Milk Allergies? Lactose Intolerance? Natural Solutions Provide The Long-Term Results You Want

A milk allergy is a common food allergy caused by an immune system reaction to one or more proteins in cow's milk. It can also be a reaction to other animal's milks, although since consumption of cow's milk is by far the most common, it is typically the 'milk' referred to.

While the protein that causes the allergic reaction is harmless to people who do not have a milk allergy, it can cause anaphylaxis (a life-threatening condition) in those who do have a milk allergy. The most common symptoms suffered by people with a milk allergy can include vomiting, skin rashes, hives and gastric distress.

Typically, the treatment for a milk allergy is to avoid milk proteins, and and products from milk such as yogurt, butter, cheese, etc. New, natural methods suggest that for many, enzyme supplements can help reduce most occurrences of symptoms. More on this below.

Closely related to milk allergies is lactose intolerance. In simple terms, we can define it as the inability to metabolize lactose. This is usually caused by the lack of a very important enzyme known as lactase, which is naturally occurring in our digestive system. As we age, most (75% by some estimates) adults show some decrease in lactase activity.

The adverse effects of a lactose intolerance is usually caused by a higher-than-usual level of milk consumption. While it may be unpleasant, it does not present a severe threat to the human health, and can be managed by minimizing the occurrence and severity of symptoms. According to the US National Institute of Health, "Dietary control of lactose intolerance depends on people learning, through trial and error, how much lactose they can handle".

As with other types of allergies, for many people their allergic reactions to milk or their lactose intolerance are difficult to tolerate without treatment. A growing number of these same people are tired of the drugs and shots that provide only temporary relief and unwanted side effects.

As noted above, new methods for testing and evaluation have allowed allergy sufferers to avoid common over-the-counter and prescription drugs and invasive methods (shots) that provide short-term relief from various food allergies. Some have learned that, too often, the side effects are as bad as the symptoms themselves, if not worse!

A natural allergy relief approach is a real alternative that will help many. In most cases, such an approach promotes a holistic healing effect for the healthy functioning of the Digestive System and the Immune System. When these systems work more efficiently, your body no longer responds to the allergens that produce symptoms (the aches and pains and rashes), that cause so much misery.

Natural allergy relief products and services are very effective, and most importantly for many people, they produce no harmful side effects. It is why such an approach is becoming much more popular everyday.

Source by Dr.

How To Tell If Your Baby Is Lactose Intolerant

If your baby is lactose intolerant it means he can not digest the sugar in milk – where as if he were allergic to milk he would have had a reaction to the protein.

Lactose is present in almost all kinds of milk – even breast milk has 7% lactose. Mothers who are lactose intolerant are likely to have babies who are lactose intolerant. Many infant formulas also contain milk ingredients and you should pay attention to the label. Even Lactose-Free formula has a low dosage of lactose and, although doctors will tell you it is too low to cause any reaction, my own baby could not digest it.

So how can you tell if your baby is lactose intolerant? The most commons signs include lots of gas, bubbles, burps, and flatulence following feeding. My son used to cry in high pitch voice and would almost always have smelly diarrhea after feeding.

This does not necessarily mean your baby is lactose intolerant. You still need to follow a process of elimination to narrow down the cause of the symptoms.

  1. Try different bottles until you are sure its gas is not bottle related.
  2. Try a different formula – there is a difference in ingredients between them and he might be able to better digest another version.
  3. If no change occurs, switch to lactose-free formula.
  4. If all else fails, switch to soy formula.

If you reached this point then can almost safely assume that your baby is indeed lactose intolerant. I would still recommend that you ask your doctor for intolerance test to be absolutely sure.

I left the soy formula as last resort even though, as I mentioned, lactose-free formulas are not really lactose free. Many studies have shown that the use of soy formula, especially with boys, can delay the onset of puberty because of the high levels of estrogen present. I do not allow my sons to eat soy products at all, but since I could not breast feed, and they could not tolerate the lactose-free formulas, I had to give them the soy version.

