As I’ve discussed previously, food allergies are different from food sensitivities. Food allergies occur when exposure to a food causes your body to create IgE antibodies, which then cause an immediate and often severe reaction to occur at the next exposure.
People with food allergies often experience serious, life-threatening symptoms within minutes to an hour of eating the offending food that may include hives, respiratory distress, and even anaphylactic shock leading quickly to death.
The eight most common IgE food allergies according to the Mayo clinic are:
- tree nuts (such as almonds, cashew, and walnuts)
- fish (such as bass, cod, and flounder)
- shellfish (such as crab, lobster, and shrimp)
Even though IgE testing is the standard food allergy testing procedure, using either a back-scratch test or by examining the blood, it might not tell the whole story. Allergist Dr. Robert Wood, Pediatric Allergist and Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and author of Food Allergies For Dummies, explains that IgE antibodies may or may not be a reliable indicator of a food allergy, and in fact IgE testing is not entirely accurate as sometimes people will react to a substance and not have any IgE antibodies while other times there will be a large number of IgE antibodies but the person is in fact non-symptomatic to that allergen.
Food sensitivities, on the other hand, are dose-dependent and may be delayed by up to four days after ingestion. They do not create IgE antibodies and can cause symptoms ranging from migraine to fibromyalgia to irritable bowels, ADHD, fatigue, mood swings, digestive issues, and even autoimmune diseases. Food sensitivities will not show up in IgE tests because, again, they do not cause the creation of IgE antibodies in the blood.
If the results from IgE testing leave you still experiencing symptoms, consider getting tested for food sensitivities. The Mediator Release Test (MRT) together with interpretation by a Certified LEAP Therapist (CLT) is the gold standard for food sensitivity testing and successful dietary management to eliminate symptoms.