The body's immune system normally reacts to the presence of toxins,
bacteria or viruses by producing a chemical reaction to fight these
invaders. However, sometimes the immune system reacts to ordinarily
benign substances such as food or pollen, to which it has become
sensitive. This overreaction can cause symptoms from the mild
(hives) to the severe (anaphylactic shock) upon subsequent exposure
to the substance. An actual food allergy, as opposed to simple
intolerance due to the lack of digesting enzymes, is indicated by
the production of antibodies to the food allergen, and by the
release of histamines and other chemicals into the blood.
Review Date: 06/29/2010
Reviewed By: Paula J. Busse, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of
Clinical Immunology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.
Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by
David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)