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Food allergy or food intolerance?

Food allergy or intolerance can refer to multiple immune and non-immune related reactions. The term ‘food allergy’ generally refers to the classic type 1 reaction, for example to peanuts, which can cause a severe, sudden or life threatening response to a food. For children especially, it is important to know if you have this type of food allergy in case an EpiPen should be carried. Your GP or specialist will be able to diagnose common type 1 allergies like nuts or eggs. While we do offer blood testing to detect IgE allergies, ImuPro specialise in testing type 3 allergy, often referred to as a food intolerance. Type 3 allergies are mediated by long acting IgG antibodies, so the symptoms are delayed and often more chronic compared to a type 1 response. 

What both allergies have in common is that the immune system is involved. However, there are some differences in the way it responds. Please note that food intolerances such as lactose intolerance, fructose malabsorption or salicylate intolerance do not involve the immune system so our test is not specific for these. 

Classic IgE food allergy

A classic type I allergy is when the immune system produces specific IgE antibodies (immune globulins of the subclass E). These antibodies lead to an immediate allergic reaction. The symptoms appear within seconds or minutes: severe swelling, breathing difficulty, rash, itching skin or even anaphylactic shock.

Someone who has a type I allergy will most probably know which food is causing problems, because the symptoms appear right away. Therefore, blood testing is not necessarily needed to identify this kind of allergy. IgE tests are mainly performed for confirmation. ImuPro does not detect type I food allergies.

Delayed IgG food allergy, commonly known as food intolerance

A type III food allergy is when the immune system produces specific IgG antibodies (immune globulins of the subclass G). These antibodies can lead to inflammatory processes. The symptoms appear up to three days after the consumption of a trigger food.

It is very difficult to pinpoint which food causes you problems because of the delayed appearance. An IgG test helps to localise and limit the suspects.

With ImuPro you will only have to avoid foods with elevated IgG antibody values. This means that you can maintain a diverse and varied diet and don’t need to restrict yourself unnecessarily. You might need to avoid salmon, for instance, but be able to eat all other fish. After a certain period of avoidance, you may reintroduce one food after the other into your diet and monitor your symptoms. This provocation phase is the crucial step to identify your personal “trigger foods”.

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