Allergy, Sensitivity, Intolerance, What You Need To Know
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Have you seen those Food Sensitivity tests at the big box stores? I think it's amazing and wonderful that the word is getting out that you can do a lot for your own health without paying expensive doctor fees. This is one example of how everyone can take control and investigate for themselves what might be going on within their body.
That said, there are some things to consider. First, There are a few types of responses that your body might be telling you it's not OK with a particular type of food. First is a real food allergy, if you have this you already know it. It's causes immediate or almost immediate reaction and sometimes very severe or life threatening symptoms like swelling of the throat, hives, vomiting etc. This type of reaction causes an IgE immune system response and can be tested for using the traditional skin prick testing with an allergist.
The next type of issue you may have with food is called a food sensitivity. This is when your body has another type of immune system response that is more delayed and individual, which is why they can be so difficult to pin down. These symptoms include anything from brain fog, digestive issues, headaches, joint pain, skin problems, even anger outbursts. The list is very long and can be different for everyone. These produce a different immune response usually IgG and can take the body a few hours or a few days to produce a response. This type of sensitivity can be measured in a few different ways which I will discuss below.
The third type of food reaction is called a food intolerance. This is not an immune system reaction, but a digestive issue where there is a lack of something to process the food in the body. A good example of this is an intolerance to dairy, where by the body is lacking the digestive enzyme lactase to break down the sugar called lactose. This causes digestive issues, like bloating, gut pain, and other unpleasant symptoms. While uncomfortable and possibly embarrassing, the effects are not long term or damaging.
To get back to the individual who wants to investigate ones own reaction to food by investing in the food sensitivity test bought directly, let's talk about the different ways to do that. You should be aware that the test you buy direct may give you all the answers you need and you'll be empowered and excited to make some changes in your food choices and feel better. Yay! right? If that's the case, congratulations! If you buy that test and you get an overwhelmingly long list of foods you should be avoiding, or you eliminate those foods and you still don't feel better, please realize that the test may be missing something. All food sensitivity test can produce false or incomplete results. The test in the big box store is a great start, and I'm excited to see more people interested in how food effects them, but it only tests for part of the reaction. Those tests look for a simple IgG reaction, that's it. A single pathway that indicates food exposure, but doesn't tell you much about which foods are causing inflammation. Figuring out which of the foods on your list are causing a problem for you may be exhausting, complex and time consuming. There are other tests out there however that test multiple pathways. One particular test uses IgG 1-4 and C3d which indicates not only food exposure but simultaneously indicates which foods are likely involved in inflammation and leaky gut, (and your symptoms). This could be a game changer for you, helping you to make targeted food decisions and see improvements in your health simpler and faster. This is the test I use with my clients and I've used myself to get great results. It is a simple finger prick test done in the comfort of your own home. Very simple and quick.
If you need help with investigating your food choices and/or interested in this testing, book a consult here.