Allergy Archives - Lifelab Testing

Allergy vs Intolerance

In the UK, allergies and intolerances are both a common problem – and the number of cases is increasing year on year. But if you’ve noticed uncomfortable symptoms after eating particular foods, it can be difficult to work out which condition you’re experiencing.  

So, allergy vs intolerance – what’s the difference? And how can you discover what’s causing your symptoms? In this blog post, we’ll explain the difference between an allergy and intolerance and how our tests can help you take control of your diet.

What is an allergy?

If you’re suffering from an allergy, it means your body experiences an allergic reaction in response to certain substances (known as allergens). Your immune system perceives the substance as a hazard and responds by releasing proteins called IgE immunoglobins.

These proteins increase your body’s secretion of histamines – a chemical that triggers an allergic reaction. This can result in symptoms such as vomiting, hives, swelling or itching.

An allergic response often starts a few minutes after you’ve eaten an allergen. However, in rare cases, it can take a couple of hours for your symptoms to appear.

What is an intolerance?

The main difference between an allergy vs an intolerance is the fact that an intolerance isn’t an immune response. If you’re intolerant to certain foods, it means that your body finds it difficult to break them down and digest them.

In response, your system releases a different type of immunoglobin known as IgG4. This can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms, usually gastric issues such as bloating, nausea or diarrhoea.

There’s also evidence that certain intolerances can induce a range of other symptoms, including headaches and fatigue. Although research is ongoing, there also seems to be the link between gluten intolerance and inflammation.

Unlike allergies, intolerances are almost never life-threatening.

How do I find out which I have?

At Lifelab Testing, we offer a range of home allergy and intolerance tests. Our range of allergy tests will look for raised levels of IgE in your blood, while our intolerance tests will identify IgG4.

If you’re not sure whether you have an allergy or an intolerance, our complete body test can diagnose 40 different allergies and 80 intolerances. This test will search for both IgE and IgG4, arming you with the information you need to make confident decisions about your diet.  

Order your home test kit today!

Whether you suspect you’re suffering from an allergy or an intolerance, it’s important to get to the bottom of your problem. Order your simple home test kit from Lifelab Testing today and enjoy 100% accurate answers or your money back.

Allergy Test: Your New Year’s Resolution Secret Weapon

A study found that, by the second weekend of January, most people have given up on their New Year’s resolution. The failure to see the results they’re looking for just proves too disheartening and its time to fall face-first into a large pizza. We go again next year, right?

No! 2021 is our year, and the reason is that we’re taking an allergy test.

But what’s an allergy test got to do with anything? Well, when you’re turning over a new, healthier leaf, there are specific health outcomes you’re looking to achieve. You want to look slimmer, and you want to feel fitter. What if we tell you that food intolerance or allergy is getting in the way of both of these? Read on to see why an allergy test could make this the year the resolution succeeds.

Weight Loss

Salads, soups, juices, meal replacement shakes. You’ve tried them all, but you still have that muffin top creeping over the top of your jeans. It’s disheartening, right? What’s the point in being so strict if you’re still going to have that belly. Well, what if we told you that the foods you’re eating might be masking the progress you’re making on your diet?

When you eat a food to which you’re intolerant, it is likely to cause digestive irritation which slows foods progress through your system, this means the food spends more time being broken down by enzymes leading to an increase in the gas produced during digestion. This gas then stays within the stomach, which leads to bloating. By taking an intolerance and allergy test, you can identify the foods which may be making your stomach seem artificially large.

Fitness

You’ve bought the running shoes, you’ve created your inspirational running playlist, and you’re ready to go full Mo Farah. But you’ve been running for a few weeks now, and you’re still struggling for breath five minutes in. The first temptation is to think you’re still unfit, right? It’s going to take forever to enjoy running, and you can’t be bothered to stick it out.

Have you ever stopped to consider that your tight chest, difficulty breathing and a general feeling of unfitness may be down to the symptoms of an allergy? When you have an allergic reaction, inflammation can occur, meaning the narrowing of the airways, making it hard to get enough oxygen into your lungs. By taking an allergy test, you can take the necessary steps to resolve these symptoms and get back on the running track.

 We have an allergy test to suit all budgets, find yours today.

Alcohol Facts and Myths

Alcohol has many effects on the body, with various pitfalls and even a few purported benefits. Once it enters your system, it starts working on multiple organs. The heart, liver, brain are just a few. If you’re frequently drinking too much, the organs affected can begin to develop long-term health problems.

