What are food intolerances and food allergies? What are the symptoms and treatment methods?

Any negative situation caused by nutrients in the body is generally considered as food allergy. However, the reactions caused by nutrients in the body are divided into food intolerance and food allergy. These concepts, which are often confused with each other, are actually two quite different situations.



What is a food intolerance?

Food intolerance is defined as the reaction of the digestive system to a substance contained in a food consumed. A substance in the food cannot be properly digested or broken down by a person’s digestive system. This situation irritates the digestive system and causes damage. The cause of food intolerance is the lack of enzymes or the inability to digest the substance in the food. For example, lactose intolerance occurs as a result of the deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which enables the digestion of lactose carbohydrate contained in milk.



What is a food allergy?

Food allergy is defined as the immune system’s response to a substance contained in a food consumed. The body activates the defense system against protein in general and creates a kind of antibody called IgE. When the food containing the allergen substance is consumed again, the antibody produced previously causes the chemical called histamine to be released. Histamine causes a person to be hypersensitive to a certain food protein. Wheat, soy products, eggs, milk, strawberries, almonds and walnuts are the most common allergy-causing foods.

What are the symptoms of food intolerance?

If a person has a food intolerance, it can occur when the person eats that food for the first time. It is the amount of food that affects food intolerance. While the food that causes intolerance is accepted by the body when consumed in low amounts, it may cause discomfort in higher amounts. Symptoms of food intolerance:

Stomach pain, stomach contractions, burning sensation in the stomach,

Nausea and vomiting

Gas, cramps and bloating in the stomach and intestines,

Headache, irritability, weakness, tiredness,



What are the symptoms of food allergy?

If a person has a food allergy, the person cannot feel anything the first time they eat that food. Whether there is an allergy is understood by consuming the food for the second time. Food allergy symptoms can be mild or severe. Food allergy symptoms:

Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting,

Skin itching, rash, hives,

Swelling of the tongue, throat or eyes

Chest pain, shortness of breath, sudden feeling of faintness,

Low blood pressure, dizziness,

Fainting and anaphylactic shock.


How is food intolerance diagnosed?

Food intolerance can be diagnosed with the elimination diet or food intolerance test. In order to detect problematic foods in the elimination diet, the suspicious foods are completely removed from the diet under the control of a doctor or dietician, and then these foods are added to the diet one by one. By examining the symptoms, it can be understood which foods cause food intolerance. In the food intolerance test, a sensitivity test is performed against many substances such as fungi, dyes, drugs and nutrients and their diets are arranged according to this test result.



How is food allergy diagnosed?

In the diagnosis of food allergy, the IgE antibody levels produced by the body in response to the allergen are measured. So how is the allergy test done, which plays an important role in diagnosis? Respiratory tests that give specific responses to foods, blood and skin allergy tests are performed. After the food is consumed, the person’s blood is drawn and IgE levels are checked. Likewise, kits containing suspicious foods are applied to the skin; Results such as burning, redness, itching and rash are observed. It is of great importance that the results of all tests are examined by a specialist physician and the correct interpretation of the food allergy test.



What are food intolerance treatment methods?

The only treatment of food intolerance is to remove the food that causes intolerance from the diet or to consume it in amounts that the body can tolerate. If the food that causes intolerance is an essential food that the body must take, it is very important to consume another food with the same feature. Lack of wheat consumption due to gluten intolerance may cause insufficiency in B vitamin intake. In this case, the person does not contain gluten instead of wheat; Corn flour, millet, brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa can be consumed.


What are food allergy treatment methods?

The only treatment for food allergy is the food allergy test treatment, that is, the exclusion of the food that causes the allergy from the diet. However, no matter how much attention is paid, in some cases, it may be possible to encounter an allergen substance in meals eaten outside. Therefore, antihistamic drugs can be used to prevent minor allergic reactions. These medicines help reduce complaints such as itching and urticaria. For more serious allergic reactions, epinephrine injection can be given and go to the emergency room.

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