Dr. Pamela Smith, ND 

Dr. Pam has a family practice at The Nest Family Wellness Centre which offers naturopathic and midwifery care. She combines science-based natural medicine with conventional medical therapeutics. Learn more about Dr. Pam and the services offered by her clinic here, or book an appointment at www.drpamelasmith.com.

Check out the latest Ask Dr Pam Q&A and posts by topic below as well as her health and wellness posts.

Ask Dr Pam   

What are Food Sensitivities?

I receive many questions around the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity. An anaphylactic allergy occurs when the body reactions to a substance mediated by IgE antibodies to produce histamine and is a medical emergency as noted above. With subsequent exposure to the reactive substance, the body mounts a stronger response each time making them quite dangerous after the initial attack. A sensitivity on the other hand is a delayed IgG mediated response which makes the suspect food a bit more challenging to identify. And just to confuse things more there are food intolerances! Intolerances do not involve the immune system at all but cause irritation in the digestive system, which can lead to gas and bloating or diarrhea and constipation. 

80-90% of children with true food allergies are allergic to one or more of the following: dairy, eggs, peanuts & other tree nuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Food sensitivities can be triggered by the same list but can also be from a variety of other sources. Most sensitivities do not show up in obvious ways until a few days after ingestion so even if your baby initially did well on a food, continue monitoring them. Cooking the majority of your baby’s first foods can reduce the risk of allergy development.