The terms allergy, intolerance, anaphylactic, and hypersensitivity are thrown around quite a bit in the Gutsy community, so I wanted to give a breakdown of them today to help you understand more. Namely, igE vs igG.
Starting with igE vs igG, we could get super detailed and medical. I could go into all the nooks and crannies, likely far more than will ever truly be helpful for you. But I won’t because of just that, I want to be truly helpful, so my goal here is to keep the information simple and digestible (pun intended – yes).
In case you want the super detailed, complex information, you’ll find it HERE. Like this:
igE vs igG
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To understand it in the most simplistic way:
immediate allergy (igE hypersensitivity reaction) vs. delayed allergy (igG delayed hypersensitivity reaction)
The “Ig” stands for Immunoglobulins, and there are five major kinds of immunoglobulins: A, D, E, G and M. They are special proteins produced by the body in response to foreign substances including bacteria and viruses.
Today we are only focusing on the “E,” and “G,” but for reference:
A: One of the most common; it is mainly present in body secretions and is the chief antibody in the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tract and in saliva and tears.
D: Is present in small amounts in serum and is thought to function in certain allergic responses.
M: Is a large molecule; found in blood and is involved in combating blood infections. It is the first or primary immunoglobulin produced following exposure to an antigen.
igE stands for Immunoglobulin E and they are antibodies produced in the immune system.
If you have an allergy, your immune system overreacts to an allergen by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. This reaction usually causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, or on the skin.
Each type of IgE has specific “radar” for each type of allergen. That’s why some people are only allergic to cat dander (they only have the IgE antibodies specific to cat dander); while others have allergic reactions to multiple allergens because they have many more types of IgE antibodies. (source)
Symptoms of igE Reaction
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- Periodic or persistent itching
- Itchy eyes
- Nausea, vomiting, persistent diarrhea
- Sneezing, coughing, congestion
- Difficulty breathing
- Asthma symptoms: wheezing, breathlessness, coughing, tightness in the chest
igG stands for Immunoglobulin G and it is the most common type of antibody found in blood circulation.
It has 4 different subclasses, IgG1-4. IgG is always there to help prevent infections. It’s also ready to multiply and attack when foreign substances get into the body. When you don’t have enough, you are more likely to get infections. (source)
Symptoms of igG Deficiency
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Infections that most often affect people with IgG deficiency are:
- Sinus infections and other respiratory infections
- Digestive tract infections
- Ear infections
- Infections that result in sore throat
- Severe and life-threatening infections (rare)
- In some people, infections cause scarring that harms the airways and how the lungs work. This can affect breathing. People with IgG deficiency also often find that pneumonia and the flu vaccines don’t keep them from getting these infections.
In the Gutsy community, most of you want to know the correlation between all these terms and food. And as I mentioned in the beginning, the terms allergy, intolerance, anaphylactic, and hypersensitivity are thrown around quite a bit. Broken down, here are the terms (as they relate to food):
A food allergy is an “immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways.”
It may or may not cause an anaphylactic reaction.
The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Hives, itching or eczema
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body
- Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
Food-induced anaphylaxis is a, “leading cause of anaphylaxis treated in emergency departments and hospitals around the world. Peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish are the most commonly implicated foods. Food-induced anaphylaxis may occur in any age group and with any food. However, food-induced anaphylaxis fatalities disproportionately affect adolescents and young adults with peanut and tree nut allergy. Individuals who have both IgE-mediated food allergy and asthma are at a higher risk for food-induced anaphylaxis fatality.”
Anaphalytic reaction signs and symptoms include:
- Constriction and tightening of the airways
- A swollen throat or the sensation of a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
- Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
Emergency treatment is critical for anaphylaxis. Untreated, anaphylaxis can cause a coma or even death. (source)
Food Intolerance and Hypersensitivity
Yes, these two are basically the same thing. “Food intolerance, also known as non-IgE mediated food hypersensitivity or non-allergic food hypersensitivity, refers to difficulty in digesting certain foods.”
A food intolerance and hypersensitivity will not trigger an allergic reaction.
This is where the majority of the Gutsy community falls. And while it’s not life-threatening, it’s frustrating because a food intolerance takes longer to show up usually. Thus, people tend to spin their wheels for years trying to figure out what’s wrong.
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There are many different ways to go about testing, depending on your signs and symptoms.
If you feel it’s an allergic and/or anaphylactic reaction, head to the doctor immediately for urgent care.
Otherwise, here are several testing options that can be considered:
- Skin Testing
- Blood Testing
- Lung Function Testing
- Food Challenge
- Drug/medication Challenge
- Aspirin Desensitization
- Patch Testing
- Food Sensitivity Health Tests from Home (or via your doctor’s office)
I have done: skin testing, blood testing, food challenges, and food sensitivity testing.
Understanding where you (or your Gutsy Child) falls is really the first step in getting the problem under control. ((By the way, I believe we actually have three, not two, Gutsy children. Long story short, Samarah started developing skin issues. On my birthday, in fact, she went to the ER because in addition to them, she was saying her heart felt like it was beating fast. I don’t play around with that. We left, she was okay, but they do feel it’s like some sort of allergic (non-life threatening) reaction. Ah…..to add to my list of research and passions.))
While igE vs igG are different, they both pose many problems and are a beast to deal with in the Gutsy community.
I’m always here to listen.
p.s. This is just scratching the surface of topics and issues relating to all of the above. If you have specific questions around any of them, please CONTACT ME so that I can do follow-up, detailed posts.
You will heal. I will help.