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Seasonal allergies: Know which allergies will flare up this summer and how to treat them

Lifelab’s in-house Nutritional Therapist, Sian Baker, advises that pollen and mould are the two most common seasonal allergens. She says:


“Pollen is the most commonly known of the seasonal allergens and it is responsible for hay fever – however there are three different types of pollen to be aware of; tree, grass and weed, each of which is prevalent at different times of the year.

“February to June is peak time for tree pollen, whilst grass pollen is usually found between May and July, and weed pollen between June and September. During these times, you will expect to experience symptoms outdoors, however there are a number of ways to prevent the pollen from affecting you indoors, too, including: drying any washing inside, keeping windows and doors closed, taking a shower and changing clothes after having been outside, and brushing or bathing any dogs after a walk.

“People who suffer from an allergy to any pollens should also be aware of Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), which manifests as reactions to certain foods, in the form of tingling and itching in the mouth, throat and lips. The foods wihch are most likely to cause this include specific fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and spices, whose protein structure is similar to that of each pollen.

“An example of this would be a person with a birch allergy experiencing symptoms after eating apples, plums, kiwis, carrots, celery, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflowers seeds, oregano, basil or dill, all of which have a similar structure to birch. Such a reaction only usually occurs after ingesting raw varieties of fruits and vegetables. A person may also experience reactions to certain items but not others. ”


“A mould allergy can cause very similar symptoms to that of hay fever, including itchy eyes or throat, watering or red eyes, sneezing, and/or a blocked or runny nose. It can also trigger asthma, should the mould spores reach the lungs.

“When the mould grows and spreads, it produces spores, which travel through the air and can cause reactions. These moulds can be found both outdoors, on fallen leaves, on rotting logs, in compost piles and on dead plants, and in damp spots indoors.”

“With mould, year-round reactions can occur, however, others are seasonal, including Cladosporium, which is most prevalent between June and August, Alternaria, which can be found between July and September, and both Aspergillus and Penicillium between October and March.

“To avoid reactions from mould, reduce damp in the home by improving airflow through rooms, using an extraction fan, cleaning windows to remove mildew, keeping bathroom tiles and utilities clean, not leaving damp clothing around, repairing leaks and investing in a dehumidifier. When working in the garden, consider wearing a mask, particularly when mowing the lawn, removing any leaves or digging around plants.

“Any allergy symptoms can be further reduced by limiting the consumption of histamine-rich foods when symptoms are severe – these foods tend to be those which are fermented and aged, including alcohol, matured cheeses, smoked meats, ready meals and products containing yeast. Keeping hydrated can also minimise the symptoms of allergies.”

Information on allergies

For more information on allergies and intolerances, including dealing with hay fever or pollen intolerance then check out www.lifelabtesting.com in order to find out more. Remember, once you have purchased a test, you can also purchase sessions with our Nutritional Therapists who will be delighted to assist you with understanding your reports and walking you through your results!

Lifelab Testing features in the press!

Providing state-of-the-art allergy testing to our clients, Lifelab Testing has been featured around the world having worked with a variety of athletes and high-profile actors. Working with well-known names such as Duncan James (of Blue fame), Ollie Hynd MBE (Paralympic Gold Medallist) and many more which you can find here…

Features and magazines – allergy testing

Having helped Danielle Lloyd to identify her own allergies and intolerances, she recommended us to a variety of her Instagram followers and her story was featured in many newspapers.

The Sun and Mail Online featured her stories, and Danielle was quick to praise the way that our allergy and intolerance tests helped her and her family. Be sure to check us out as well as many of our customer’s testimonials!

Cosmopolitan Online (x2)

Wow! Cosmo were very impressed by a Lifelab Test, and they had a giveaway in their own magazine. The competition in Cosmo has 10,644 entries in total, with one lucky winner picking up a Lifelab Testing Intolerance Test and a number of nutritional sessions. The interest in the test showed and Lifelab Testing were delighted to help customers all over the UK to learn something new about allergies and intolerances.

