A food intolerance and a food allergy can sometimes have similar symptoms, but the way they react with your body is very different. Find out about the differences below to help prevent against a possible misdiagnosis.
The main difference between an intolerance and an allergy is that an allergy will manifest itself almost immediately after inhalation or consumption of a particular substance. Food intolerances, on the other hand, are more deceptive. Depending on the individual, symptoms might arrive anywhere between a couple hours to a couple days.
In the case of an allergy, our bodies release a specific protein known as IgE (Immunoglobulin E), the primary antibody responsible for fighting off parasites and allergens. These antibodies instantly bind themselves to the mast cells in the body. Then, once the presence of the IgE antibodies become too much for the mast cells to handle, they burst, releasing histamines into the body which cause common allergy symptoms such as hives, itchiness and swelling. Measuring the presence of these IgE antibodies helps to identify an allergic reaction.
Again, an allergic reaction tends to happen very quickly, in most cases immediately following the consumption or inhalation of the allergen. Allergies also tend to have more severe symptoms, including life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Whereas the antibody IgE is released in the case of a food allergy, antibody IgG (Immunoglobulin G) is mainly responsible for measuring food intolerance. The primary job of these antibodies is to provide long-term resistance to infections. When defending itself against a food you’re intolerant towards, the body will produce a greater number of IgG antibodies to respond to the problem, which can ultimately trigger inflammation and other negative symptoms.
Since the time is so delayed between the consumption of a problem food and the first signs of negative symptoms, food intolerances are often misdiagnosed. The proper way to identify all of your food intolerances is to take a blood test that measures IgG levels.