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Types of Food Allergies?

Types of Food Allergies
Food Allergy – Introduction and Causes

A food allergy is an abnormal immune response to food. The signs and symptoms may range from mild to severe. They may include itchiness, swelling of the tongue, vomiting, diarrhoea, hives, trouble breathing, or low blood pressure. This typically occurs within minutes to several hours of exposure. When the symptoms are severe, it is known as anaphylaxis. It is caused due to the IgE antibodies reacting atypically by combining to the protein in the ingested food. Food allergies are immediate reactions that occur within half an hour of ingesting the food item.

Food intolerance is a detrimental reaction, often delayed; to a food, beverage, food additive, or compound found in foods that produces symptoms in one or more body organs and systems, but generally refers to reactions other than food allergy. It is caused due to IgG antibodies attaching themselves to food

molecules, instead of any virus or bacteria, and creating a water soluble compound that is carried through the circulation system, and deposits itself in various parts of the body to cause a multitude of delayed reactions. The reaction of this can take up to a few days to start showing. It is also known as non-allergic food hypersensitivity.

P. G. H. Gell and Robin Coombs defined 4 types of food sensitivity in 1963.

1. Type I: also known as Food Allergy. It is mediated by IgG antibodies Fast response which occurs within minutes, rather than multiple hours or days. Testing for this kind of allergy can be done by performing a skin test for specific IgE antibody types.

2. Type II: This type of allergy is also known as Cytotoxic Allergy or Antibody-Dependent Allergy. It is mediated by IgM or IgG antibodies that are present in our blood streams. The IgG or the IgM antibodies bind themselves to an antigen on a target cell. These target cells are host cells that are perceived by the immune system as foreign- virus, bacteria, etc- , leading to cellular destruction.

3. Type III: Immune complex disease is another name for this type of food sensitivity. The mediators for this kind of food sensitivity are IgG antibody and Neutrophils. IgG antibodies bind to soluble antigens. They form an immune complex that is circulated in our system through the blood. This complex is often deposited in the vessel walls of the joints and kidney, initiating a local inflammatory reaction.

4. Type IV: Delayed-type hypersensitivity, cell-mediated immune memory response, antibody-independent allergy are other names for this kind of food sensitivity. It is mediated by T-cells, which are a sub-type of white blood cells. T cells are activated by an antigen presenting cell. When the antigen is ingested again at a future date, the memory of the T-cells will activate macrophages and cause an inflammatory response. This ultimately can lead to tissue damage.


Food Allergy: The symptoms of this kind of allergy are

  • Rash
  • Itching of mouth, lips, tongue, throat, eyes, skin, or other areas
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, eyelids, or the whole face
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Hoarse voice
  • Wheezing and/or shortness of breath
  • Diarrhoea, abdominal pain and/or stomach cramps
  • Light-headedness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Food Sensitivity: The reaction of food sensitivity isn't as immediate as Food allergy, but the symptoms can be more chronic, but less acute and less obvious. Hence, it is more difficult to diagnose. Some of its symptoms are listed below:

  • Symptoms affecting the skin including skin rashes, hives, angioedema, dermatitis, and eczema.
  • Respiratory tract symptoms like nasal congestion, sinusitis, pharyngeal irritations, asthma and an unproductive cough
  • Gastrointestinal tract include mouth ulcers, abdominal cramp, nausea, gas, intermittent diarrhoea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome. Food intolerance has been found associated with; irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, chronic constipation, chronic hepatitis C infection, eczema, NSAID intolerance.

The treatment for all food types of food allergies is the same. An individual needs to avoid foods that trigger an allergic reaction. They should also ensure that they have a plan of action in place, for an off chance where they might be exposed to such foods. Type II allergies and below, might need medication to negate the effects of the symptoms. With regular avoidance of trigger foods, all IgG food sensitivities can be cured permanently.

FMD has launched the 1st IgG allergy testing service in India. People can now get tested for up to 270 food items. They can also get nutritional guidance along with the test results to be able to better avoid the trigger foods, and maintain a balanced diet at the same time.

Contact Information

  • +91 8800929600
  • +91 011-42381323
  • neeraj.arora@cmdsingapore.com

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