Understanding Food Allergies

What is an allergy?
An allergy is a condition where the body has an unusally high immune reaction to a substance that is otherwise harmless to most people. Put simply, an allergy is an abnormal response to a normal substance.
The Immune System
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues and organs working together to defend the body against attacks by foreign invaders (antigens). The antigens enter the lymph nodes where the B-lymphocytes secrete antibodies that attach onto the antigens producing a harmless organism. These are then swallowed and digested by large white cells called phagocytes. Further antibodies are produced and stored in memory for the next attack (clever little suckers)
Types of allergy
The range of allergies is wide and varied including:
Food allergies
Chemical allergies
Mould allergies
Dust allergies
Hair allergies
Geomagnetic allergies
amalgam (dental fillings)
bites/stings
Animal allergies
Drug allergies
Allergies to housework,
Homework and Monday morning allergies
plus many others

The medical professionals say that in order for someone to develop an allergy they would have had to have been exposed to the allergen and become sensitised to it ( I guess exposure through breastmilk is enough to cause so many allergies in a baby).
The body has a natural tolerance level and below this level, even though the allergen may still be having a negative affect on the body, no outward symptoms appear. This is why avoidance is so important as even though there may be no excema on a baby's skin, the child gut may be inflamed causing abdominal pain.

To complicate the allergy jigsaw even further, the level of tolerance varies from substance to substance. A large amount of one substance may be tolerated whereby a mere trace of another substance may be enough to initiate a major reaction.
A combination of substances may produce a severe reaction while individually these substances may produce no reaction at all.
A variety of factors can also contribute to the body exceeding the threshold level such as: immune status, age, nutritional deficiencies, emotional stress, genetic disposition and environmental pollutants.
An allergy usually affects the part of the body which it is exposed to. A food allergy affects the gut while pollen (an airborne allergy) affects eyes, nose and air passages.

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