Gastrointestinal Allergy and Food Hypersensitivity

  • Martin H. Floch
Part of the Topics in Gastroenterology book series (TGEN)


Allergy has been simply defined as altered reactivity, but to many it implies an adverse reaction that occurs due to the interaction of an antigen with antibody or lymphoid cells.l,la Although there is tremendous interest, the clinical significance of gastrointestinal allergy and food hypersensitivity is uncertain, as the science of the field is in its infancy. The allergists have been inundated by patients who claim all sorts of symptoms from food intake and the art of allergy has responded with intermittent success, but the science of proving food hypersensitivity has been limited. The only clinical situations that have been established as disease entities due to food hypersensitivity are cow's milk intolerance and gluten enteropathy. Although eosinophilic gastroenteritis is suspected of being related to food and hypersensitivity, the association has not been proven. There is no question humans must have numerous intolerances and hypersensitivities to foods, but much research has to evolve before the subject is understood in more detail. The following facts appear certain and may be of help in management of suspected gastrointestinal allergy or food hypersensitivity. It is important to make the distinction that gastrointestinal allergy refers to allergic responses that are manifest within the gastrointestinal tract, whereas food hypersensitivity may be a hypersensitivity state caused by the ingestion of food with symptoms occurring in the gastrointestinal tract, or at other target organs.


Food Allergy Sodium Cromoglycate Elimination Diet Disodium Cromoglycate Food Hypersensitivity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin H. Floch
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Yale University School of MedicineUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and NutritionNorwalk HospitalUSA

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