The Symptoms of Food Allergy

Overview

Food allergies are atypical immune reactions to proteins in certain specific foods. Although this should not happen, the body reacts to these foods as though they are harmful pathogens.

Because the immune system is tasked with protecting the body, it responds to these wrongly perceived threats by initiating a series of protective mechanisms, one of which is the release of the chemical substance called histamine. Histamine in turn causes what is known as inflammation. These protective mechanisms are responsible for the symptoms that are seen in response to a food allergy reaction.

Food allergies should not be confused with food intolerance, which is usually characterized by the inability of a person to digest certain foods due to an enzyme deficiency and not because of an immunological response.

Food allergies are believed to affect 2.5 percent of the general world population [1], with varying degrees of severity ranging from mild to severe.

Symptoms of food allergies usually involve the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory system, the skin, and the cardiovascular system as well.