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Food Sensitivities



Debra is the mother of a 7yo & 4yo, both who have food allergies (including anaphylaxis) & multiple food intolerances. Debra understands how overwhelming it can be when a loved one is first assessed as having food sensitivities, and how difficult it can be to make the adjustment. Soon after food introductions, Debra’s son developed severe eczema, and even after the elimination of all the ‘main culprit’ foods, the eczema still persisted, as his intolerances included the ‘hypo-allergenic’ foods. Debra has also made that heart-wrenching dash to the emergency when her son had his first allergic reaction. It was after this that Debra then looked into what tests could be done on an infant to find out what sensitivities they may have in order to prevent further reactions.

This has led Debra to educate parents to help them recognise food sensitivities, on how they can test & manage the sensitivities, with not only different food choices, but also how they may be able to reduce the likelihood of any reactions.



What is a food allergy:

  • A reaction of the immune system to molecules of food – called allergens. An allergen is a portion of food molecule that the immune system considers foreign to the body.
  • Normally, foreign molecules are removed by antibodies called immunoglobulin A (IgA), which lines our mucous membranes. IgA allows the immune system to remove foreigners before they gain access to body tissues.
  • However, if the foreign moleclues have penetrated further into the body than they would have normally, an IgE or non-IgA immune response occurs.
  • When the IgE comes into contact with foreign molecule it release inflammatory mediators such as histamine, prostaglandins & leukotreins – this is what produces allergic reactions such as rashes, wheezing, sinusitis, watery eyes etc. (Histamine increases the permeability of the capillaries to white blood cells and some proteins, to allow them to engage pathogens in the infected tissues ) (Di Giuseppe, M., et al. (2003). Nelson Biology 12. Toronto: Thomson Canada. p. 473)


What is a food intolerance:

  • Similar to food allergy as the body is reacting to what it considers a foreign molecule, however it is not an immune response. The difference is that the body doesn’t know how to handle the foreigner, so it produces physiological symptoms.
  • Usually an intolerance is the result of the body not managing or digesting a food properly. If the food is not properly managed by digestive system, the food can disrupt the body in a variety of ways – digestive discomfort, headaches, fever, all of which can feel like an allergic reaction.
  • There is an imbalance between the foods makeup and the ability of the body to process and metabolize the food – proteins, sugars or other nutrients that cannot be properly broken down, or a food constituent that the body reacts negatively to. Constituents may cause irritations


Most common symptoms. (if you are or someone you know is suffering from an allergy symptom, seek immediate medical attention)


Food Intolerance Symptoms


  • Irritable bowels
  • Gastritis
  • Ulcers
  • Bladder infections
  • Joint pain
  • Low back pain
  • Migraine
  • Constipation
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression


Food Allergy Symtpoms


  • Anaphylaxis – swelling of airways & organs shutting down
  • Hives -  most common IgE mediated food hypersensitivity
  • Airway constriction
  • Asthma
  • Wheezing
  • Itching
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Shock
  • Weak pulse
  • Swollen tongue
  • Fainting
  • Itchy mouth
  • Drooling
  • Inability to swallow
  • Change in voice quality
  • Itchy throat



Symptoms seen in both Allergies & Intolerances


  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Skin rash
  • Skin eruptions
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Redness
  • Fever / warmth (flushing)


  • Ear infections
  • Headaches (non-migraine)
  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Rhinitis – typically seen along side of other symptoms: eczema, urticaria, oral cavity ruptures, gastro-intestinal problems



There are a number of ways to test for food sensitivities.


–       Food Detective (intolerance)

•        Tests IgG

•        59 common food

•        Quick turn around – test done in clinic, results in approx 1-24 hrs

•        Requires approx 1ml of blood


–       Hair Analysis (intolerance)

•        Tests 400 foods (including specific brand names)

•        Results take approx 2-4 weeks

•        Requires approx 1 tablespoon of uncoloured hair


–       Pathology Testing (intolerance & allergy)

•        Tests IgG & some IgE

•        10 foods – 300 foods

•        Need to get a referral, go to Pathology lab to have blood drawn

•        Results take approx 4 weeks


–       RAST Test (allergy)

•        Tests IgE

•        Must be done by an Immunologist

•        Skin prick with selected allergens

•        Results take about 10-20mins




Please call Debra to discuss food sensitivity testing options and to book an appointment for testing and management plans.


0409 200 774







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