Understanding Type III Allergy Symptoms


A type III allergy occurs when your body cannot fully digest a particular food. As a result, proteins and enzymes that aren’t ever meant to leave your gut enter your bloodstream in an undissolved state. Your immune system detects a foreign threat and does its job, creating an immune response. The problem is that your immune system ultimately attacks itself as it chases down these rogue food particles, because there’s no actual virus or bacteria to fight.


Common Symptoms Related to Type III Allergies


My body hates me is a common phrase uttered by people suffering from undiagnosed type III food allergies. And though this description seems dramatic, when you learn how type III food allergies can affect your autoimmune system, it makes sense. While a specific food is the trigger, it is your immune system that causes the symptoms. So, what exactly are those symptoms? One of the most frustrating things about type III food allergies is that they can produce symptoms from head to toe that either trigger or mimic other illnesses. This makes them exceedingly hard to diagnose.  But what does that look like for millions of people?




Arthritis/Joint Pain


When your immune system goes on the defense against rogue food cells, inflammation occurs. Your joints are especially vulnerable to these effects. Telltale signs of arthritic joint pain include:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Noisy joint movements
  • Difficulties bending down
  • Loss of motion
  • Visible redness


While scientific recognition of arthritis being connected to food sensitivities feels relatively new, research dating back to 1997 shows that 30% to 40% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis can substantially improve their symptoms by following an elimination diet to identify foods that precipitate symptoms. What’s changed since 1997 is that modern-day testing eliminates the need to rule out foods one by one to get answers. This is good news because arthritic joint pain can make it impossible to work, exercise, or simply get through the day without suffering.


IBS/Digestive Problems


Foods can trigger gastrointestinal and extraintestinal symptoms in some people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a 2016 study. IBS is a life-altering digestive disorder that affects the stomach and intestines. People with IBS can experience dramatic and sudden abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation. Research shows that gluten and other wheat proteins appear to be strongly linked with IBS, and findings shared by the National Library of Medicine reveal that more than half of IBS patients have self-reported type III allergies and experience worsening of symptoms within three hours of eating problem foods.


Mental Health


A type III allergy is often the last thing most people consider when exploring mental health. However, the connection between what you eat and how you feel becomes clear once you discover that approximately 95% of the body’s serotonin supply is produced in the gut. Serotonin is a crucial neurotransmitter that modulates mood, cognition, learning, memory, and your brain’s reward systems. Disrupted serotonin levels are linked to:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorders.

A mechanism that researchers call the gut-brain axis links the endocrine, humoral, metabolic, immune, and central nervous systems. And individuals with food allergies have different gut microbiomes than healthy people. Food triggers that disrupt the natural balance of your gut can ultimately alter your body’s serotonin production, and this can negatively affect your mental health. The emotional burden of living with constant inflammation can also impact how you feel. In addition to the pain associated with inflammation, the unpredictable gastrointestinal reactions accompanying a type III allergy can make you feel as though you’re being robbed of your entire life.




Researchers are still trying to figure out why some antibodies that your immune system releases in response to trigger foods can cause headaches. However, headaches and migraine pain also commonly accompany other signature symptoms of food sensitivities. Being a migraine sufferer with undetected food sensitivity can be especially frustrating because a doctor might advise you to keep a headache journal, documenting your stress levels, sleep quality, weather conditions, diet, and other factors that could be triggering your headaches. This can be time consuming and misleading, but fortunately, many people suffering from frequent headaches are now using type III allergy testing to connect the dots much faster!




While it’s not extremely common, you could experience nausea in response to a food sensitivity. Nausea and vomiting can occur when your immune system overreacts to a particular food protein or enzyme moving its way through your digestive system. That means that any nausea symptoms you experience between 30 minutes and 48 hours after eating could be type III allergy symptoms. While nausea caused by a type III allergy is often accompanied by bloating, abdominal pain, or diarrhea, it can also be a standalone symptom.


Respiratory Problems


While anaphylaxis is only associated with severe food allergies, non-emergency respiratory distress is a little-known symptom of a less serious food sensitivity. If you feel short of breath after eating certain foods, it’s likely connected to acid reflux originating as an autoimmune response in your digestive tract. Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter muscle on the lower part of your esophagus relax at the wrong time, allowing stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. Frequent acid reflux is linked to tooth decay and an increased risk of esophageal cancer.


Skin Conditions


If you have acne, rosacea, eczema, or other skin conditions, you may be experiencing visible autoimmune responses. While these skin conditions manifest on your skin’s surface, they can represent inflammatory responses deep within your digestive system. There are two ways trigger foods can cause skin reactions. The first is through something called contact dermatitis, which occurs when a trigger food merely comes into contact with the skin. However, most people affected by skin conditions related to a type III allergy experience symptoms anywhere from several hours to a few days after consuming the offending food. Common symptoms of food-related skin reactions include redness, swelling, rashes, and itching.




Chronic and relentless fatigue is one of the most debilitating aspects of living with an undiagnosed type III allergy. This may be accompanied by brain fog that makes getting through your daily tasks impossible. According to the Autoimmune Association, this happens when the cytokines tasked with attacking perceived pathogens during an immune response create inflammation. Your body easily becomes overtaxed by this intense cycle of cytokine action and inflammation.


Weight Gain


Weight gain is a frustrating and demoralizing aspect of living with an undiagnosed type III allergy. For many people suffering from intolerances, their lifestyle and diet simply don’t match the body they see in the mirror. The relationship between type III allergies and weight gain is complex. Ongoing immune responses may disrupt thyroid function, and this is likely the cause when it comes to rapid, unexplained weight gain. If your thyroid slows down (hypothyroidism), it can cause your metabolism to halt. It’s also possible for a type III allergy to trigger increased thyroid activity (hyperthyroidism). This may result in dangerous weight loss. The thyroid-intolerance connection is also why many people suffering from type III allergies experience weight changes, and these may be accompanied by fatigue, heart palpitations, dry skin, and hair loss.


Another factor associated with weight gain is that chronic inflammation caused by food triggers can make exercise difficult and painful. Many people suffering from chronic immune symptoms lose their zest for exercise due to soreness, cramping, and pain. Mood issues triggered by food-based autoimmune responses can also cause overeating, and serotonin dips caused by gut inflammation can lead to depression-driven binge eating.



  6. ]