Allergies versus Intolerances

Allergies versus Intolerances

What’s the difference and how do you determine what foods to avoid?

What’s the difference between food allergies and food intolerances? You may think that they refer to the same thing, but understanding the difference can put you in a better position to navigate them in your quest to feel and look your best. 

First of all, here’s the basic explanation for the differences between allergies and intolerances:

Intolerances typically show themselves in the form of a negative reaction that is more annoying or uncomfortable than it is threatening. Typically, the effect is exclusive to the digestive system.

Allergies, on the other hand, are likely to cause much more severe reactions that can sometimes be life-threatening. Allergies are mediated by the immune system and can affect multiple organs.

Signs of Intolerance

If you have ever heard someone suggest that a certain meal “doesn’t agree with them”, there is a good chance that they are experiencing a food intolerance. While everyone’s body reacts differently to different foods, common intolerances come from consuming food additives, medications and ingredients like gluten or lactose.

Symptoms from these types of reactions include gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches cramping, dizziness, diarrhea or even vomiting. While they are certainly uncomfortable, they are non life-threatening.

Signs of Allergy

Allergic reactions are much more intense than intolerances and typically within 30 minutes of coming into contact or consuming something you are allergic to you could experience rapid, severe anaphylaxis, hives, rash, swelling around or inside your mouth and/or difficulty breathing. Left untreated, certain allergies can even lead to death. 

Allergies are not restricted to food items; you may experience allergies to many other things as well including bug bites, drugs, aspects of nature, animals, dust, the list goes on…

Are Allergies/Intolerances Avoidable?

A common question surrounding allergies and is whether they are hereditary or developed over time. The facts suggest a combination of both. 

Children whose parents have outdoor allergies or asthma are at a higher risk of similar environment-triggered allergies for their entire lives. 

Food allergies, on the other hand, while typically revealed during early childhood, but sometimes food and other allergies like dairy or peanuts can reveal themselves later in life – or even go away over time. 

To battle the potential for allergies, some research recommends introducing potentially allergenic foods to children early in life as a means of preventing their development. Before you try this at home, speak to a healthcare professional for proper guidance. 

Intolerance are sometimes genetic, but they also can develop over time. For example, an intolerance to dairy may come later in life as a result of your body’s fading ability to produce the enzymes that digest lactose. 

How Do I Know if I Have Allergies or Intolerances?

Typically, your medical care provider is a good first place to go for allergy tests.  They can provide guidance to help you find out whether you have any allergies; including skin and blood testing. 

When it comes to intolerances, Slimwell can help! We offer a simple test that uses just a few strands of hair to determine which foods may be causing your digestive symptoms.  You then receive a comprehensive report and a personalized consultation to help you navigate your path to better digestive choices.

Don’t want to take a test? A comprehensive food diary that records everything you eat and how it makes you feel afterwards could be enough to get you only eating that which agrees with you.

Managing Your Symptoms

Elimination and possible avoidance is the best way to manage your allergies and your intolerances.

If you are allergic to a specific food ensure you carry an epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times.  Many people are not aware was what medications they may be allergic to. The molecular you health assessment test has this component and can identify what medication works normally, what you may have adverse reactions to and what medication have an enhanced reaction with your unique body system.


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