Allergy, Sensitivity, or Intolerance: What's the Difference?
December 18, 2015•9 min
There is much confusion as to what constitutes a true food allergy.Allergy, sensitivity, and intolerance: these are all words that are used to describe the symptoms you may feel after eating a specific food, or even just coming into contact with a certain ingredient.However, there is much confusion as to what constitutes a true allergy. The conventional medical system has a very narrow view of what a food allergy is... essentially limited to an anaphylactic reaction or some other physical manifestation (hives, eczema, asthma). The traditional allergist is only looking for these symptoms, and if they see the presence of those symptoms, then you may be diagnosed as having an allergy. If not, the doctor may send you on your way.That can be frustrating, especially if you're having reactions that fall outside of that very narrow view. Also, immediately life-threatening allergies get a lot of the attention, even though other symptoms that take a daily toll could eventually be just as damaging.The truth is, reactions can take years. For example, you can have delayed symptoms due to gluten. It's not that the immune reaction wasn't always there, it just took time to manifest. Dr. Stephen Wangen, co-founder and Medical Director of the IBS Treatment Center, joins Dr. Susanne to share what the true difference is between a food allergy, sensitivity, and intolerance, as well as how he and his fellow doctors at the IBS Treatment Center take a different approach to treating food-related symptoms.