Food sensitivities and intolerances differ from food allergies and cause your body to have a completely different set of symptoms. These delayed food immune reactions are highly prevalent, and result in a number of chronic symptoms that people struggle with on a daily basis.

Food intolerance is much more frequent than you think (also known as food sensitivity). To some degree, up to 10 percent of people experience it, yet most do nothing about it.

A food intolerance reaction occurs when an individual's threshold for certain food compounds or chemicals is exceeded, not to be confused with food allergy (which involves the immune system). Symptoms can happen hours after eating the offending food, even days.

 Signs of Food Intolerance:

  1. You run to the bathroom several times a day,
  2. You experience chronic muscle or joint pain that appears to be widespread
  3. Caffeine effects you severely or adversely
  4. After certain meals, you have regular headaches or migraines.
  5. Despite sleeping well, you continually feel drained.
  6. Despite testing negative for celiac disease, you do not tolerate wheat products
  7. You have a thyroid that is underactive (hypothyroidism)
  8. Your stomach is upset by milk and yogurt
  9. Your rheumatoid arthritis keeps getting worse,
  10. You seem to get rashes, eczema or other skin disorders from foods.
  11. You know that you get flatulence from a meal rich in onions or garlic.

Signs of a Food Allergy

A food allergy may be life-threatening, requiring medical treatment immediately. Shellfish, nuts, fish and eggs are the most common allergies to food. Symptoms can vary from mild to serious and include:

Hives or Rash

Nausea and sickness

Cramping or pain in your stomach

Diarrheal Infection

Swelling and Inflammation

Shortness of breath or breathing difficulty

An allergy can be confirmed by skin or blood tests. Contact your doctor if you believe you have a food allergy.

In contrast, food allergy is a digestive problem. Since your digestion naturally becomes slower and the enzymes needed to digest food naturally slow down production with aging, they will occur more frequently the older you get. Slower digestion leads to fermentation in the bowel, which leads to problems like upset stomach.

Sulfites contained in wine, dried fruits, and canned products, or the flavoring/meat tenderizer  MSG, (which is often found in Chinese foods, and junk foods such as chips) can also make us  more susceptible to a specific chemical or food additive causing us issues.

The most common sensitivities to food are caused by lactose and gluten. Your body is unable to digest lactose in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and ice cream if you suffer from lactose intolerance, because your gut does not contain enough of the digestive enzyme lactase to do the job.

Gluten-sensitive people have difficulty digesting a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, called “gluten”. (Gluten sensitivity is distinctly different from celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder in which the lining of the small intestine is weakened and damaged by any gluten intake. You need to see a doctor or nutritionist for following a diet free of gluten if you suffer from Celiac’s disease.)

Food sensitivity symptoms can mirror food allergy symptoms in a lot of ways, such as nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. However, they can also include other serious complications, such as vomiting, “heartburn” (acid reflux), headaches, and psychological issues like nervousness or irritability.

Next Health now offers home testing kits to determine if you may have a food sensitivity. The Food Sensitivity Test checks your response to 96 foods that are commonly reactive, providing insight into which foods may contribute to inflammation and sub-optimal health and well-being.

You will be contacted to arrange a blood-draw upon purchasing & completing your Patient Intake Form. This blood drawing is done on-site in either West Hollywood or Century City.

Author's Bio: 

Marina Pal is a renowned author and social media enthusiast.