Our Nutritional Therapist, Sian, also provided Cosmo with a round-up on what nutritionists and nutritional therapists were giving up for Lent. This went down very well for our customers.

Love It! Magazine

Love it! Logo magazine. Lifelab in the press

Most recently, at Lifelab Testing we were delighted to feature in Love It! magazine. Featuring on the inside page, the magazine offered one of our intolerance tests as a weekly prize!


Celebrity Posts

Oliver Proudlock and Danielle Lloyd have both posted about Lifelab since they did their tests. Danielle was glowing and amassed multiple likes and comments, to which she replied constantly praising the tests and telling her followers about how much the intolerance and allergy tests had helped.

For more information on allergy testing and intolerance testing, check out www.lifelabtesting.com and seek a new world of information and advice. Speak to us to see how we can help you!

Some advice in the lead up to National Vegetarian Week

Switch to a meat-free diet healthily with tips from Lifelab Testing

2019 has seen consumers becoming ever more conscious of their health and the environmental impact of their diet choices, and such concern has led to a sharp rise in those opting to lead vegan and vegetarian lifestyles – one in eight Brits is now said to be vegetarian, with one in three having recently reduced or stopped their consumption of meat.

In the lead up to National Vegetarian Week (13 – 19 May 2019), we are speaking out about how to make sure you transition to a meat-free diet healthily, to reap the full benefits of what can be a very beneficial dietary switch.

From increased energy to better sleep patterns, clearer skin and improved circulation, the health benefits of eliminating animal products from your diet are clear to see – however, done incorrectly, a poor vegan or vegetarian diet can lead to a lack of iron, zinc or vitamin B.

Sian Baker, in-house Nutritional Therapist for at-home intolerance and allergy testing company Lifelab Testing, offers her tips for ensuring a vegetarian diet is beneficial to the body, by including all of the correct nutrients in meals:

Don’t fall in to the convenience food trap

There are a wide range of vegetarian foods that aren’t nutritionally beneficial – rather than picking up something pre-made, indulge in a kitchen full of whole foods and experiment with new recipes.

Get your vitamin A

Vitamin A is most easily found in meat, fish and dairy products, so it is important to increase your intake of green, leafy vegetables, and orange, red and yellow fruit and veg. These all contain beta carotene, which can be converted to retinol – the biologically active form of vitamin A. 

Supplement your diet with vitamin B12

B12 is only found in meat and dairy products, but it is a nutrient which helps to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy, so should be added in to a vegan diet in the form of B12 supplements.

You don’t necessarily need to up your protein

A common misconception with a vegetarian diet is that it will be lacking in protein, however pulses, grains and veg are all great forms of protein and will provide enough for the majority of people. The need for additional protein supplements depends on your stage of life, physical activity levels and injuries, post-operative recovery or illnesses. 

Top up your calcium

Calcium is prevalent in dairy, but can also be found in high levels in tofu, certain green vegetables (kale, watercress, broccoli, sugar snap peas and pak choi) and almonds.

For more information on allergy testing and if you have any other queries about your diet, please log on to www.lifelabtesting.com and check out our website. Our customer service team will always be happy to answer any queries which you may have. To purchase your test, click here.

What Can You Digest If You Have Lactose Intolerance?

We’ve got a legen-dairy read for you! We’ve put together a list of the tastiest substitutes for lactose intolerance sufferers. We know how difficult coping with lactose intolerance can be and we’re here to offer you all the help and advice we can in order to help you lead a trouble-free life. Now wouldn’t that ‘brie’ good?

Let’s start with the basics; what is Lactose Intolerance?

