Reactions to Food

Food-mediated inflammatory reactions trigger the release of mediators such as cytokines, prostaglandins, macrophages, and others. These mediators determine the magnitude of symptoms suffered during the response. The mediators arise from a myriad of leucocytes (white blood cells), including neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, and lymphocytes. The mediators also determine whether the resulting reactions are controlled by the innate immune system or adaptive immune system and whether their mediation is cell-mediated or humoral. The immune system is categorized by five distinct antibodies: IgE, IgM, IgG, IgA, and IgD. The immunoglobulin G group (IgG) represent about 80% of the antibodies found in the blood. IgG is responsible for most food sensitivity reactions. Reaction to food can either be any of these three categories:

Food allergy

Autoimmune reaction

Food sensitivity

FOOD ALLERGY This is also known as Type I Hypersensitivity reaction. Food allergy is a severe health condition associated with IgE antibodies. Food allergy can practically be triggered by any food, even in the smallest quantity. There is a rapid mast cell reaction causing an increased release of histamine and several other protein cytokines. This further produces an immediate hypersensitivity reaction. Food allergy symptoms appear rapidly and can be seen as diarrhea, vomiting, skin rashes, swelling of the lips and throat, rapid drop in blood pressure, dyspnea, and anaphylaxis.

FOOD SENSITIVITY This is known as Type III hypersensitivity reaction. Food sensitivity is a delayed reaction that may take weeks or months to develop after consuming the offensive food. If a reactive food is consumed, antibodies will form complexes with the food protein antigens. Typically, these immune complexes are soon eliminated by macrophages of the immune system. However, if any of these complexes are produced and not destroyed, the remaining immune complexes would penetrate various body tissues. This would result in multiple inflammatory responses and IgG related symptoms. IgG-mediated inflammatory responses are long-acting and may take weeks and possibly months to become clinically apparent. Symptoms may persist for many weeks or months, even after the elimination of the offending food. Common symptoms include Gastritis, severe abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea, bronchitis, sinusitis, rhinitis, Itchy skin, headaches, migraines, fatigue, water retention, and weight control problems.

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