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Food Allergy: Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

Raina Rahul Agarwal 26 Sep, 2022 Health & Fitness 1 Comment

“Food allergy is the most common problem in children and in atopic persons. Food allergy is a significant problem in the adult population with an estimated prevalence of 2%. In children under 3 years of age, 8% were found to have an allergy confirmed by oral allergen challenge.”

Food Allergens


Food allergy is a pathological, potentialy deadly immune reaction. Food allergy triggers by normally innocuous food protein antigen. In people the immune system reacts to certain protein in food as though they were harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, parasites or viruses. Food allergy can be broadlly classified in   IgE and cell mediated allergies.

Symptoms of IgE mediated food allergies range from mild to severe and life threatening. The most common causes of IgE food allergy are peanuts, treenut, crustacean, shellfish, milk, soyabeans and wheat. Cell-mediated reaction is Celiac disease which is caused by the ingestion of the gluten protein franction of wheat, rye, barley and related grains.

Many different food cause food allergic reactions. Allergic reactions to food may be severe and sometimes include anaphylactic reaction. Food allergy can strat from infancy. Children may overgrow a food allergy. Thus food allergies are les common in adults.


A Food allergy is caused by the immune system. It handles harmless protein in certain foods as a threat. It releases a number of chemical which triggers on allergic reaction.

The Immune System: The immune system produces the protein called antibody. Antibody helps to protect our body from potential threats such as bacteria, viruses etc. antibody signal our immune system to release chemicals to kill these threats. An antibody known as IgE or E mistaenly targets a protein found in the food as a threat. It can cause several chemical to be released the important chemical is Histamine.

Histamine: Histamine causes most of the symptoms that occurs during the allergic reaction. It causes small blood vessel to expand and the surrounding skin to become red and swell up. Histamine affects nerves in the skin causes itchiness. It also increasea the mucous produced in our nose lining which causes itching and burning sensation. In most food allergy is limited to certain parts of the body such as mouth, throat and skin.


There is one more type of allergy that is known as Non-IgE-Mediated Food Allergy. It is caused by different cells in the immune system. It is inclosed with the skin and digestive system. It causes symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion and eczema. In the children this type of allergy can cause diarrhoea and reflux, where stomach acid leaks up into throat.


Symptoms of food allergy can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms of food allergy includes:
Burning sensation in the lips and the mouth.

  • Tingling in the mouth.
  • Nausea & Diarrhoea
  • A runny nose and streamimg eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Facial Swelling
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Dizziness, Lightheadness or Fainting


About 9 in 10 food allergies are caused by these foods. These 8 types of food account for about 90% of all reactions.

  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Selfish
  • Peanuts

Seasame is the most common food allergen. It is found in many popular dishes. It includes hummus, under the name “Tahini”. According to FDA, “Under the FASTER Act of 2021 sesame is being added as the 9th major food allergen effective January 1, 2023.

Frequently Asked Question

Que: How long does food allergy stay in your body?
Ans: Symptoms often resolve with avoidance of nutritional therapy for 3-6 months. Skin test negative IgE”RAST” negative. It is a food allergic reaction not mediated by IgE antibodies.

Que: What is the rarest food allergy?
Ans: Red Meat- Allergies to meat such as beef, pork and lamb are rare and can be difficult to identify. These allergies are usually caused by sugar found in meat called alpha-galactose (alpha-gal).

Que: How can you reduce food allergies?
Ans: The only way to avoid food allergy reactions is to completely avoid the food and products that may contain it as an ingredient.


Food allergy is a severe reaction. It affects a serious number of consumers. It is a disease that can be treated but to avoid allergies consumers should be aware of food allergens. It is important for them to identify the food allergen or protein which might affect their body. Precaution is better than cure.

Disclaimer: All the content of this article is for information purposes only.



author avatar
Raina Rahul Agarwal
My name is Raina Agarwal, and I am a seasoned content writer with three years of experience in the field. Holding a master's degree in microbiology. I have also garnered valuable experience as a microbiologist, with a career spanning over a decade since 2011. My diverse professional background enables me to offer unique insights and perspectives in my content creation endeavours.

Raina Rahul Agarwal

A Non-Medical Scientist, BSL-2 Lab, Mirzapur

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