A food allergy is an abnormal response to a specific food. Symptoms of food allergies include:
Food sensitivities are more subtle and hard to track down. Symptoms include:
This is not an exhaustive list, and allergies and sensitivities can overlap in their manifestations. Reactions to food range in severity from mild nuisance to life-threatening requiring an epinephrine injector.
Your immune system is responsible for protecting your body from certain pathogens that can make you sick, such as bacteria and viruses. But when the digestive system is impaired, normally harmless food substances can “leak” into the periphery outside of the digestive system and cause the body to mount a variety of immune responses.
Karen may suspect that you have a food allergy and/or sensitivity based on symptoms you experience after eating certain foods. To confirm that you have this allergy, she may recommend some blood tests.
If you have a food allergy, the best way to reduce symptoms is to avoid the food in question. For many patients, avoiding food allergens is the only way to prevent anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
In some cases, patients with severe food allergies accidentally ingest the allergen. To prevent serious complications in these situations, Karen may recommend that you carry emergency epinephrine with you at all times. If you accidentally consume the allergen, injecting the epinephrine will reduce the severity of your attack.
Food sensitivities require avoidance of the offending foods for about three months, and then can be reintroduced in a specific sequence after following a gut-healing protocol.
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