Once you switch to non-lactose formula you will notice immediately change in the baby's reaction: no more gas (at least back to normal levels) and the stool will be solid and less smelly. A word of warning though: soy-based formulas tend to be smelly too, but in a different kind of odor …

If you suspect that your baby has difficulty digesting lactose, follow through the process of elimination before you reach the final conclusion of lactose intolerance. What ever you do, medical guidance is always recommended.

Source by Michal Bartov

The Difference Between an Allergy, Intolerance, and Sensitivity

Many of us think we suffer from symptoms of food allergies – but in some cases, we do not actually have an allergy but a sensitivity or intolerance. We often hear these words thrown around, such as lactose-intolerance or gluten sensitivity, but let's explore the difference between these three responses to food: allergy, sensitivity, and intolerance.

Once we understand the difference between these three types of problematic reactions to food, then we can look at how to test for food allergies. How may the ALCAT test, for example, help identify common food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances?

What's an allergy?

An allergy is the propensity in the body of an otherwise healthy person to have an adverse reaction – releasing histamine and other chemicals – via IgE-primed mast cells, when a substance (allergen) is sensed that is not typically dangerous to the body.

Symptoms of food allergies can include such responses as anaphylaxis, rash or hives, shortness of breath, or nausea. According to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the eight most common food allergies "account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat."

What's an intolerance?

Intolerance is the inability of the body to digest a certain food because the person's body does not possess the enzymes required to process the food. In the case of milk, for instance, often people are not technically allergic to dairy but are lactose-intolerant, meaning they can not break down that component of milk. Usually lactose is consumed by bacteria in the large intestine, but this is not proper digestion and results in pain, bloating, gas, and other symptoms.

What's a sensitivity?

A food sensitivity is the least medically understood of the three types of reactions. A sensitivity is a more unpredictable physical reaction to a certain food. The IFT states that sensitivity reactions are often sporadic and inconsistent – confusing medical scientists. Above all, sensitivities can not, by definition, involve IgE-primed mast cells; indicators of allergies.

How to test for food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities

A medical test such as an ALCAT test can help determine what types of food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities an individual might have. Cell Science Systems is the corporation behind the ALCAT test, which according to the Alcat company website has been available for over 25 years and tests for 350+ herbs, chemicals, and foods.

Reducing pain associated with foods

Many people experiencing chronic pain are unaware that their pain is in whole or part diet-induced. Here is an overview of our pain management diet recommendations regarding pain produced through food choices, as well as a number of supplements that can help. If you are in pain, we can provide guidance on nutrition, along with integrative therapy solutions to manage your pain and help you enjoy a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

Source by Timothy Dembowski

Lactose Intolerance – Soothing Ideas

When you drink a glass of milk do you suffer from feeling bloated and are full of wind? If you swallow ice cream do you hear high-pitch rumblings in your stomach? After a night out do you decide to call for a pizza pizza and then find out over the next few days that you have develop diarrhea in abundant quantities. If you do, you are most likely lactose intolerance. This means that your small intestine does not supply enough lactose. This is the enzyme you need to absorb natural sugar found in dairy products.

Except for those of northern European origin, most of the population gets some form of lactose intolerance by the time they reach twenty. It is calculated that as many as 30 million adult Americans have a certain form of intolerance to lactose.

The first thing you need to do is find out how intolerant you are to lactose. You need to reduce your intake of dairy produce until the symptoms disappear. This can be worked out by drinking milk until you find what your intolerance is. Some feel the effect after drinking a couple of pints of milk others after a glass.

You need a daily intake of calcium equivalent to 2 glass of milk and dairy products are a major source. If milk is having a bad effect you will have to look to other alternatives to get your daily supply. Good resources for calcium are sardines with bones and spinach or broccoli. Another way of obtaining your requirement is calcium supplements. Lactase enzymes pills and lactase treated milk are other ways of your body getting what it needs.

If you eat food while drinking milk it may lead to you finding a cure to your lactose intolerance. Another way that might give you an answer to your intolerance is to feed yourself small amounts of milk products, increasing your daily amount gradually to build up your resistance to lactose.

