This post contains an advertisement feature. However the personal circumstances described are accurate.
As a food lover with a particular penchant for cheese and anything involving chocolate, I was dismayed to discover recently that my long held suspicion of an issue with dairy was proved to be true.
In my case I discovered that I had an intolerance to dairy (rather than an allergy). Particularly cows milk, but also to a lesser degree, eggs. Another item that was high on the reactivity list was wheat. As someone who’s go to weekend breakfast would involve a large portion of scrambled egg and toast with lots of butter this was a bit of a blow!
I’m also a lifelong chronic allergy sufferer, something which I take prescribed medication for. However my allergies are specific to some animals and pollen. If you think you may be an allergy sufferer you can always go to your GP. Alternatively, particularly in the current climate, you may prefer to start with the use a home allergy test such as this one from Klarify.
An allergy or intolerance?
So, what exactly is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance? When you have an allergy, it’s your immune system which causes a reaction. With a food intolerance, it’s your digestive system that triggers a reaction.
Generally a reaction from an intolerance is likely to be much less severe than an allergy. In some cases an allergy could be potentially life threatening.
Home allergy blood testing can be the first step to identifying if you have a potential allergy. It can identify which potential allergens you may be allergic to. Only a GP will be able to connect your symptoms and medical history to give a diagnosis of the suspected allergy.
What does the test involve?
Allergy testing will detect immunoglobin E (IgE), which is an antibody produced by the immune system. With a home allergy test you are usually required to take a small blood sample, using a skin prick, and then send the sample back to the lab for testing. You can find more information on the allergy testing process here.
Is it worth taking a test?
If you have a medical professional diagnose you with a food allergy then I would assume the advice would be to completely avoid the offending item. In my case I have an intolerance which results in a number of minor reactions. Which while unpleasant, I certainly wouldn’t describe as severe.
Having said that, since I took my intolerance test, I’ve been doing my best to cut out the identified offending foods. And there is no doubt I feel much better for it and will continue to avoid those foods or at worst significantly limit my intake. I’ve also discovered a huge range of dairy alternatives (some which are great and some not so great! ) which is an ever growing market.
If you suspect you may suffer from an undiagnosed allergy it’s always best to visit a GP, particularly if you are suffering from a serious reaction. However if you are having mild reactions which you are unable to identify the cause of then a home test may be a good first step.