What is the difference between a food sensitivity and a food allergy? Let’s sum it all up.

The first thing we need to understand is: what is an antibody? It’s basically a part of our immune system. To illustrate, let’s say there’s this virus named Sal. Sal gets into your body and infects it. Your immune system doesn’t recognize Sal but it knows that Sal doesn’t belong so it creates a special “Sal-antibody.” This way any time Sal gets by the initial defenses of the body and breaks in again he’ll be easily recognized. It’s not just one Sal antibody that gets produced, there are many. They are like sentinels that are keeping a lookout for any more Sals that may show up. If a Sal does show up and it’s recognized by an antibody, the antibody then clings to Sal until the “military” can get there. The “military” is your white blood cells, the cells that will essentially destroy Sal. The antibody recognizes the offending substance and the white blood cells attack.

Now that we know what an antibody is, what are the different types of antibodies? I used the word “military” before because our immune system is like the military. There are different branches (the army, navy, air force, marines, etc.) for different jobs. If you have an IgG antibody and get a reaction, it will be a different reaction than an IgE antibody. Let’s say that IgGs are like navy seals and IgEs are like huge bomber planes. When you have an IgG-directed attack it’s precise and there isn’t as much collateral damage. When you have an IgE and a big bomb was just dropped you have a lot of collateral damage. Follow me here: an IgG is a food sensitivity…IgE is an allergy. If you are sensitive to a food (IgG) your immune system still reacts to it but it can be in a subtle way, unless you eat a lot of it. When you have a food allergy (IgE) there are no subtleties, there is a massive “bomb attack” along with collateral damage like redness, swelling, rash etc.

There are still many degrees of problems each one of these allergies/sensitivities can cause based upon the current state of your immune system and how much of the offending food you ate recently. The goal to both is to find out what foods are bothering you and then take actions to get better. Yes, you can get better!

I firmly believe that if you heal your gut, learn to handle stress better and become more physically fit then you can eventually expand your palate and be able to eat foods that you had issues with in the past.


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Dr. Jason Piken

Dr. Jason Piken is a Chiropractor, Certified Nutrition Specialist and Health Coach who offers a unique holistic and whole body approach to nutrition and wellness.

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