The organisms that produce yogurt also contain lactase to digest lactose. Most people with lactose intolerance are not acute sufferers and the bacteria in yogurt will help to break down the lactose so that you can tolerate yogurt without any adverse results. Yogurt has three quarters less lactose content to an equal amount of milk. This difference may be all you need to tolerate lactose.

Tips on eating yogurt:

1. Choose regular not frozen

2. Choose non-fat over fat

3. Eat it every day

4. Eat it before you eat ice cream

Another way of getting you daily intake of calcium is to add a liquid lactase enzyme to your milk. The only problem with this is adding the right amount you require. This will be a case of experimenting to acquire your required daily need. If you like it, buttermilk should be tolerable to most people, it also has less fat and cholesterol than you get in semi-skimmed milk. Alternately cheese is another way of you getting you calcium requirement. Extra matured cheeses like cheddar cheese have only a trace of lactose and are lessiable to cause digestive upset.

Source by Mark Ian Wood

Lactose Intolerance During Pregnancy

Calcium becomes especially important during pregnancy for the mother and her growing fetus. However some women are not able to ingest and digest milk for several reasons. In some cases the problem is not about taste. Milk can leave a gassy feeling and in the more severe situation, intense cramping and even diarrhea can occur. Repeat episodes of this means that she is lactose-intolerant. Lactose intolerance happens when there is an inadequate supply of the enzyme lactase required to digest lactose or milk sugar. In such cases milk does little good to the body, anyway.

The degree of intolerance varies; some people are able to handle a glass of milk without any complaints while others cannot even manage a sip. If you are lactose intolerant or if you can’t stomach the idea of four glasses of milk each day or simply find the taste of milk deplorable then there are alternatives to getting your calcium supply. You can find ways and means to deal with the problem without suffering stomach upsets.

1. Eat or drink dairy products in small portions a few times in the day instead of larger portions in one sitting. For example try drinking only half a glass of milk, or eat a thin slice of cheese or ¼ cup of grated cheese at one time.

2. Lactose is easier to digest when mixed with other foods, in particular high-fiber foods such as whole grains or cereals. So have your cereals with milk or eat your whole-meal bread with cheese.

3. Have your calcium as a cup of yoghurt or buttermilk, or in blends such as smoothies, soups, dips, desserts etc. Active cultures found in yogurt, known as acidophilus help break down lactose without the aid of supplements

4. Look for lactose-free calcium fortified milk at the supermarket

5. The closer a dairy product is to milk, the more likely it is to upset your stomach. Aged cheese such as cheddar, Parmesan and Swiss may be easier on your stomach because more than half the lactose is removed during processing.

6. Read labels carefully. If milk in any form, even the lactose-reduced version is upsetting, stay away from dairy-based foods.

7. Calcium comes in non-dairy forms: juices, especially those fortified with calcium, canned fish with bones such as salmon and sardines, tofu, greens, broccoli and calcium-enriched soy milk and cheese are good examples.

8. Milk is a major source of vitamin D. If drinking milk is a problem, you will need to try other methods to get this nutrient. A few minutes each day in the sun will help; avoid peak hours since your pregnant skin is more sensitive now. Take a supplement that contains vitamin D, eat enriched cereals and breads and drink vitamin D-enriched soy milk and juice.

9. Take lactase in pill form whenever you eat or drink a dairy product. Check with your doctor on this.

10. Regardless of all this if your calcium supply is still lacking, ask your doctor to prescribe a calcium supplement that won’t offend your pregnant tummy.

Source by Jyoti Bedi

Am I Having Lactose Intolerance Symptoms?

Am I lactose intolerant? If you have ever suffered some of the most common lactose intolerance problems, you could find yourself contemplating that question. Interestingly, this intolerance can show up for a selection of different reasons and those indications do not invariably necessarily mean milk intolerance.

