November 09, 2021 2 min read

Among the most common conditions in the entire world, affecting hundreds of millions of people around the globe, food allergies can be both frustrating and complicated. Did you know, though, that it's possible to test for food sensitivity and related issues well before you ever experience an annoying or even dangerous food allergy?

At Pinnacle Biolabs, we're proud to offer a quality at-home food sensitivity and intolerance test that covers numerous food types -- over 200, in fact. If you're just learning about new food allergies, it pays to have a basic knowledge in this area before you jump into at-home testing and other basic concepts. Here's a primer on what food allergies really are, the differences between allergies and intolerances, and how both can be tested for.

Food Allergy Basics

To understand how food allergies work, you really just need to know a few things about the human immune system. Essentially, this system is wired to detect potentially harmful substances or invaders and defend the body against them. In a typical immune response, white blood cells wage war with molecules associated with these invaders – called antigens – that bind to special receptors found on most cells of your body, including those in the digestive tract.

In some people, however, the body sees certain food groups or types as invaders, and tries to defend against them. Common food allergies include items like peanuts, milk, soy, eggs or others, but there are also rarer types that span the entire spectrum of foods.

And when someone experiences a food allergy, their symptoms may range widely, including the following:

  • Stomach pains and diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hives, rashes or other skin conditions
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue or throat
  • Wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing
  • Anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction

If you or a loved one experiences any of these reactions after eating a certain food, there may be an allergy at play and you should consider testing or further research.

Food Allergies Vs Food Intolerance

A food intolerance, on the other hand, is a slightly less risky condition that affects millions of people around the world. Unlike an allergy, intolerance does not involve the immune system, which is why it's sometimes called a "sensitivity."

People with food intolerances may experience some of the same symptoms as those who have food allergies, but generally to a lesser degree. Intolerances almost never lead to life-threatening issues, while allergies can. However, food intolerances will often lead to significant discomfort when consuming the food in question.

Testing Methods

Luckily, both food allergies and food intolerances can be tested for, avoiding the risk of simply finding out you have a serious allergy or intolerance when consuming the food itself. Food allergy and intolerance tests come in a few forms, including both skin-prick and full blood tests.

To learn about our food sensitivity and intolerance tests and related services, contact the pros at Pinnacle Biolabs today.