People often think that having lactose intolerance is the same as having an IgG4 intolerance reaction to milk or dairy products. Well, this isn’t the case. Lactose intolerance is quite a common digestive problem in which the body is unable to digest lactose; Lactose is the sugar that is mainly found in milk and dairy products. This is because your body has a deficiency of a certain enzyme known as lactase. The job of this enzyme is to break down the sugars that are found in milk and dairy products.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance

There are many symptoms that come from suffering from lactose intolerance and normally these will occur a few hours after the product containing lactose has been consumed. Some symptoms include;

The severity of the above symptoms and when they may occur will all depend on the amount of lactose that has been consumed. Symptoms and severity of will differ from one person to the next as somebody may be able to ingest a glass of milk and see no symptoms whereas somebody may not even be able to handle the milk in their tea or coffee.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be similar to those of IBS and a milk protein intolerance which is why people are often confused. If you are suffering from the above symptoms, then be sure to see your GP to seek further advice.

Substitute foods for lactose intolerance sufferers

So, suffering from lactose intolerance doesn’t have to be a bad thing, in fact, there are some really yummy alternatives available so you can still enjoy all the dairy treats that you’re craving.

Look at some of the substitutes we recommend below;

Soy Milk – Milk contains calcium which is one of the most important nutrients that we require. As milk is not an option for lactose intolerance sufferers, soy milk is a fantastic alternative.  

Almond/Oat Milk – This is a great substitute to ensure you’re still receiving good amounts of magnesium and vitamin E.

Yoghurt – Although yoghurt is made from milk, it contains much less lactose with active bacterial cultures. The symptoms may be less when consuming yoghurt as most of the lactose will have been broken down by the good bacteria in yoghurt.

Green Vegetables – These are a fantastic alternative source for calcium and many other antioxidants.

Fish – Again, this is a great substitute for calcium and omega fatty acids.

Fermented Cheese – Cheese is known to have less lactose than some other dairy products. Hard and aged cheeses are ok to be included in your diet (if your symptoms are manageable) for a source of calcium and protein. 

Making the necessary changes to your diet means that you will still be receiving the nutrients you need from dairy products, so you won’t be missing out.

What’s next; a Lifelab Testing kit?

We don’t specifically test for Lactose Intolerance as we test for immune-mediated intolerances not digestive-mediated, but this doesn’t mean we can’t help you on your journey to a symptom-free life. With one of our at-home blood testing kits delivered straight to your door, we can help you narrow down what the cause of your symptoms may be before you come to the conclusion that you are suffering from Lactose Intolerance. Visit our website to find out more. Click here to read about the breakthrough for people suffering from Coeliac Disease.

Paralympic Swimmer Ollie Hynd MBE

Paralympic athlete Ollie Hynd MBE has won a multitude of medals in the pool making him World, European and Paralympic champion and although these are amazing achievements, he couldn’t stop thinking about how he could still improve on his performance and keep aiming high. As a result, he considered allergy testing.

Ollie found Lifelab Testing on Instagram and decided to take an allergy and intolerance test because he wanted to find a way that he “could improve training by that 1% on a daily basis.” Ollie has focused on his diet and the foods he puts into his body in the past but, like many athletes, he’s never gone into much detail on the effects the foods are having on his body. Ollie had chosen to do the Lifelab Testing Complete Body test which tests for 40 of the most common allergens, and 80 of the most common foods he could be intolerant to, which includes fruits, vegetables, dairy and gluten.

Speaking about his Lifelab Testing customer journey, Ollie said “the test itself was really easy, just a small blood sample which is collected and then sent to the lab for the testing to be done in house.” His results were collated and popped straight into his online account and were available right away. Ollie looked through his results and realised not many foods do affect his body aside from an allergy to soy. He said “with the amount of sushi and soy sauce I enjoy, I can now narrow down the cause of my stomach pain and bloating afterwards.”

“I’m already looking forward to working with Sian heading into the new season and can’t wait to implement some of the things we spoke about going into my training.”

– Ollie Hynd MBE

Upon receiving his results, Ollie got in touch with our team over Instagram DM and arranged a one to one consultation with our in-house BANT registered nutritionist. This helped Ollie to understand his allergies and the relationship between nutrition and sports performance and ways these can be improved. Ollie says “I’m already looking forward to working with Sian heading into the new season and can’t wait to implement some of the things we spoke about going into my training.”

