Allergies vs Intolerances
An allergy is defined as having an allergic reaction where the body’s immune system responds to a substance as being foreign and invasive. An intolerance, on-the-other-hand, is a situation where the body cannot process a food and it becomes an irritant. For example, a lactose intolerance in milk. Food, chemical and environmental allergies can come a number of different sources and can affect essentially all parts of the body.
Exposure to allergens and intolerable substances can aggravate the body and may consequently cause weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, indigestion, chronic infections, chronic pain and/or mood disorders, i.e. anxiety or depression. Conversely, there may be little to no reaction at all. Such as an odd itchy patch of skin that comes and goes with no known cause.
Dr. Le of ACN Wellness in Vienna and Leesburg uses an integrated and holistic approach to treating allergies and intolerances. We integrate different kinds of medical approaches to offer alternatives to conventional medicine:
- The latest and most scientific diagnostic tools
- Holistic Medicine and Homeopathy
- Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
- Functional Medicine and Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
What’s the difference between a food intolerance and an allergy?
Some foods may cause you to feel miserable, but you may not necessarily be allergic to them – this may be referred to as food intolerance, if and only if a food allergy has been ruled out. As an adverse reaction to food, food intolerance does not involve the immune system as it would with a food allergy.
Milk Allergy vs Milk Intolerance Example:
|Food Intolerance||Food Allergy|
|Cause||The enzyme lactase is not present in the body and cannot break down the sugar in milk (lactose)||Milk protein is the culprit|
|Body’s Reaction||Digestion is compromised due to the lactose in the milk and the inability to process the lactose.||Milk protein is viewed as an allergen by the body’s immune system thinks the protein from the milk is an allergen and attacks it.|
|Immune system response||The antibody called Immunoglobulin G, (IgG), is produced a few hours or days after exposure. This Type III delayed hypersensitivity reaction can persist in the body for months to years after one exposure.||Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is produced immediately after exposure. Type 1 immediate hypersensitivity reaction vanishes from the blood in a few days.|
Figuring Out Adverse Reactions to Food:
Potentially life threatening food allergies are generally instantaneous, occurring within a few minutes to hours after eating the offending food. Symptoms include inflammation, loose stools, elevated bumps of the skin, wheezing and, in severe instances, anaphylaxis; this type of allergy is not difficult to diagnose. Additionally, food reactions may differ in that they can be delayed by days, weeks or even months after having ingested the provoking food. Symptoms of food intolerances include gas and bloating, chronic cough, headaches, sinus problems, clearing the throat or runny nose after eating, loose stools and itchy skin; this type of delayed allergy or intolerance is more difficult to diagnose by practitioners. With this delay, it is not obvious to relate negative reactions to offensive foods.
Why Are Food Allergies and Intolerances not always identified?
Very few physicians utilize advanced testing used to identify food allergies and intolerances, thus prescribing unnecessary treatments that only suppress symptoms. The symptoms associated with food allergies and food intolerances are recognized as other things by the medical community and patients. If not treated, allergies and intolerances can advance into more serious autoimmune and neurological conditions such as the below:
What is “Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky Gut Syndrome is a condition that arises when larger food particles and bacteria break through the gastrointestinal barriers and flow directly into the blood without having been properly broken down. This improper digestive process leads to an attack by the body’s immune system.
|Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Joint Pain & Swelling||Indigestion Reflux||Loose stools Diarrhea||Celiac Disease|
|Chronic Fatigue Syndrome||Neurological disease||Mental fogginess||Arthritis|
|Chronic Vaginal Infections||Irritability||Depression Weight loss||Weight gain Headaches|
|Hyperactivity||Chronic UTI||Chronic Cough||Autoimmune disorders|
How to Relieve Allergies Naturally
Rather than finding relief through allergy medications- which may come with harmful side effects and only treat symptoms associated with allergen exposure- herbs, detoxification, natural hormone therapy, acupuncture, and diet alterations can significantly reduce a wide range of allergies while addressing underlying root causes.
Medical Concerns with Allergies and Intolerances
Long term exposure to allergens and intolerable substances can cause chronic systemic inflammation and can increase the risk to serious autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Hashimoto’s and others.