We are hearing from more and more people who have food allergies. But what is a food allergy? How to detect it and how to explain it?

We go back to the basics regarding food allergies.

A food allergy corresponds to an immune reaction of the body to an allergen.

By considering a food as harmful, the body will react and defend itself against an allergen. There are multiple reactions: skin rash in the least serious cases, up to so-called anaphylactic shock for the most serious cases. This shock can, if not treated in time, be fatal.

To fully understand allergies, you must start by distinguishing them.

Some food allergies are called IgE-dependent . In this case, the body produces Immunoglobulins E, in other words, antibodies which will fight the allergen considered dangerous for the body.

Certain foods sometimes cause allergic reactions without being dependent on the production of IgE. We then speak of malabsorption. In this case, it is the digestive system which is affected and the food is not assimilated as it should be by the body.

Allergen awareness

A food allergy can be declared when it is absorbed, but some allergies are triggered by simple skin contact.

By considering this food as dangerous, the body will record this information to better recognize it. We then talk about awareness. At this stage, no allergic reaction per se is apparent.

Once the food is known and “spotted” by the body, the allergic reaction will occur when the body is confronted with it again. It is at this stage that the production of IgE antibodies, the most common reaction, takes place.

In general, it is during childhood that a first contact takes place between a food and the body. It sometimes even happens that this first “contact” occurs in the mother’s womb. Breastfeeding can also cause transmission of an allergen. In this case we speak of indirect contamination.

It is also not uncommon to see an allergy develop over time. Indeed, an individual can very well consume a food during a period of his life.

The most common allergies

There are different types of allergies, depending on the food. However, to date, a certain number of allergies are listed. We therefore list the fourteen most common allergies below:

  • Gluten allergy
  • Peanut allergy
  • Milk allergy
  • Egg allergy
  • Nut allergy
  • Shellfish allergy
  • Seafood allergy
  • Mustard allergy
  • Fish allergy
  • Celery allergy
  • Soy allergy
  • Sulphite allergy
  • Sesame allergy
  • Lupine allergy.

There can of course be other allergies.

If your body reacts in an unusual way after ingesting a food, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.

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