What are allergies?
An allergy occurs when your immune system responds aggressively to a harmless environmental substance.
There are 2 Types of Allergies:
- Acute/immediate reaction caused by IgE antibodies. This is a lifelong allergy which cannot be cured and exposure to a small amount of the allergen can be life threatening.
- Chronic/low grade reaction caused by IgG antibodies. This type can be cured if there is no exposure to the allergen or the certain foods are cut out of the diet for a period of time.
Signs and Symptoms of an IgG allergy (mostly on a daily/weekly basis):
- Itchy, stuffy or runny nose
- Chronic post nasal drip and sinusitis/hayfever
- Itchy throat
- Swollen, red and/or itchy eyes
- IBS type symptoms – bloating, wind, constipation
NOTE: Food intolerances (discussed further down) can often be confused with an IgG allergy as both are low grade and chronic. However an IgG allergy can be a host of symptoms affecting different parts of the body whereas Food Intolerances only affect the digestive system/gut.
Signs and Symptoms of an IgE allergy (generally in acute cases):
- Difficulty breathing
- Wheezing and coughing
- Rashes and hives
- Swollen lips and/or eyes
- Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
What is the difference between Food Allergies and Food Intolerances?
- Involves the immune system which causes a reaction by mistaking the certain type of food as an invader that needs to be attacked. When the body attacks the invader, symptoms occur.
- Any amount, even trace amounts, will cause a reaction.
- Symptoms are immediate and complete avoidance of the offending food is the only way to prevent reaction
- Involves only the digestive system
- The digestive system causes a reaction for one of two reasons 1) The food irritates the digestive tract. 2) the food cannot be properly digested
- The amount required to trigger a reaction varies from person to person. The severity is equal to the amount ingested.
- Symptoms come on gradually and you may not even realise that it has been from what you have eaten.
- Some are more obvious e.g. lactose intolerance causes bloating and wind quite quickly.
Natural Remedies for Allergies:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3
- Olive Leaf extract
- N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
- Cut out dairy i.e. milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, chocolate etc
- Cut out gluten/wheat
- Avoid sugar