If you’re a professional athlete or an active individual (link to elite performance page) who is looking to improve their sports performance or even looking to discover what is causing your discomfort in training, Lifelab Testing can help with a simple blood testing kit delivered straight to your door.

Click here for more information on how a constant cough could be linked to an allergy.

Survival of the Fittest star, Georgia Cole’s bloating battle

Like an estimated 86% of the UK female population, Georgia Cole, 25 has been suffering with painful stomach bloating and extreme stomach cramps and she couldn’t get to the bottom of why it was happening to her. Georgia starred in ITV’s latest hit Survival of the Fittest which pit a team of girls against boys in various challenges to see who came out on top, but Georgia kept her reoccurring pain a secret as she battled through week on week.

‘I was losing hope, thinking that this was what I would have to put up with for life’

– Georgia Cole

Georgia went to the hospital 3 times to try to stop her bloating but wasn’t given any answers, ‘I was losing hope, thinking that this was what I would have to put up with for life’. Luckily, she found the Lifelab Testing website which gave her information on how her stomach bloating and cramps could be being caused by reactions to foods that she has allergies or intolerances to.

After reading about the four tests, Georgia chose the Lifelab Testing Complete Body test which tests for 40 of the most common allergens, and 80 of the most common foods she could be intolerant to, which includes fruits, vegetables, dairy and gluten. The test kit was sent to her door only a few days later, and she began the process to getting healthy.

Making sure to pose for a quick photo, Georgia opened the kit and took a small blood sample using the easy to understand instructions and filled out a short registration at www.lifelabtesting.com before putting the kit in the post with the freepost returns envelope.

And her results are in…

Once the blood sample arrived at the testing centre, our qualified and experienced specialists began preparing her results. These were then uploaded into Georgia’s ‘My Lifelab’ area for her to download and read when she was ready. The report contains a full introduction to her results, before providing colour-coded results to help Georgia understand her body.

Georgia read through her results and noticed that she had food sensitivities to lactose and gluten, which she feels explains a lot of her stomach bloating pain. She got in touch with the LiveChat team to arrange a one-to-one consultation with our qualified nutritionists which helped her to create an elimination diet and she is already feeling better, without any painful stomach bloating or extreme stomach cramps.

If you’re suffering from regular pain without any sign of what’s causing it, it could be an undiagnosed food allergy or intolerance. Find out now with an easy to understand Lifelab Testing kit delivered to your door.

Click here if you need information and advice on keeping your kids safe from food allergies as they return to school.

Ten Tips for Moving Away to University

Have you recently been accepted into your favourite University to begin your studies? If so, congratulations! But don’t let an allergy or intolerance stop you from moving with ease. Moving away from home with allergies and intolerances can be rather daunting as nobody will be aware of what you are suffering from and how to safely deal with this to avoid a worst-case scenario happening. An at-home allergy test could be all you need to help make the move simpler.

Ten Tips for Moving Away to University

If allergies and/or intolerances are a factor in your life and you’re about to move away from home for the first time, then it’s worth considering how you’ll handle these in your new surroundings. Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

  • If you have a serious allergy and carry an epinephrine auto-injector, make sure you have it packed and maybe tell your new housemates where you keep it.
  • Again in the case of a serious allergy wear a bracelet or ID card just in case.
  • If you’re going to be doing lots of partying in fresher’s week and beyond, just be aware that alcohol and dehydration can heighten allergic symptoms, so alongside your chosen tipple keep the water going in too.
  • If you’re a hay fever sufferer be aware that a new environment could mean exposure to different pollens and a change in symptoms. This may be a good time to take an allergy test.
  • Again, if you have allergies be aware of house dust mites and moulds in your new digs, it might be worth buying a new mattress or giving your bathroom an extra scrub.
  • Sign up at the local doctor’s surgery, to make sure you can get asthma, anti-histamine or epinephrine repeat prescriptions should you need them.
  • If you don’t cook for yourself already and are wondering how you’re going to cope, consider getting your mum or dad to write down some recipes for you before you go away.
  • Group cooking can be lots of fun with housemates. If you have eliminated certain foods maybe make suggestions for alternatives you can eat or offer to do a meal for everyone so they can try something different.
  • At the same time as having lots of fun, try to be kind to your body also by choosing some nutrient-rich foods to enjoy each day.
  • If you don’t think you’ll eat fruit and vegetables or will eat far less there are some excellent fruit and vegetable powders available now. These are added to water and taken daily.

