Is an allergy the same as an intolerance?
No, it is not. There is a specific difference between an allergy and an intolerance. Even if the main cause of the two illnesses lies in the grain protein, the mechanisms caused by an intolerance are completely different. With a food allergy the body’s immune defence reacts strongly to an actually harmless food item. The body perceives the allergens in the food as foreign bodies and starts an immune reaction. The consequences are heavy allergic reactions to the point of an allergic shock. This reaction appears on the body as the following: skin irritation, swelling, itching in mouth and throat, nausea and vomiting. The worst consequence is an acute over-reaction in form of a shock, which needs to be treated immediately. Triggers of allergic reactions are found in numerous food items such as milk, egg, soya, fish, wheat, celery, mustard and nuts. Food intolerances, however, affect the metabolism of the body, not its immune system. The symptoms are similar to a food allergy, however, without the danger of an allergic shock. Yet there are still numerous non-allergic intolerance reactions which cause varying symptoms to those affected. For example: The necessary enzyme to break down a nutrient is missing or inactive. The consequence is a dysfunctional metabolism, whereby the body can digest nutrients only partially or not at all. This often leads to flatulence, pain in the gastro-intestinal tract, constipation and diarrhoea. With an intolerance normally a small amount of the nutrient can still be eaten. If one avoids or reduces the intake of the concerned food items or food constituents the symptoms generally disappear quickly and a symptom-free life is possible.