What is a Food Allergy?


Food allergies or food intolerances affect a huge percentage of the population but most people manage the symptoms of their food allergy by avoiding the food(s) in question, once they have identified which foods they are.

A food allergy, or food sensitivity, is an abnormal response to a food that is triggered by the immune system. These abnormal reactions can vary from mild symptoms such as hives, headaches or abdominal pain, to severe or life-threatening symptoms such as swollen airways or loss of consciousness as the body goes into anaphylactic shock.

Certain food allergies would appear to be on the increase and are becoming well-known, for example, gluten sensitivity (gluten is a substance found in cereal grains), cow’s milk allergy (especially common in young children) and peanut allergy.

Food Allergy Symptoms

Food allergy symptoms usually occur within a few minutes to two hours after eating a specific food. The reaction can vary from mild to severe and in some cases, the food allergy symptoms may lead to hospitalization. Common food allergy symptoms include:

  • Itching in the mouth and trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Swelling of the lips, face or tongue
  • Hives, itching or eczema
  • Migraine
  • Abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dizziness

More serious food allergies can trigger anaphylaxis, a term which refers to a severe, potentially life-threatening condition whose symptoms include:

  • Constriction of the airways
  • A swollen throat which makes it difficult to breathe
  • Shock
  • Severe drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Loss of consciousness

Causes of Food Allergies

The main cause of food allergies is when a person’s immune system identifies a food or food substance as something harmful and so it triggers cells to release antibodies (known as immunoglobulin E antibodies) to neutralize the allergen or offending food. The body then “remembers” to always respond in the same way when the particular food is eaten e.g., the antibodies instruct the immune system to release histamine into the bloodstream. The presence of histamine in the blood causes food allergy symptoms described above.

When to See a Doctor for Food Allergies

Many people live with their symptoms and don’t feel they need to see a doctor for the food allergies. Some may also manage their symptoms with over-the-counter medication such as anti-histamine. However, over time mild symptoms may develop into more serious food allergy symptoms and so it is important to see a doctor for food allergies when symptoms first occur.

Take note of any changes in the body, however mild, that occur after eating, such as an itchy mouth, nausea, sneezing and any kind of swelling in the head or neck area. At this stage, it is advisable to see a doctor for food allergies so a correct diagnosis can be made and a treatment program prescribed.

Sometimes serious food allergy symptoms may occur with no prior warning such as rapid swelling of the tongue or throat, trouble breathing, feeling faint and profuse sweating. Then it is vital to see a doctor for food allergies or visit the emergency room if this occurs.

Food Allergy Diagnosis

A food allergy diagnosis using conventional testing can include a blood test, skin test and elimination test. However, none of these methods of making a food allergy diagnosis are 100 per cent accurate.

The blood test measures the body’s immune system response to different foods by checking the amount of immunoglobulin E antibodies present in the blood.

Food allergy diagnosis by a skin test involves a small amount of the suspect food being placed on the skin and the skin is then pricked to allow tiny particles of the food to go beneath the skin’s surface. If a bump appears in that area, it is assumed to be an allergic reaction to the food but again, this isn’t always accurate.

Food allergy diagnosis by elimination is carried out over a week or two and involves eliminating suspect foods and then re-introducing them back into the diet, one by one. Because food allergy symptoms sometimes play out as different conditions such as headaches or eczema, a practitioner may not make a food allergy diagnosis and may end up treating what appears to be another condition.

At LifeWorks Wellness Center, the food allergy diagnosis approach is different. Firstly, the food allergy symptoms that the patient is presenting with will be evaluated. A functional evaluation will be performed to assess the functioning of each organ that may be potentially contributing to the symptoms. This is important since the dysfunction of an organ can be as symptomatic as a disease of one. The patient will then be evaluated to see what kind of nutritional supplementation will be required to bring the function of the gastrointestinal tract back into alignment.

Natural Food Allergy Treatment

Foods can cause negative reactions and symptoms in the body but do not show up in traditional testing. These food sensitivities can cause issues and are often more abundant than basic food allergies. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we have a procedure to identify if a patient has any food sensitivity negatives which may be affecting their health.

Once the diagnosis described above has been made, natural food allergy treatment will then be offered. This will be tailored specifically to each individual patient and will involve testing to see which nutritional supplements they will respond best to, in order to rebalance the gastrointestinal tract. There may be multifactorial issues which may be setting off a “chain reaction” throughout the body and so it is important to handle all components of these multiple issues, to ensure the body begins to heal properly.

LifeWorks offers a natural food allergy solution which re-sets the patient’s immune response to the food(s) which have been causing the problems. Upon completion of this natural food allergy treatment, patients are usually able to enjoy these foods without suffering any distress.

Clearwater & Tampa FL.’s Best Food Allergy Doctor

Lifeworks Wellness Center is long recognized as one of the foremost natural health clinics in the US. At our Tampa Bay, Florida alternative medicine office we have been offering treatment for food allergies for a long time and many of our patients have benefitted from it. Our patients fly in from all over the world because they simply can’t find clinics offering solutions to their food allergies and natural medicine for food allergies where they live.

We have helped many patients regain their health and we would love to help you, too. To become a patient, or for more information, feel free to call our New Patient Coordinator at (727) 466-6789 or simply submit an online web form with your request.

Dr. David Minkoff, M.D.
Founder and Medical Director
In 1995, Dr. Minkoff's wife became ill and her physicians couldn't find what was wrong. Not accepting their "no hope" conclusion, Dr. Minkoff went on a search to help her which led him out of emergency medicine into complementary and alternative medicine to find the answers. In the process he gained expertise in Biological medicine, heavy metal detoxification, anti-aging medicine, hormone replacement therapy, functional medicine, energy medicine, neural and prolotherapy, homeopathy and optimum nutrition. He studied under the masters in each of these disciplines until he became an expert in his own right. The answers he found were soon in demand when others learned of his wife’s return to good health. In response to this, he and his wife, Sue Minkoff RN established Lifeworks Wellness Center in 1997 and it quickly became one of the most comprehensive complementary and alternative medicine clinics in the U.S.

       *Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary based on a patient's medical history and other factors.


Contact LifeWorks

301 Turner Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
get directions
Telephone: 727-466-6789
Fax: 727-451-1010
Mon - Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday: 9am - 4pm


Search Our Site

Become a Patient

Request a Consultation Below

Conventional Doctors Not Helping? 

We're different because we identify & treat the
underlying cause of your health condition.