Take note of the above when trying to make the move to University as smooth as possible while suffering from allergies and intolerances. From as little as £68.99, you can identify your allergies and intolerances with the help of an at-home Lifelab Testing allergy test or intolerance test.

Want to read more? Click here to see how we can help you ‘Cope with Allergies on Holiday’.

Milk Allergy, Milk Intolerance or Lactose Intolerance?

The terminology used for allergies and intolerances is frequently used interchangeably. The terms milk allergy, milk intolerance and lactose intolerance are often thought of as one and the same. But the truth is, they are three different conditions with different physiological processes. Subsequently, each condition requires a different testing method. Today we’re exploring exactly what those differences are, and how to tell them all apart.

The Difference Between the three conditions

Milk Allergy and Milk Intolerance

Food Allergies and intolerances are immune-mediated responses. This means that the reactions are caused by your body producing antibodies (AKA immunoglobin [1]) in response to a certain food’s proteins. This happens because the body has perceived the food item as a threat, and is sending those antibodies in, to ‘deal with’ the problem (the same way a mob boss would send his goons to ‘deal with’ a nuisance). 

The antibodies produced through a food allergy or intolerance are IgE and IgG, respectively [2]. You can test for these antibodies with blood sample testing. 

Lactose intolerance

Whilst a milk allergy and a milk intolerance are immune-mediated requiring blood allergy testing or intolerance testing, lactose intolerance is enzyme-mediated, meaning symptoms occur due to an insufficiency of the enzyme lactase [3]. In this case, a breath test checking for excess levels of methane and hydrogen is required.

Symptoms of each condition

Milk Allergy

Whilst all three conditions could result in symptoms which can be debilitating such as bloating, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea, only a milk allergy has the potential to be life-threatening[4]. For most people, allergies cause symptoms such as congestion, swelling, hives or vomiting, but for some, they can be as severe as an anaphylactic shock which can be fatal. If you suspect you or a family member has an allergy to milk, then allergy testing is highly recommended, particularly if you, or they, also have asthma.

Symptoms of a milk allergy can include;

  • Diarrhoea
  • Hives
  • Itchy, water eyes (often red)
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, eyes, or face
  • Tight chest
  • Vomiting

Milk Intolerance

Milk intolerance is a condition associated with high levels of the antibody IgG and can, therefore, be identified through blood testing [5]. It can cause various digestion-related symptoms and do can often be confused with lactose intolerance. However, symptoms are not limited to the digestive tract, as nausea, headaches and even hives are common for those suffering from milk intolerance. 

Symptoms of milk intolerance can include;

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Nausea
  • Skin rashes and eczema

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is an inability to break down the sugar, lactose, due to an insufficiency of the enzyme lactase. This inability causes the production of excess gases, hydrogen and methane, resulting in digestive discomfort. The levels of these gases can be tested through a breath test to identify the condition.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can include;

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive gas
  • Feeling sick
  • Stomach cramps or pains

Impact on Diet

The dietary implications of these conditions depend upon which one you have. With a milk allergy, it is recommended that you eliminate all milk products from your diet on an on-going basis. 

In the case of milk intolerance, your results may indicate that you are intolerant to certain milk products but not others, for example, milk but not cheddar cheese. This is due to the differing levels of proteins and bacteria in the various milk products. An initial period of elimination of 4 weeks is recommended, following this you may be able to successfully reintroduce the items however, this is highly individual. Many people choose to continue abstinence or reduce their intake of the intolerant milk products as they feel better for it. 

