Person collecting finger prick blood sample for food sensitivity testing at home

Food allergy vs. food sensitivity: the differences explained

With increasing interest in physical reaction to foods, many do not understand the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity.

Food allergy

A food allergy is an IgE-mediated immune response that can result in hives or difficulty breathing, and can be life threatening. Common sources of food allergies are nuts, shellfish, and certain fruit. These allergies can be life-threatening and should be managed in conjunction with your healthcare provider.

What is a food allergy?

  • Immediate reaction
  • IgE-mediated immune response
  • Can affect multiple organs
  • Occurs even with the smallest exposure to trigger food
  • Happens every time a trigger food is ingested
  • Potential to be life-threatening

What are food allergy symptoms?

  • Rapid onset of symptoms
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Hives
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Dizziness and/or lightheadedness

Food sensitivity

A food sensitivity is an IgG-mediated immune response that may be associated with unwanted symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and headaches – just to name a few. Our at-home lab testing measures your body’s IgG immune response to 96 foods. Your results rate each food from normal reactivity to high reactivity based upon your body’s IgG immune response to the food. This can help guide a temporary elimination diet with add-back challenge to determine if a food(s) may be connected to an unwanted symptom you are experiencing.

What is food sensitivity?

  • May occur as quickly as one hour or up to 48 hours after trigger food is ingested
  • IgG-mediated immune response
  • Reaction is most commonly isolated to the digestive tract or intestinal inflammation
  • May occur when trigger foods are encountered frequently or in large amounts, but not every time the trigger food is ingested
  • Often overlooked or misdiagnosed

Food sensitivity symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue, feeling tired
  • Feeling bloated
  • Stomach pain
  • Gastrointestinal distress

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