Food Sensitivity & Allergy Testing

 
 

An estimated 30% of people have food sensitivities.  

Healthy foods you're eating may not be so healthy for you and could actually be causing inflammation in your body.  Let us help you uncover the eating regimen that's right for you based on your genetics, digestion, microbiome and your current diet.  Identifying food sensitivities can be the key to permanent weight loss for some and is  a great compliment to any personalized nutrition program.

Image Credit: Oxford Technologies

Image Credit: Oxford Technologies

 

What is the difference between food allergies, food sensitivities, food intolerance? 

The short answer is that food allergies reflect an immediate reaction to ingesting a food (within seconds to 1 hour) whereas food sensitivities reflect a delayed reaction to a food (1 hour to days).  Most people are aware of the foods they’re allergic to. Because of the time between ingesting the problematic food and experiencing a reaction,  a food sensitivity may be less obvious and require more investigation. Food intolerance is caused by difficulty digesting a particular food, usually resulting in digestive symptoms within a few hours of ingestion.

What conditions are related to food sensitivities? 

Too many to name! Autism/ADHD, Autoimmune Disease, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Sinusitis, Crohn's disease, Digestive Disorders, Fibromyalgia, Headaches/Migraines, Heartburn/GERD, Irritable bowel syndrome, Joint Pain, Insomnia, Muscle Pain, Skin conditions, Weight Imbalances, Ulcerative Colitis

How are food sensitivities found? 

The most common ways to identify food sensitivities are through trying a structured elimination/rotation diet  or by doing a food sensitivity test that looks for immune reactions to a pre-determined list of foods.

 
 

My food sensitivity test is negative for wheat, does this mean I’m not sensitive?

No! Specialized panels are newly available to test specifically for wheat, dairy, and corn sensitivity. Read more here about how to properly test for wheat/gluten sensitivity, dairy sensitivity, and corn sensitivity.

What types of food sensitivity tests are available? Which is best for me? 

You and your healthcare provider can discuss which test is the best option for you.  There are 4 main types of food sensitivity testing available: IgG, IgA, ALCAT, and MRT.  Food allergy testing measures levels of IgE antibodies to foods.

IgG testing

Measures the levels of IgG circulating in your blood that is produced in response to certain foods.  The benefit with IgG testing is some delayed reactions to foods can be identified and the results are reproducible.  The limitation is that with this test, only one mechanism of food sensitivity is being measured when there are others to consider.  Also, with IgG testing, foods will only show up as "reactive" if you have eaten them recently, so sensitivities to foods that have not been part of your diet will not be detected.  

MRT

Measures several immune related reactions to foods, IgG as well as other mechanisms.  One of the advantages of the MRT test is that the blood is exposed to the foods, so they do not have to be eaten in order for a sensitivity to be detected. Some of the drawbacks of the test are the higher price point and fewer foods can be tested compared to the other tests available.  

ALCAT

Measures release of inflammatory chemicals from one type of white blood cell called neutrophils.  Some of the drawbacks of this test are reproducibility and sensitivity.  Sometimes ALCAT test results can show too many sensitivities that would equate with following an overly restrictive diet. The test was invented by the same scientist that developed MRT, so MRT is considered the newer, improved version of ALCAT.

Does Insurance cover food sensitivity testing?

Insurance does not cover food sensitivity testing in the state of Illinois. However coverage can vary from state to state.