Allergy Vs Intolerance Testing: Understanding The Differences

Food allergies and intolerances are rampant all over the world today. Getting the most accurate food intolerance or allergy test is the best way to determine what foods you need to eliminate from your diet.

Intolerance and allergy tests help you take control of your health by being in control of your diet. However, there is a difference between an intolerance test and an allergy test.

Allergy vs Intolerance Test Understanding the Difference

Allergy and intolerance tests are different from each other, even though they are commonly confused. Food allergies and food intolerances are different conditions. While a food allergy can be life-threatening, food intolerances aren’t.

Food intolerance occurs when your body lacks an enzyme to digest the proteins in specific food you’ve just consumed. Food allergies, on the other hand, trigger your body’s immune system. When you eat something you’re allergic to, your body’s immune system releases antibodies to fight the proteins in that food. It treats that food like it would a virus or bacteria.

Food intolerance symptoms often dwell in the gastrointestinal tract. These include symptoms like diarrhoea, gassiness, stomach pain, and nausea. Food allergy symptoms can, however, be life-threatening because sometimes they can be severe, causing anaphylaxis which is a condition that requires immediate help From the doctor or else one can lose their life.

Food allergy symptoms also often show mere minutes after consuming the trigger food up to a few hours later, However, food intolerance symptoms can show up to 72 hours later upon consuming the trigger food.

When taking an allergy and intolerance test, there is a difference in how both tests work to find foods you need to avoid. Since allergies and intolerances affect the body differently, these tests also look for something different in your blood sample.

The science behind allergy and intolerance tests

Allergy and intolerance testing differs even in its science.

Allergy testing

An Allergy Test kit offers ELISA IgE blood testing. An IgE-mediated reaction is dangerous and involves the body’s immune system. IgE reactions can result from food antigens and can cause reactions all over the body.

IgE antibodies involved when you have an allergic reaction are Type 1 allergies, and these can cause quick immune reactions that occur within a few minutes up to two hours of eating a trigger food.

Your body automatically produces IgE antibodies for specific antigens when you have a food allergy. You’ll find that even though your body produces antibodies to fight off these foreign antigens, non-allergic people can consume the same foods without any issues.

When your body produces antibodies, they bind to IgE-specific receptors. These IgE antibodies are located on chromosome 14. It doesn’t matter whether you inhale or ingest the allergens; they’ll still bind to these receptor cells wrestling in the aggregation of the receptors, which results in mediators like histamines being released into the bloodstream.

So, once you consume, inhale or touch something you’re allergic to, the allergen stimulates your body to release antibodies which attach themselves to mast cells, releasing histamines and other chemicals. These chemicals, like histamines, are what cause allergy symptoms.

Whats the difference between allergy and intolerance testing

Allergy symptoms

These symptoms can vary from person to person, including severity and onset. This means while some people experience anaphylaxis when they eat a specific food, others experience only mild symptoms that can be treated with over-the-counter medications.

Also, some people have allergy symptoms when they ingest the food allergen. However, others experience symptoms 2 hours later. So, these symptoms will vary from one individual to the next, and you will only have specific symptoms, not all the mentioned ones.

Allergy symptoms may include:

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Skin irritations like eczema and rash
  • Swelling of throat and tongue
  • Difficulty breathing

Intolerance testing

An Intolerance Test kit offers an IgG4 ELISA blood test. IgG4 testing is used for food intolerance because this doesn’t include immediate reactions upon contact with triggers or inflammation resulting from chronic disease.

IgG4 testing is more of a preventative screening used to block access of IgE to the allergen. IgG4 testing shows how your immune system reacts to food antigens before you develop an allergy.

In the body, there is a higher concentration of IgG4 than IgE. This IgG4 concentration can be around 10,000 times higher than IgE. IgG4 antibodies are often released into the blood when the allergy is asymptomatic.

IgG4 functions by influencing immune-inflammatory response without influencing the release of histamines. The body releases IgG4 antibodies because of symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea, and all the other food intolerance symptoms. So, when testing for food intolerance, the best way to do it is by investigating IgG antibodies in the blood upon specific food consumption.

Intolerance symptoms

Food intolerance symptoms can vary in severity from one person to the next. You will also notice that people get different symptoms associated with their food intolerance, so not everyone can get the same symptoms.

Symptoms of food intolerance can also increase in severity when you eat more of the food you’re intolerant to. There is only an amount that your body can tolerate, and this varies from person to person.

Final thoughts

Allergy and intolerance testing are tests that test different aspects of your blood. Taking note of your symptoms will help you decide which test you need to take so you can manage your diet better. When you find out you have an allergy or intolerance, you need to be keen on the food you have in your diet to avoid trigger foods.

The UK’s best food intolerance tests will help you be aware of your food intolerances to avoid those specific foods causing your symptoms. The best treatment for food intolerance and allergies is quitting problematic foods. After your intolerance test results, you can talk to a dietitian and get advice on avoiding these foods and managing your diet better.