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Food Allergy Symptoms in Adults and Children

  • Published: 2009-03-22 (Revised/Updated 2016-12-18) : Author: Dr Jenny Tylee
  • Synopsis: A list of symptoms frequency and severity of food allergies that may differ from person to person.

Quote: "Intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation which are found in irritable bowel syndrome are often caused by food intolerance."

Main Document

The symptoms, frequency and severity of food allergies differ from person to person. A mild allergy can show itself as a skin condition such as eczema, respiratory conditions such as hay fever, a slightly runny nose or sneezing, but there is a very wide range of symptoms that can be caused by allergies.

Common symptoms of food allergies or intolerances in children include:

However the range of symptoms that can accompany a food allergies or intolerances is much broader than the symptoms in the list of common symptoms in children above. The symptoms can affect every system of the body.

Gastrointestinal system

Skin, eyes and ears

Respiratory system

Cardiovascular system

Urinary system

Musculoskeletal system

Cerebral conditions

Some health professionals also include the following as having a food allergy or intolerance component associated with them.

There is indeed a great range of symptoms - so it is important that you are able to eliminate food and chemical allergies or intolerances as being at the base of your problems. There are a number of different feature which should make you suspect a food allergy or intolerance. These are outlined below.

Fluctuating symptoms

Symptoms that come and go and do not seem to be related to any particular environmental factor may be caused by eating a particular food of which you are intolerant. The fact that they symptoms may be there one day and not the next, and yet the offending food has been eaten on both days, is not reason to assume that the condition is not due to eating a particular food. What this indicates is that you are fluctuating back and forth across a 'symptom threshold'.


If you have a food allergy or intolerance you will be excessively tired and the tiredness is one that is not relieved by rest. You will often feel worst in the beginning of the day and then gradually pick up as they day progresses (or visa versa). But the energy level doesn't pick up to the level that is considered ideal. Sometimes you will feel so tired that you will need to go to rest or go to bed during the day. You may also be able to actually track down a period in your lives when the fatigue started. This may be with the onset of a bout of the flu or glandular fever or after an operation or period of high stress or during pregnancy and so forth.

Mental and psychological symptoms are also very common with food allergies and intolerances.

Many people who have spent years on antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and other mind altering medication have symptoms such as irritability, depression, anxiety and tension that are directly related to food allergies or intolerances.

Weight fluctuations (sometimes many pounds or kilos in 24 hours), often also associated with fluid retention, can be directly caused by food intolerance. Weight problems often indicate food intolerances either directly or perhaps as a result of the metabolic effects of the ingestion of the offending food or because a food addiction can occur, resulting in binging on excessive amounts of carbohydrates.

Muscle and joint aches and pains are a common sign that you have a food allergy or intolerance and although this can be associated with nutrient deficiencies (magnesium or vitamin B6, for example) they often respond to the removal of the offending food. Inflammatory arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis is often associated with food intolerances (particularly to wheat and milk).

Bouts of a racing pulse or an abnormal heat beat are associated with food intolerances as well as certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies (especially vitamin B1, B6, magnesium and potassium).

Low blood sugar or reactive hypoglycaemia is often food related. In this situation the blood sugar can drop to the point where fatigue, anxiety, lethargy, palpitations, cold sweats, faintness, dizziness, headaches, hunger, aggression and irritability can all begin to set in (although they don't necessarily all occur).

Intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation which are found in irritable bowel syndrome are often caused by food intolerance. Sometimes severe and longstanding constipation can be caused by allergies or intolerances to wheat, other grains and dairy products.

Food addictions and or cravings can be a part of the food intolerance picture. There can be withdrawal symptoms caused by the allergic condition - this makes you feel less well and that feeling is made better by eating the offending food or chemical.

It can be seen from this article that food allergies and intolerances can be at the base of many diseases and common conditions.

Reference: Dr Jenny Tylee is an experienced health professional who is passionate about health and wellbeing. She believes that health is not just absence of disease and seeks to actively promote vitality and wellness through empowering others. She encourages people to improve their health by quit smoking, cleansing their body, taking an essential vitamin and mineral supplement and many other methods, including herbal remedies. Visit Dr Jenny's blog and join her newsletter for more quality information


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1 : New NIAID Peanut Allergy Guidelines : Allergy and Asthma Network.
2 : Peanut Protein On Everyday Surfaces : American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
3 : Is Celiac Disease and Food Allergy a Disability Under ADA : U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division - Disability Rights Section.
4 : Food Allergy Link to Arthritis Types : Thomas C. Weiss.
5 : Effects on Gluten When Cooking Wheat Allergens in Pasta : American Chemical Society.
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