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What are Food Sensitivities and How do they Affect You?

April 11, 2011

by Dr. Marcea Wiggins


Allergic reactions mediated by mast cells occur everywhere in the body. Mast cells line the entire digestive tract, all the mucus membranes of the mouth, throat, nose and lungs, along blood vessels and in the skin. When an allergen is encountered, antibodies get produced which then bind to the outside of the mast cells. Mast cells, which have antibodies attached to them, then become “sensitized.” Mast cells that have become sensitized to foods, pollens or other chemicals, can react by degranulating and releasing histamine, leukotrienes, SRSA, serotonin and various other inflammatory mediators. In addition the arachidonic acid that makes up the cell membrane of the mast cell gets used as substrate for further production of inflammatory leukotrienes. These reactions can manifest in many ways, impacting health in a variety of negative ways. For example, in the case of a blood vessel it reacts by dilating possibly forming a hive or rash. In the head it can trigger migraine headaches. In the gastrointestinal tract it can cause an increased permeability as shown by the leaky gut phenomenon, which has negative impact on many digestive disorders. There are many approaches to identifying what foods you may be sensitized to. UWG offers laboratory test that can be done in office and can identify both IgE (anaphylaxis or immediate) type reactions as well as IgG (delayed) reactions. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Wiggins today to learn more about food sensitivities and how they might be impacting your health.


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