Before you can respond to the mystery of "Am I lactose intolerant", you should first reply to the query of "What is lactose intolerance". Dairy intolerance is actually a sickness in which the body can not turn out enough of the enzyme lactase. Lactase is an enzyme which reduces lactose within your body. It is located in the small intestine. Here, in the good body, all lactose is normally separated while in the small intestine and never makes it to the large intestine.

In the human body that has developed a dairy products intolerance, there is not enough lactase inside the small intestine to appropriately break down the lactose. Consequently, the lactose passes on to the large intestine, where the lactose intolerance warning signs develop. These signs and symptoms can sometimes include belly pain, flatulence, bloatedness, diarrhea, and in more uncommon cases, queasiness.

If you experience these dairy-intolerant warning signs once after drinking dairy products, that does not mean you have got a milk intolerance. In cases where you really have lactose complications, these difficulties may be expected each and every time or nearly every time that milk is ingested.

If you think you're milk intolerant, there are various tests that a medical doctor could do to discover, definitely. There is a blood test, a breath analysis, and a stool examination. Typically, the stool test is employed for kids and babies who might not be able to take the lactose that would be used in the body for the first two exams.

After it is determined you are lactose intolerant, there is no cure for this, yet. But, there are numerous things that can be done to combat the warning signs. Some individuals can certainly stop the lactose-intolerant, simply by steering clear of whole milk or decreasing the volume of dairy they take in. These people can find other alternatives and generate a lactose-intolerant eating routine. For many, this is not always a sufficient solution.

In addition there are over-the-counter lactose tolerance pills. These capsules provide the enzyme lactase, that the body is lacking. Many persons are capable of taking these kinds of lactose pills prioring they would like to consume milk and find that the lactose tablets are generally a viable alternative. These kinds of lactose pills are commonly for sale in lots of retailers as well as online.

Regretfully, this difficulty of lactose intolerance is not just a difficulty meant for older people. Several infants and toddlers are increasingly being identified as having this lactose intolerance condition. The non-dairy dieting methods may help with toddlers and infants, too. Right now there are generally formulas that do not come with lactose. Also, several of the corporations which make the supplements also produce drops. These kinds of drops could be included in entire containers of whole milk, which help the lactose in that milk digestible for many who exhibit these symptoms.

Overall, if you discover that you do have dairy intolerance, it's something you can deal with. Whether you control it by non-dairy dieting tactics, options to dairy products, or over-the-counter medications, this disorder does not have to control your life.

Source by Angela Michelle Rogers

Milk Allergy is Not Lactose Intolerance

Food allergies come in many forms but the one that seems to manifest earliest is a milk allergy. This is because it is usually associated with infants and babies. When many people hear the term milk allergy they associate it with lactose intolerance. The confusion is understandable but the allergen or trigger for each of these problems is very different.

Allergies can start through your life. I did not start having allergies to pollen until I was in my thirties. Others may have allergies start right out of the gate as infants. Although some pediatricians tell you that allergies to things like milk can be outgrown the jury is still out on how true that is. Some suspect that allergies that are "outgrown" may actually just change in the sense that the symptoms may be less intense or different all together. Although a milk allergy is associated with childhood and infancy plenty of adults suffer as well.

Milk Allergy versus Lactose Intolerance

A true milk allergy is triggered by the protein in cow's milk or any other type of dairy. A lactose intolerance is a reaction to the milk sugar lactose. Someone who is lactose intolerant has a problem with the level of an enzyme called lactase which is required to "digest" the milk sugar lactose. This deficiency or absence happens usually after 5 years of age so someone who was fine drinking milk may suddenly start having this intolerance.

An allergy involves the response of the body's immune system. The immune system is involved in causing the symptoms of a milk allergy while the symptoms of a lactose intolerance are typically gastrointestinal in nature.

Milk Allergy and Babies

As a mother of two I know what a terrifying and confusing time it is when your baby is sick. I was advised before giving birth that breastfeeding would help not only avoid an allergy but also keeping the baby healthy in general. My experience with my firstborn led me to believe that the doctors and nurseries were right. My daughter did not develop any milk allergy type symptoms and rarely got sick.

