AllergiCare Relief Centers addresses the symptoms caused by the negative reaction toward any substance or stimulus. Our database of over 25,000 substances allows us to assess the exact allergen causing a reaction — down to the component level to even include proteins and molecules. Allergens include, but are not limited to:
- Dust & Dust Mites
- Food & Beverages
- Fruits & Vegetables
- Wheats & Grain
- Chocolate & Coffee
- Wine & Beer (alcohol)
- Food Components
- Fabrics, Upholstery, Plastics
- Chemicals, Latex
- Herbal Remedies
- Woods, Metals
- Seasonal Allergies
- Grasses & Trees
- Plant Phenolics
- Animals / Insects
- Stinging Insects
- Detergents, Softeners
- Nutritional Supplements
Allergens can be categorized in the following four groups:
- Contactant – a substance that comes into direct contact with the skin or mucosa.
- Inhalant – a substance inhaled through the airways into the lungs.
- Ingestant – a substance that is or may be taken into the body by mouth or through the digestive system.
- Injectant – a substance injected into the skin.
Allergies vs. Sensitivities
True food allergies are based on exposure to a specific protein component of a food. The immune system incorrectly perceives the protein as a threat and produces antibodies in response. With repeated exposure, cells release histamine and other biochemicals in response to the allergic food. It is these chemicals that cause the allergy symptoms. True food allergies are estimated to affect less than two percent of adults and four to eight percent of young children and infants.
Food sensitivities are much more common, although estimates vary. Sensitivities are abnormal reactions to food or food components that do not involve the immune system, but involve the body as a whole.
There are three types of food sensitivities:
- A metabolic food disorder occurs when a person is genetically unable to properly or fully metabolize a food component. This includes lactose intolerance (inability to metabolize lactose) or favism (genetic deficiency causing a sensitivity to a chemical in fava beans).
- Food idiosyncrasy is another form of sensitivity with an abnormal response to a food or food component, but the mechanism for the response is unknown. The symptoms can resemble those of an allergy and can be either severe or mild. Sulfite-induced asthma is one example and causes asthmatic reactions in 1.7 percent of asthmatics.
- An anaphylactoid response is a type of reaction that elicits the same release of histamine as a true food allergy, but does not involve the immune system. The specific substance that causes this reaction has not yet been identified. The response is not the same as anaphylaxis.