Dr. Aaron's Blog

Clarifying Food Intolerances, Sensitivities, and Allergies

October 26, 2014 All by Aaron Van Gaver


These terms are often confused and incorrectly used. It is important that the differences between them are clear and each is term used appropriately. These three conditions differ in their underlying physiological mechanism, onset of symptoms, and treatment. Several symptoms overlap, while the cause of these symptoms differs markedly.

For individuals with any of these three conditions diagnosis by a licensed physician is important. Strict elimination with an allergy is a way of managing, but should unknown contamination occur, it is important that individuals have ways of dealing with that situation. A food intolerance diagnosis will provide tools to deal with the symptoms. If the intolerance is due to an enzyme deficiency, individuals can take digestive enzymes to aid in the digestion of problem foods.

Working with a naturopathic doctor these conditions can be managed in a variety of ways.

The nutrition training of a naturopathic doctor provides a wealth of knowledge in specific diets to manage these conditions. In some cases, dietary changes can be complemented with other protocols, such as gut healing, to eventually reintroduce the problem food back into the diet. Unfortunately with most true allergies reintroduction is not an option.

First and foremost, however, it is important to be clear on the differences between these three conditions. Being conscious of the differences will make treatment and management more targeted and successful.