Unlike my daughter though my son who I also breast fed for his first year did develop symptoms like ear infections, asthma and eczema that indicate allergies. He also developed a diarriba at a certain point that led to an investigation into possible celiac disease. So bottom line you just do not know. Every baby is different and the amount of time they are breast fed can delay the onset of these symptoms like it did for my son.

Since milk allergies usually occur in infancy you may be wondering what are some of the symptoms of milk allergy in newborns. Here are some symptoms that can indicate a milk allergy:

  • Chronic Runny Nose
  • Coughing
  • Ear Infections
  • Colic
  • Rash
  • Eczema
  • Diarrhea
  • Recurring Colds

The best thing to do when you suspect this type of allergy is to consult with your doctor. Whether you are young, old or have a baby that seems to be reacting badly to milk. Only a doctor will be able to confirm your suspensions.

Whether you have a milk allergy or are lactose intolerant you will have to manage your intake of dairy products for the rest of your life. Some peoples reactions may be stronger than others so their approach might be different. Since there is currently no cure for this allergy you will most likely be advised to eliminate dairy products from your diet. Keep in mind that you will have to learn to identify milk proteins on ingredient lists. Your allergist can provide you with a list. With all this knowledge you will be able to live more comfortably with a milk allergy.

Source by Marilyn Franklin

All About Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is becoming much more of a household phrase these days. For those who have not thought about it much or never had a reason to look into it, this is a basic guide to what it is, what some of the most common intolerances are, and some other related information.

Food intolerances can come from a variety of sources. For example, some people can not tolerate citrus fruits or other acidic foods. The food intolerances that trouble most people are chemicals (such as aspartame or preservatives), natural compounds (like caffeine), wheat and gluten, and, of course, lactose.

Sometimes it's hard to distinguish a food intolerance from a food allergy. Their symptoms can be quite similar, but actually they are completely different bodily responses. A food intolerance is a digestive system problem.

If you have a food intolerance, you may experience headaches, gastrointestinal problems, or weight gain. (Wine, cheese and chocolate are notorious headache causers.) Gastrointestinal issues can include gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, which are sometimes mistaken for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. You may also have allergy-like symptoms such as runny nose, hives, or difficult breathing.

Lactose intolerance is one of the most common things people suffer from. It is caused by a deficiency of the lactase enzyme. Instead of digesting lactose normally, people with too little lactase can not process milk sugars properly. When they consume dairy products, the result is fatigue, nausea, and a host of other digestive problems such as gas and bloating.

How serious is lactose intolerance? Children younger than two are especially susceptible to it. These children often need a special non-dairy formula to ensure proper nutrition. Most adults with lactose intolerance (5% of all adults in Ireland and the UK) can tolerate a tiny amount of dairy in their diets. Others can tolerate none at all.

Although more rare, foods that contain artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavor enhancers, and colors sometimes trigger painful symptoms in people with an intolerance to such substances.

Another very common intolerance is wheat or gluten intolerance. (Gluten is a protein found in wheat.) These conditions have gotten a lot of press lately, and for good reason: gluten intolerance, also called celiac disease in its most serious form, has been linked to behavioral problems, weight gain, and even autism.

Celiac disease is an incurable condition that causes the immune system to attack a person's own body. In this case, the autoimmune response is triggered by eating foods that contain gluten. Celiac disease can cause all of the symptoms of food intolerance, plus stunted growth and skin conditions. Left unchecked, it can ever cause bone disease, anemia, and even cancer.

Unfortunately, gluten is found in all wheat products, and even in some products made from barley, rye, and oats. That means that people with gluten intolerance need to avoid certain alcohol, like beer. Wheat can also be found in unexpected places. It's often used as a filler in ground meat and sausage.

There are many gluten-free and wheat-free breads, pastas, and cereals – but they're not created equal. Just because a product is gluten-free does not necessitously mean it's safe for people with wheat intolerance. Gluten-free products can contain other wheat substances. Likewise, wheat-free products might contain barley, rye, or oats.

Basically, people who suffer from a gluten intolerance must become very good label readers!