Many of us are blissfully unaware of how alcohol actually affects our bodies. So we’re going to fill you in on 13 facts (and a few myths) on this celebratory substance enjoyed in many countries around the world.

13 Alcohol Facts

  1. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it slows down brain activity. However, it first behaves like a stimulant in small amounts, which is why some people become more sociable or upbeat to start with.
  2. Alcohol triggers the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that’s associated with anticipation, pleasure and satisfaction.
  3. Alcohol is one of the most misused substances (both legal and illegal) with roughly 1 in 8 Americans meeting the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder.
  4. According to a study in 2015, light-eyed Americans (of European descent) are more likely to misuse alcohol than dark-eyed Americans of European descent.
  5. Research has indicated that rates of alcohol use and high-risk use increased between 2001 and 2013, despite the popularity increase in health.
  6. Teens who started drinking before the age of 15 are more likely to develop a dependence on alcohol later in life.
  7. A study that explored drinking around Italian families found that young Italians who drank at family meals while growing up were much less likely to develop unhealthy drinking habits in later life.
  8. People who have more muscle mass and less body fat are more tolerant of alcohol, due to muscle absorbing alcohol faster than fat.
  9. Long-term drinking is more likely to result in adverse health consequences for women than men, even if women drink less for a shorter period.
  10. Alcohol-related deaths are the third leading cause of preventable deaths in America. Roughly 88,000 people die each year in the States from alcohol-related causes.
  11. Alcohol consumption significantly increases the risk of dementia.
  12. Drinking red wine (in moderation) is considered good for the heart. It contains resveratrol, a substance that helps lower cholesterol, stop blood clots and even prevent blood vessel damage.
  13. While red wine in moderation can be beneficial, dark drinks are more likely to cause a hangover than clear beverages. Opting for vodka over whiskey might be a good idea if you don’t want to write off the following day.

That’s a lot of facts about alcohol. But there are a lot of myths surrounding the substance as well. Here are a few myths that many of us still believe;

Top 5 Myths

1. “It’s OK to get drunk every now and then.”

Drinking enough to get heavily drunk is considered binge drinking, which is associated with severe health problems such as unintentional injuries, cancer, and heart disease. Regardless of how infrequently you do it, if you have 4 to 5 (or more) drinks in a single sitting, you’re putting your health at risk.

2. “Wine or beer won’t make you as drunk as hard liquor.”

All alcoholic drinks contain ethanol, in roughly the same amounts. This is why certain drinks are sold as pints (beer, lager and cider), glasses (wine) and shots (spirits). While spirits are easier to drink in excess, due to having a smaller volume, each serving will have roughly the same effect on your body.

3. “It’s always safe in moderation.”

Moderate consumption of some alcoholic drinks can have health benefits, but this doesn’t equate it to being ‘risk-free’. There are many groups of people for whom the risks can vastly outweigh potential benefits. Such as those who;

  • are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • are taking prescribed anti-depressants or other psychoactive substances.
  • have AUD, alcohol dependence, or a family history of either
  • have heart failure or a weak heart
  • have liver or pancreatic disease
  • have previously had a stroke, heart failure or a weak heart.
  • plan to drive or operate machinery
  • take other prescription medications that interact with alcohol

4. “Drinking is only a problem for those who can’t hold their liquor.”

It can actually be a good sign if you can’t hold your alcohol. Those that no longer feel the effects of alcohol are probably developing a tolerance to it, which can mean they’re at higher risk of developing a dependency.

5. “You can sober up quickly with a cup of coffee.”

This may be the biggest lie surrounding alcohol – most likely due to a misunderstanding of what causes the symptoms of a hangover. The idea behind it seems sound enough though – since alcohol is a depressant, you should counteract it with a stimulant.

The symptoms of feeling drunk or hungover are mostly due to your blood alcohol levels dropping, rather than the psychoactive effects of the drink. Symptoms that aren’t caused by the drop in alcohol are just your body working through it – it’s a matter of giving yourself time to flush it out of your system.

It’s not just the Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks can have negative consequences in everyone, but some people are more affected than others. For example, those with a barely, hops or yeast intolerance will find that a single pint of beer can cause uncomfortable side-effects like bloating or intestinal discomfort. Grapes, apples, pears and citric fruits can all be sources of unusual symptoms as well, as we can even be intolerant to these fruits. If you’re wondering whether you should be avoiding beer, lager or ale due to an intolerance or allergy, consider getting tested against their main ingredients.