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A food reaction is an abnormal response in the gastrointestinal (GI) system to food that can occur for a variety of reasons. In some cases, like lactose intolerance, there may not be enough of a particular enzyme to digest a specific food correctly. In other cases, the immune system creates antibodies to proteins in foods. When a food reaction involves the immune system in this way, it is called a food allergy (sometimes referred to as a food sensitivity).
When the immune system reacts to a food, it can lead to inflammation and irritation in the intestine each time the particular food is consumed. Food allergies can range in severity from immediate, sometimes life-threatening reactions (anaphylaxis) to milder symptoms such a gas and bloating. They can also develop as a result of another health condition.
Many food allergies produce minimal symptoms, yet if untreated, the long-term consequences can be astonishing and may involve the development of conditions in many different organ systems. Our Food Allergy Panel tests your saliva for antibodies to four of the most common food allergens.
Food allergies are only present in symptomatic patients. False: Food allergies can be silent in many individuals. The absence of symptoms, however, does not mean that inflammation and damage is not occurring.
Food allergies are simply intestinal irritations. False: Food allergies cause an immune reaction and may contribute to a wide range of symptoms that do not involve the intestine. It is even possible for some patients to experience only symptoms outside of the GI system.