If you suspect wheat, gluten, or any other intolerance, speak with your doctor as soon as you can. They will make a firm diagnosis and give you dietary guidelines to follow.

There is a great food intolerance test on the market that I would recommend to anyone who thinks they may be affected by one or several food products. It takes the guesswork out of figuring out what is causing the problem.


If you find out you do have an intolerance, seek nutrition guidance, as when patients attempt to cut out the offending food group, it can cause malnourishment. For example, some people avoid dairy products altogether because of their lactose intolerance. Without a good substitute, they risk calcium deficiency.

Source by Kimberly A Buchanan

Is not Lactose Intolerance Forever?

According to current medical belief, lactose intolerance is a permanent condition. There is a whole industry built around products without dairy and milk products that are lactose free. Even on EzineArticles, there are dozens of articles encouraging people who are obliged to do so, that living without dairy is not the end of life. On Amazon, you can find many dairy-free cookbooks, as well as suggestions in books on health and nutrition on how to live without milk. But lactose intolerance being a permanent condition just is not my clinical experience. And I'm not alone.

There are over 11,000 healthcare practitioners including medical doctors, who utilize the NAET approach for allergy elimination. It is a holistic procedure to reprogram the body naturally, so that it does not react to food allergens. And most NAET practitioners have similar results to mine with milk allergies. Does the NAET technique alter a person's DNA? That remains to be seen. I've had patients who had a blood test, indicating that they had an allergy to casein, the protein in milk or just a milk allergy. After their NAET treatments were completed, I would often have them wait six months to have a follow-up blood test. The blood tests often showed no allergy to casein or milk. Sometimes the allergy did show, but not as strong. I think this happens because some people take a longer time to heal on a cellular level.

Doris Rapp, MD who is a pioneer in food allergies, wrote a New York bestseller entitled, Is This Your Child? In it, she stated that she has been desensitizing children with food allergies for over 30 years with homeopathy. So, there are various approaches out there to neutralize a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. A 51 year-old African-American woman who was lactose intolerant her entitlement life, came to my office. She enjoyed cheese once in a while but there was always noticeable discomfort after consuming any dairy product, cheese included. To her delight, I shared with her that reprogramming the body to tolerate dairy without any consensus was something I did on a regular basis. The patient appeared eager to eliminate her lactose intolerance. After a few sessions, she could tolerate milk, yogurt, chocolate, ice cream and pizza, without any reactions or noticeable symptoms.

My intention is not to promote a technique, but to share with readers that what a commonly held belief, may not be true. Lactose intolerance does not have to be forever. You can be cured for lactose intolerance. You can have ice cream and pizza without experiencing symptoms. There are approximately 50 million Americans that experience a symptom due to dairy. Recently in USA Today, there was an article entitled, Sixty Percent of Adults Can not Digest Milk! But the article includes the entire world and compares different cultures, not only Americans.

People often do not realize that 50% of all food reactions happen in a delayed-sunset manner. That is, if you are dairy sensitive, the symptoms may not appear until 4, 10, 18 hours later. The symptoms most linked to dairy sensitivity are eczema, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, weight gain, cramps, congestion and ear infections. I often treat toddlers and infants for lactose intolerance. I can not influence a baby. I can not make a baby believe me. The success in eliminating their allergic symptom indicates that the treatment is not a placebo or manipulation of some sort, but that the bioenergetic process simply works.

Source by Mike Greenberg

Allergies, Sensitivities and Intolerances: What’s the Difference?

Did you know that only 4-5% of the adult US population has true allergies? Although many people suspect they are allergic to something, it is more likely that what they are suffering from is an intolerance or a sensitivity. The distinction may not seem important, but knowing the difference, especially for severe reactions, can be critical. True food allergies can be life-threatening, while feeling unwell, bloated and having digestive problems as much as a day after you have eaten something that your body can’t tolerate could be preventing you from losing weight or having the energy you would like to have, but will not send you to the emergency room.

