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When Healthy Food makes you Sick: Food Intolerances.

Allergies increasingly cause health problems. Approximately 1-2% of adults suffer from a Type I (immediate reaction) food allergy. In extreme cases these allergies can be life threatening.
Type III (delayed reaction) food allergies, however, are estimated to affect up to 40% of the population. These allergies are also commonly called food intolerances or sensitivities.

Type III (delayed reaction) food allergies, are estimated to affect up to 40% of the population.

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Allergies develop when your immune system fails to recognize a food ingredient as a nutrient and treats it instead as a foreign object. When the immune system identifies a foreign object as harmful, it will create antibodies to combat them. The antibodies that are formed in the case of Type III allergies (food intolerance) are IgG antibodies.IgG antibodies develop in your blood from continually eating the offending food.

Sometimes the body reaches a threshold where it no longer tolerates that food and it is treated like an invader in your system. The body produces an inflammatory response and if we continue having the offending food we see the physical symptoms appear hours or even days after consumption.

This low grade inflammation settles in all different parts of the body and can manifest itself in many different symptoms. Some people suffer gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea, flatulence and bloating. For others it may also cause reactions of the skin such as eczema and psoriasis. Headaches as well as disorders of the joints may also be the result of food intolerance. For others still, it is the inability to lose weight even though the calorie intake has been modified.

Type III food allergies can also lead to chronic diseases over time such as IBS, diabetes type 2, Chrohns disease, etc.

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Type III food allergies can also lead to chronic diseases over time such as IBS, diabetes type 2, Chrohns disease, etc.


Difference between Type I and Type III Allergies

It is important to make a distinction between Type I and Type III allergy.

Type I Food Allergy

Immediate reaction

Acute

Approx. 1-2% of adults

Development of IgE antibodies

Release of histamine

Symptoms include:

  • Skin wheals
  • Red skin
  • Itching
  • Swelling of lips/throat
  • Cold
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Severe cardiovascular disorders
  • Allergic shock

Type III Food Allergy

Delayed reaction (several hours up to 3 days)

Chronic

Approx. 40% of the population

Development of IgG antibodies

N/A

Symptoms include:

  • Chronic gastrointestinal ailments: diarrhoea, irritable bowel, flatulence, Crohn’s disease
  • Headache, migraine
  • Painful joints
  • Skin problems such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis
  • Overweight
  • ADHD(attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • High Blood Pressure

Type III testing

There are tests available for IgG antibodies to foods that may play a role in the development of chronic ailments and are triggered by a delayed (Type III) food allergy. Even though food intolerance may not be life threatening, the fact that our bodies do not digest this food well is a sign that we shouldn’t be eating it.

Mild food allergies can be easily ignored or go unrecognized. Medication can be taken to mask the symptoms, rather than avoiding the food in question.

The symptoms of a Type III food allergy are diverse and can appear several hours or even days after the consumption of the offending food.

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The symptoms of a Type III food allergy are diverse and can appear several hours or even days after the consumption of the offending food. It could be that there is a hypersensitivity to, for example green salad, tomatoes, potatoes, milk etc. The consequence of this hypersensitivity stresses your immune system, affects your metabolism and thus causes health problems without directly feeling it.

Foods that commonly cause delayed allergies are eggs, milk, wheat etc but they can also be unsuspecting foods like Nori seaweed, chickpeas, lettuce or even brazil nuts.


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