Food sensitivity testing is something I do very often in my NW Calgary Naturopathic Medicine practice. I use it with patients of all ages (over the age of 2) and with a variety of health concerns. I always say that food can be your poison or your medicine, and this test offers my patients a method of distinguishing foods that are good for them versus foods that are not agreeing with them. Keep reading below to learn more about this beneficial test and how it might help you.
What is Food Sensitivity Testing?
This method of testing is measuring IgG reactions to foods you are eating. It measures the reaction between IgG antibodies to food antigens and the antibody-antigen complexes that are formed. These reactions occur within 30 minutes of eating a food up to 3 days after eating a food, which is a delayed reactivity. It is testing for chronic health concerns as listed below.
It is important to understand that this test is not testing for food allergies, which could result in an immediate anaphylactic reaction, hives, swelling of the throat, or itchy palette. In this reaction which is typically mediated by IgE antibodies, you eat a food and you develop a response immediately.
Testing becomes beneficial for IgG food reactions because when a symptom occurs, it is difficult to tell which food consumed in the last 3 days could have created that symptom. Although food eliminations and reintroductions are one method of testing food sensitivities, most patients prefer the convenience and ease of testing for the foods via blood.
What symptoms do food sensitivities cause?
Food sensitivities cause a variety of symptoms, and the longer I am in practice the more I see linked to these IgG reactions. Of course these reactions are linked to digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, heartburn, and slow digestion. But they are also linked to skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and hives, as well as mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, and autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and Lupus. Food sensitivities are also linked to fatigue and sluggishness, insomnia, under eye circles, joint pain, migraine headaches, and swelling and inflammation. They can also be linked to difficult weight loss, and so I often do food sensitivity testing as a part of my weight loss program.
Can my medical doctor perform this test?
Typically medical doctors will perform allergy testing (IgE mediated reactions) which involves the skin reactivity to injected allergens. They often test for environmental allergens (such as pollen, dust, mold, cats and dogs, etc). They do not typically test for IgG reactions which is what I am testing for in my practice. Testing for IgE reactions is absolutely beneficial if your Medical Doctor has suggested it, however as I stated above, IgE testing is different from IgG testing and treats a different variety of symptoms.
What does Food Sensitivity Testing Test for?
There are several panels to choose from, including a Vegetarian panel. The panels test for different meats, grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and more. Cost depends on the number of foods tested.
How is the Food Sensitivity Test performed?
I collect the blood sample in office via a finger prick. A small sample of blood is collected in a tube and sent off to a lab. Collection takes approximately 15 minutes and it takes about 2 weeks for your results to come back. At that point we eliminate all moderate and severe reacting foods, in addition to supplements I will prescribe to aid in reducing levels of inflammation in your body. We typically do a follow up appointment in 4 to 6 weeks to monitor your progress.
Do IgG positive foods have to be avoided forever?
No! I ask that my patients be as strict as possible in avoiding the foods for the first 4 weeks. We work to reduce inflammation and heal the digestive system, as well as address stress levels, and monitor your progress. Based on your progress and your symptoms, we can eventually look at reintroducing foods back into your diet.
Antigen load plays a role in your reactions so you may find that if you are eating a lot of your reactive foods, your symptoms come back or worsen. In addition if you are more stressed, sleeping less, or feeling run down, your immune system will be able to handle a lower level of these food antigens.
As you can see, Food Sensitivity Testing is a vital part of treating many health concerns as well as optimizing your health and wellness. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at my NW Calgary Naturopathic Medicine practice at (403) 719-2594.
Naturopathic Vitality Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic
205-5403 Crowchild Trail NW