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Pediatric Integrative & Functional Medicine

Food Allergies and Sensitivities

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Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Food sensitivities can be divided into two categories- allergic responses and food intolerances. Allergic responses activate the immune system when there is an ingestion of a food that your body sees as a harmful foreign molecule. Surveillance cells bind to antigens to signal the body to release histamines, thus causing the allergic response. Common symptoms of food allergies can include blood in stools, diarrhea, vomiting, swelling of the face, hives, skin rashes, wheezing, runny nose, and eczema. Over 140 different foods have been identified as causes of allergic reactions. The most common food allergies include cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts.

Food intolerances are a delayed activation of the immune system and thus reactions can occur 48-72 hours later. Some common food intolerances can include gluten, casein, lactose, soy, and other additives or preservatives. Symptoms of food intolerance can include gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, migraines, rashes and eczema, wheezing, and even manifest in behavior issues.

Determining a food intolerance or allergy can sometimes be a difficult process if trying to use a food diary or elimination diet at home. We utilize specialized lab testing to look at IgE foods (food allergies) and IgG foods (food intolerances) and then put together a plan for your child based on what they need to avoid allowing the gut to heal. There is also an option to formulate immunotherapy drops based on your child’s results. If triggers are not avoided properly, this can lead to overall systemic inflammation.

At least 30% of the population will experience one or more episodes of some kind of food sensitivity during their lifetime. If you suspect that your child might be having reactions to food, we can most certainly help guide you towards an answer.