With lactose intolerance it is not always necessary to remove all milk products, this is because certain milk products, such as aged hard cheese, butter or probiotic-rich plain yoghurt have very little lactose in them, but this depends upon the severity of your lactose intolerance.

Telling them apart

The crucial differences in these conditions; milk allergy and milk intolerance are immune-mediated, producing antibodies that can then be tested for. Lactose intolerance is an insufficiency of the digestive enzyme lactase and can be tested for using a breath test. If you suspect your symptoms relate to a milk allergy or milk intolerance, convenient home to lab allergy and intolerance testing kits are available for you to quickly identify any existing conditions.


[1] Justiz, A.A. and Kamleshun Ramphul (2020). Immunoglobulin. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513460/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2020].

[2] Waserman, S., Bégin, P. and Watson, W. (2018). IgE-mediated food allergy. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, [online] 14(S2). Available at: https://aacijournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13223-018-0284-3 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2020].

[3] Malik, T.F. and Panuganti, K.K. (2019). Lactose Intolerance. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532285/ [Accessed 6 Mar. 2020].

[4] Nih.gov. (2017). Allergies: Overview. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK447112/ [Accessed 6 Mar. 2020].

[5] Lin, S., Yang, X., Xing, Y., Wang, X. and Li, Y. (2019). The Clinical Application Value of Multiple Combination Food Intolerance Testing. Iranian journal of public health, [online] 48(6), pp.1068–1073. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31341848 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2020].

What Exactly Is An Allergy?

We’ve all heard people talking about having ‘allergies’. It’s quite a common thing in the modern age, but the true definition of what an allergy actually is, is lost on many. So, in an attempt to address that in some small way, we look now at the paradigm of allergies in closer detail.

According to Dictionary.com, an allergy is:

“An abnormal reaction of the body to a previously encountered allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, injection, or skin contact”

Essentially, an allergy is the body’s reaction to something it comes into contact with via ingestion, breathing or touching. One of the main variables in the equation is exactly what causes the reaction and there are lots of things that can trigger an attack.

The Symptoms

An allergic reaction can be as mild as a runny nose and as severe as anaphylactic shock, which can be potentially life threatening. There are many different grades of allergic reaction.

Mild reactions tend to affect very localised areas of the body and can result in irritation to soft tissue around the eyes, nose and mouth.

Moderate reactions however, can be transmitted to other parts of the body and can involve respiratory distress.

Severe reactions are quite rare and can be very sudden. The symptoms are much more acute and can develop into serious cramping, vomiting and abdominal pain. It can also include swelling, which can be a serious complication when it’s in the throat. Anaphylaxis, the most severe symptom, comes with muscle spasms, dizziness and a sharp drop in blood pressure.

Types of Allergies

Another variable is exactly what the source of the allergy is. There are quite a number of kinds of allergy, so it’s important to know which you have.


There are unfortunately, many foods that can trigger an allergic reaction, but they tend to be from the same type of proteins found in wheat, milk, eggs and nuts, as well as shellfish, beans, corn and some berries. This type of reaction usually presents as coughing, itchy eyes, stomach cramps and gastric distress. Some reactions can be more severe and potentially dangerous, meaning knowledge of your own triggers is imperative.


An allergy to drugs can occur when antibiotics are administered or when sulfa drugs (used to treat a host of ailments, including arthritis) are given.

Skin Contact

Issues like eczema and dermatitis occur when the skin comes directly into contact with an allergen. It can be a rash caused by a change in washing powder or more serious hives and swelling of various parts of the body, and can be brought on by pets, pollen and even stress.

Knowledge is Power

Knowing what triggers an allergy is as important as knowing how to treat one. It means that you can take steps to avoid whatever it is. It could be pollen causing you problems or mould or even dust in the air (which you can never eliminate completely), but the culprit can just as easily be a foodstuff, which is far easier to keep your distance from.