Allergies to tree nuts and shellfish have been known to cause such severe allergic reactions that death can result from merely kissing someone who has recently eaten the offending food or from touching a table that hasn’t been cleaned thoroughly. This has resulted in “nut-free” classrooms, federal regulations on food labeling and some restaurants catering to those with allergies. One significant characteristic of a food allergy is that the onset of symptoms is immediate and with some allergies such as peanuts or bee stings the allergic reaction may get worse with each exposure. Anaphylactic shock can cause death if not treated quickly with an Epi-pen or similar medication to counter the reaction. Other, sometimes severe, symptoms include wheezing, asthma and hives.

An intolerance to food, a food additive, environmental chemical, antibiotics or mold may not cause a reaction for hours or even days, but when the body tries to process the substance symptoms show up. It is not life-threatening but can be very uncomfortable. Up to 80-90% of Americans suffer from food intolerances and most are not aware of it. Two food intolerances that most people have heard of are lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance. With a lactose intolerance, the body does not produce enough, or even any, lactase, the enzyme that breaks down the lactose found in dairy products. This intolerance usually develops over time so adults may not have any reaction to milk products until they are in the 40s. A gluten intolerance is the inability to process gluten, a component of many foods such as wheat, rye and barley and is found in many processed foods. The increased awareness of gluten intolerance has caused many food companies to begin producing gluten free foods. An intolerance may cause symptoms such as weight gain, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, excess gas, bloating and swelling of some body parts, such as hands or feet. It is important to distinguish between a gluten intolerance, a gluten allergy or Celiac disease, an auto-immune disease in which the body reacts similar to an allergy and can cause weight loss.

Allergies cause the immune system to react and many are less severe than the peanut allergies or bee sting allergies. Pollen and other allergies can be mild and respond well to antihistamines which reduce the body’s immune response to the trigger. The level of reaction varies from person to person, but one key factor in identifying an allergy is that a specific person’s reaction is the same every time they are exposed to that allergen, regardless of the amount. Intolerances do not provoke an immune response but cause discomfort and health problems because the body can’t process that substance, be it gluten, preservatives found in many foods, or certain antibiotics, molds or environmental chemicals. The reaction to an intolerance varies from person to person, but also varies depending on how much of the substance the person is exposed to. Some people with gluten intolerance can ingest a small amount and not have a reaction, resulting in different levels of intolerance and different ways people should handle the intolerance. Sensitivities are less well understood and generally cause symptoms such as acid reflux, nausea or abdominal cramps but, as with intolerances, do not involve the immune system. Someone’s reaction to a particular substance is also dependent on the amount of the substance and may vary from situation to situation.

The increase in those with allergies has been researched and documented, specifically in children, giving rise to the change in lunch menus and cafeteria rules. Although it is possible to work with your allergist to slowly lower your reaction to an allergen with immunotherapy, it is frequently not used for severe allergies. Allergy shots, especially for environmental toxins that are hard to avoid, such as pollen, have been used for years and been shown to reduce allergic reactions over time. Research is being done to find ways to build resistance to allergens, but there is still a lot of work to do for severe allergies. For some severe allergies it is best to completely avoid the allergen.

Intolerances have been recognized for decades but it has taken time to help those who suffer and to recognize the range of substances that can cause a reaction. People may not link the frequent, or even constant, bloating and discomfort that they feel to their diet for quite some time because the reaction isn’t immediate. Drinking a milkshake, when you’ve done it all your life, and then having sudden intestinal issues that night or the next day may take some time to connect back to the milkshake.

Testing for both allergies and intolerances or sensitivities has come a long way. Keeping a food and symptom diary and getting tested can provide a path to wellness since most reactions are due to intolerances that are causing the discomfort. Allergy testing no longer requires multiple skin pricks but can be done with one simple blood draw that measures the immune system’s reaction to specific allergens. Testing for intolerances or sensitivities to food and environmental substances can also be done with a simple blood test that will let people know which foods they should avoid completely and which to reduce in their diet. Eliminating factors that are causing bloating and inflammation can relieve symptoms and lead to feeling healthy and energetic. Better health may only be a blood test away!

Source by Maureen Young

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