July 15, 2014

The Difference Between Food Allergy & Food Intolerance

Food allergies and food intolerance's can have similar symptoms, but are very different conditions. I believe that children who have ADHD have food allergies or intolerance's. These two words can’t be interchanged because they are very different.
My son will often tell people, “I can’t eat that because I’m allergic to wheat” or dairy or soy…whatever it may be. In reality this is NOT true. He’s not allergic to wheat, dairy or soy—he has an intolerance to them. But it’s much easier to say, when you’re at a restaurant or over at someone’s house, “I’m allergic to it that’s why I don’t eat it.” Then there’s no questions asked or a lengthy explanation.

But it’s important to know the difference between the two. Simply put a food allergy can kill you and a food intolerance won’t cause you to die but it can make you very sick and have all different types of reactions—ADHD included.

Here’s a little deeper explanation of the two:
A food allergy is an immune system response. It is caused when the body mistakes an ingredient in food — usually a protein — as harmful and creates a defense system (antibodies) to fight it. An allergic reaction occurs when the antibodies are battling an "invading" food protein. We’ve all heard of people who have eaten a peanut and have died, this is an ALLERGY.

Food intolerance is a digestive system response rather than an immune system response. It occurs when something in food irritates a person’s digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest, or break down, the food. We’ve all heard of people who drink dairy and then have cramps and diarrhea. This is an INTOLERANCE. The dairy won’t cause them to die, but it will make them very sick.

If you read “our story” to the left you will see we had Johnny tested for allergies and nothing really came up (we went to an allergist and they did the scratch test on the back...olive tree pollen was his only reaction out of dozens they did). But when we tested via the blood he had major reactions to everything he was tested for--his doctor was very concerned because she'd never seen so many reactions, that's how bad it was…so we knew his body was having a very hard time and that’s why we were seeing all ADHD symptoms. Here’s the post. Allergy Testing

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