Plainly put, knowledge is power. Identifying substances your body can’t deal with very well, is the only quick way to eliminate the cause and start enjoying an allergy free life.

How do you find out for sure?

At Lifelabtesting.com, we perform comprehensive testing and blood testing to really get to the heart of the problem and it doesn’t cost the earth either. From as little as £75, we will produce a medically approved report on over 25 different possible allergens.

A small price to pay when compared against a lifetime of suffering the negative effects of allergic reactions. Visit http://www.lifelabtesting.com to find out more or to have a ‘live chat’ with one of our team.

Oral Allergy Syndrome Explained

Also known by the abbreviated form of ‘OAS’, Oral Allergy Syndrome is a condition that can result in an allergic reaction in the mouth after eating. OAS has a classification as a ‘cluster’ of reactions and happens when someone eats particular types of food. Those with OAS tend not to have it from birth, rather they develop it later in adulthood, just as many do with Hayfever.

OAS is arguably the most prevalent allergy caused as a result of eating food, but ironically, it’s not actually a food allergy to a specific foodstuff. What it actually is, is a cross-reaction caused by traces of different varieties of weed or tree pollen, commonly found in some fruits and vegetables. As a result of this, OAS typically only affects those who also have pollen allergies at certain times of the year, especially when the reaction is to tree pollen.

Raw Deal

One major disadvantage of OAS (other than the obvious) is that raw fruit and vegetables are off the table. So, no more carrot sticks or nice, crisp Granny Smith apples, as the ingestion of fruit and veg can only be done after it has been baked or boiled, which destroys the offending pollen contained inside. That is, unless you are talking about celery or nuts, which can cause a reaction whether cooked or otherwise.

It’s not all bad news though, as if you think you might have the condition, it’s easy to get tested for it. At Lifelabtesting.com, we perform affordable and comprehensive blood testing services to our clients that screen for possible allergens that might provoke an immunoglobulin E (Usually written as IgE) response, the same type that is encountered by sufferers of OAS.

For as little as £75, you can get yourself checked out and start taking steps to minimise the effect of this debilitating condition.

The Symptoms

The signs of OAS can come on quite suddenly and be provoked by a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Usually within minutes of ingestion, a burning or itching sensation is experienced in the ears, pharynx (the cavity behind the nose and mouth), lips and mouth. It can also manifest in the eyes, nose or more worryingly as a tightness in the throat.

OAS can develop into anaphylactic shock, but it doesn’t happen very often at all. More usually, there is a mild reaction which happens when the allergen in fruit and veg isn’t eliminated by gastric acid in the stomach and a histamine release occurs later in the intestines. This can then cause acute indigestion, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, hives and in some cases, low blood pressure.

Variable Degrees

In the individuals that suffer with OAS, the foods that cause it can vary greatly. In some, there will be one particular trigger, whereas others might have to avoid different types of raw fruit and veg. The one common theme however, is that the attacks are usually accompanied by a reaction to higher, seasonal levels of pollen.

To complicate things further, under the umbrella of OAS, there are different categories of pollen that cause a reaction to different types of people.

There is:

❏ Ragweed pollen, found in bananas, cucumbers and green peppers 
❏ Grass pollen, in tomatoes, oranges and peaches 
❏ Mugwort pollen, present in carrots, fennel and sunflowers 
❏ Birch pollen, found in avocados, cherries and apples 
❏ Alder pollen, existing in hazelnuts, raspberries and pears

So, as you can see, OAS is a complex beast and takes some work to get to the root cause (no pun intended). The only quick and easy way to solve the puzzle and start enjoying food again, is to get yourself screened. You’ll then know what you’re dealing with and you’ll be able to create a strategy to minimise the effects of your allergies.

Head on over to our website to find out more or have a ‘live chat’ with one of our friendly experts and take your first steps to a freer food life.