Allergy, Sensitivity, or Intolerance: What's the Difference?

From the Show: Wellness for Life
Summary: There is much confusion as to what constitutes a true food allergy.
Air Date: 12/18/15
Duration: 10
Host: Susanne Bennett, DC
Guest Bio: Stephen Wangen, MD
Stephen-Wangen1Dr. Stephen Wangen is the co-founder and Medical Director of the IBS Treatment Center. He is a licensed and board certified physician, the award winning author of two books on solving digestive disorders, and a nationally recognized speaker. He has been seen and heard on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio and television. He was recently named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.

His passion for being a doctor and solving digestive problems comes from a lifelong obsession with optimizing health. Having suffered from IBS as a young man, Dr. Wangen dedicated his life to solving this complex problem. He now trains other doctors at the IBS Treatment Center in the new specialty of IBS medicine. Since 2005 the IBS Treatment Center, with locations in both Seattle and Los Angeles, has successfully helped thousands of patients from around the country and the world end their digestive problems.

He can be followed on his blog, Facebook, and Twitter, all of which can be found at IBSTreatmentCenter.com.
  • Guest Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/ibstreatmentcenter
  • Guest Twitter Account: @DrStephenWangen
Allergy, Sensitivity, or Intolerance: What's the Difference?
Allergy, sensitivity, and intolerance: these are all words that are used to describe the symptoms you may feel after eating a specific food, or even just coming into contact with a certain ingredient.

However, there is much confusion as to what constitutes a true allergy. 

The conventional medical system has a very narrow view of what a food allergy is... essentially limited to an anaphylactic reaction or some other physical manifestation (hives, eczema, asthma).

The traditional allergist is only looking for these symptoms, and if they see the presence of those symptoms, then you may be diagnosed as having an allergy. If not, the doctor may send you on your way.

That can be frustrating, especially if you're having reactions that fall outside of that very narrow view. 

Also, immediately life-threatening allergies get a lot of the attention, even though other symptoms that take a daily toll could eventually be just as damaging.

The truth is, reactions can take years. For example, you can have delayed symptoms due to gluten. It's not that the immune reaction wasn't always there, it just took time to manifest. 

Dr. Stephen Wangen, co-founder and Medical Director of the IBS Treatment Center, joins Dr. Susanne to share what the true difference is between a food allergy, sensitivity, and intolerance, as well as how he and his fellow doctors at the IBS Treatment Center take a different approach to treating food-related symptoms.