Are food sensitivity tests accurate?


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There are certain people who feel sick, obnoxious, and restless on consuming certain food items irrelevant to their nutrient value. Such food items can make them sensitive and uncomfortable while showing symptoms like physical irritation, and so on. It is very difficult for people who are not aware of this condition to find out which food item irritated as the after-effects show up after a few hours or even later. The irritation is shown by the body in ways like headache, swelling, inability to breathe, rashes, digestive issues, etc. To know which food items cause such issues, food sensitivity testing doctors put you under some tests.

Every food test 

Tests can be done for all types of food-related irritations. There are specifically three types of issues based on the serious effects they show on people, namely – food allergy, food sensitivity, and food intolerance. The food items typically work inside the body and release substances that shrink the White Blood Cells, causing irritation and many other types of adverse effects. 

People mostly get confused between the three types and are often defined as almost the same. But food allergy is something that shows potential actions that are capable of threatening one’s life, and the Immunoglobulin E antibodies of the immune system are also involved in this. On the other hand, food sensitivities and food intolerances are not at all life-threatening, though, can cause severe irritation and make you unwell.

Food sensitivity blood test

What Is the Best Food Sensitivity Test?

There are a lot of types of blood tests done to diagnose food sensitivity; though, there is no definite evidence to support the fact that blood tests can evidently diagnose them. People generally prefer searching for a ‘food sensitivity test near me’ which eventually results in them ending up for blood tests. All the tests that are conducted to find out about allergies mostly look for the IgE. 

  • Skin pricks and blood tests are made to be done by people to check or measure IgE, which is also used in turn to diagnose them. If the IgE is presently found in the blood, then it is sure that the immune system of the body is reacting. 
  • Blood tests or other food sensitivity tests also search for the presence of IgG in the blood, which is not believed to use for the identification of food sensitivities, allergies, and irritation. People generally release these antibodies on frequently eating certain things or on eating some particular item in the past. But they cannot be counted as an indicator of a person’s sensitivity.

The best thing to do

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Now that you know that IgG tests are not a proven basis to diagnose food allergies or sensitivities, what would you do? If you are unsure about the substance in your food routine, which is causing you irritation or symptoms of allergy, you should visit a doctor. Some people might even try using an at-home food sensitivity test kit for convenience. Yes, that could be really cost-effective and convenient to use, but you should, in such serious conditions, consult a doctor rather than finding treatment on your own. 

  • Visit a doctor, explain to him your food routine, tell him about the irritation and symptoms.
  • He would let you know if you would have to visit a specialist, i.e., allergist for further help.
  • Enquire your practitioner about the allergy, follow the course of medicines and try to keep safe from the next time

But then, are food sensitivity tests accurate? How would you know? Here are some of the tests which are considered to identify such irritations – 

  1. Elimination Diet and Challenge Test

How to Do an Elimination Diet and Why

If you are prone to some kind of food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity, your allergist would put you under the gold standard. Here, he would make a list of all those items to which your body becomes uncomfortable, which is also known as the elimination diet. Then those selected eliminated items are later on introduced to your body again to check for symptoms, which is known as the ‘oral challenge.’ It only takes a time period of 5-6 weeks, and at that time, you might experience nausea, gas, digestive issues, bloating, etc. One has to be very cautious while undergoing this process because you have to record all the food ingredients you include in your meals to recognize the allergen.

  1. Cell-based Test

Cell-Based Assays | Life Sciences | SGS

The banned cell-based tests have been reintroduced by immunologists who have improved and automated this testing technology. There are two cell-based tests available – MRT and ALCAT.

  • Mediator Release Test (MRT) – in this procedure, the blood sample is derived with the help of a patented test kit. It is checked whether the white blood cells on exposure to certain food ingredients shrink, and the blood ratio of solid to liquid is disturbed. If this happens, then it is sure that the immune system is reacting to that ingredient. This happens due to the release of chemical mediators like histamine and leukotrienes into the body by the food antigen. Your medical practitioner would put you under the LEAP diet, which means Lifestyle Eating and Performance. 
  • Antigen Leukocyte Cellular Antibody Test (ALCAT) – this process was initially used even before the use of MRT and is somewhat considered as less efficient and accurate. Still, some practitioners still use this method for the identification of allergy-causing food antigens. This process only studies or analyzes the change in the shape and size of your white blood cells and not in the change in the ratio of solid to liquid. This is exactly the part that makes it less accurate for the detection of allergen. This process of ALCAT-based diets might give you relief from IBS symptoms like gas, abdominal pain, etc. but will not be able to improve your quality of life.
  1. Other tests

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If you are consulting a naturopath, chiropractor, or environmental medicine doctor, the practitioner might prefer certain other types of tests like Electrodermal Screening, Muscle Response Test, and Provocation Tests.

Food sensitivity home test kit

At-Home Food Sensitivity Test | Everlywell

As mentioned earlier, at-home food sensitivity kits might tempt you because it is a pocket-friendly as well as a convenient option. But you cannot completely rely on such kits as they might asses IgG antibodies of your immune system, which have as yet not been proved to be an effective identifier of allergens.