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Posted on 08-16-2015

~~From the desk of Ann Arbor Chiropractor Michael Tannenbaum, D.C.

I'm often asked  at Tannenbaum Chiropractic, in Ann Arbor, (especially by parents of young children) what is the difference between a food allergy and  a food intolerance? Usually the person asking is concerned that they have or know someone that has a negative reaction to a certain food or foods.

A food allergy occurs when an individual consumes a food that has a  protein in it that causes the body to produce an antibody to that food. It is that response to the offending food, the antibody, that produces the negative symptoms. Individuals can be tested various ways to see what foods cause the allergic reaction. Some allergy symptoms are swelling, itching, sneezing, sinus congestion, and headaches.

Food intolerance is a negative reaction to particular substance in a food.  Unlike food allergies, with food intolerance the body does not produce antibodies as a response to the offending food. Food intolerance is more difficult to test for then food allergies because a food intolerance reaction doesn't produce antibodies that can be easily tested for. Symptoms of food intolerance usually occur with in minuets or days of the offending food. The symptoms of food intolerance can appear to similar to those of allergies. Some symptoms are skin rashes, headaches, moodiness, stiff and swollen joints, breathing difficulties, brain fog and congestion.

Figuring out what food is causing the allergic reaction or food intolerant reaction is often a matter of trial and error. A couple methods to figure this out are:

-Elimination diet: eliminate from your diet what you think may be the offending foods and then add         back one at time until you find the food that causes the negative reaction.

-Keep a food log: Track how you feel after eating different foods until you can figure out what food causes the negative reaction.

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