyes and breathing difficulties.  Testing for IgE food allergies requires a blood draw  Diagnosis of a food allergy can only be made by an allergist, and may involve skin prick tests or a double-blind, placebo-controlled oral food challenge.

Food Sensitivity

Food Sensitivity is a term that usually refers to delayed immune reactions to foods.  For example, IgG and IgA reactions to foods are commonly referred to as food sensitivities. 

The term food sensitivity is sometimes used to describe non-immune reactions to food.  There is no agreed upon definition of what a food sensitivity is. IgG and IgA  food reactions can be tested from a blood sample collected via finger puncture or blood draw. 

Food Intolerance

Usually refers to non-immune reactions like enzyme deficiencies.  For example, people who lack the enzyme lactase have trouble digesting milk.  This is called lactose intolerance.   

Testing Food Reactions