Food Allergy Defined: What Is It Really?

At the most basic level, a food allergy is an abnormal response to food. The body’s immune system reacts to the food as though it were a threat. The most common type of immune reaction is when the body produces a specific type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).

Immunoglobulin E Explained

When IgE binds to the molecules in a food, an allergic response is triggered. The response varies in magnitude from very mild to severe. Anaphylaxis can cause death, so some reactions can be very serious.

If you have a food allergy, it is important to know what that allergy is as specific as possible and what the possible reactions may be. Working closely with your healthcare provider or allergist will help answer these questions.

First Exposure To Allergen Preps The Body

The first time a person is exposed to the food, no symptoms will occur. But plenty is happening inside the body, preparing for the next exposure.

It is at this time that the body creates specific IgE antibodies to that allergen. They circulate throughout the body and attach to mast cells and basophils.

Mast cells are found in all body tissues, especially the nose, throat, lungs, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Basophils are in the blood and also in tissues that become inflamed during an allergic response.

Second Exposure Triggers Reaction

During the second exposure, the body is ready. The food allergens bind to the IgE antibodies spread throughout the body. The binding then signals the release of massive amounts of histamine.

There will be various symptoms depending on where the histamines are released and in what quantity.

An allergic response can happen in minutes or hours. It can come from ingesting, inhaling or even absorbing the allergen through the skin.

Source: NIAID
Photo: Pixabay

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

You already know that if you or your child has a peanut allergy you need to avoid peanut butter. Some...

There are many reasons why you may want to substitute almond flour for wheat flour in recipes. Of course, if you have a...

Are you looking for peanut-free candies as a special treat for a child with...

Do you have a child with peanut allergies and an upcoming birthday? Perhaps you'd like to bake a...

Most nut butters provide all the same benefits: an easy sandwich spread, a great dip for veggies, a fun addition to a smoothie. But not...

Top Forum Categories

Click on one of the categories below to see all topics and discussions.