How Allergy Works?

An allergy can be broadly defined as an abnormal, adverse, physical reaction of the body to certain substances known as allergens. It is usually referred to as a hypersensitive state because those who suffer from an allergy usually react to quantities of the allergen that leave most people unharmed.

The process of how this allergen can cause a problem in the body involves the immune system. Most allergic individuals will develop an excess of the antibody IgE when exposed to an allergen. The IgE antibodies then attach to mast cells (a component of your immune system), and the mast cells cause histamines and leukotrienes to be released from certain other cells, causing the disturbing allergic reactions. This is your immune system doing its job, but in this case, it overreacts.

Allergy attacks also may occur through a non-IgE-mediated response. This mechanism is less clear from a scientific point of view, but no less irritating. The food sensitivity test measures sensitivities not related to IgE. Candida antibodies do not measure the IgE response. Certain bacteria or foods can create antigen-antibody complexes that lodge themselves in the lungs in this instance, and cause chronic inflammation, without involving IgE at all.

I mention this because most of the commonly available allergy tests search for an IgE response. If the traditional tests are negative, your doctor will tell you that you don’t have any allergies. This is not necessarily true.