Food Sensitivity Testing
By Katrina Traikov ND
What’s the difference between a food intolerance, a food allergy and a food sensitivity?
A food intolerance is typically any adverse reaction or perceived adverse reaction to a food that is not a true food allergy (i.e. not mediated by IgE antibodies).
Food allergies involve IgE antibodies and histamine. The skin prick test in an allergist’s office tests for this type of antibody (IgE). Allergic reactions typically come on suddenly. Common symptoms of food allergies include itching and hives, and in severe cases, swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat.
Food sensitivities are typically mediated by IgG antibodies. In contrast to IgE antibodies, IgG antibodies can cause delayed reactions to common foods. Clinically, food sensitivities can be associated with a broad range of symptoms affecting almost any system in the body including: IBS, migraines, headaches, joint pain, muscle soreness, low energy, eczema, psoriasis, Crohn’s, colitis, acid-reflux, ADHD, brain-fog and weight gain. Most of the food sensitivity research has been done with migraines and IBS.
IgG reactions are typically more gradual than reactions triggered by IgE antibodies. They are also typically delayed, ocurring hours to days after eating a given food. This can make food sensitivities hard to pin down, as symptoms become our new normal.
The Food Sensitivity Test
At Valley Naturopath, we offer two options for determining if food sensitivities may be contributing to your symptoms. An ELISA blood test which identifies IgG antibodies to 120 common foods, or an Elimination-Challenge diet where common or suspected foods are removed from the diet for a period of time and then reintroduced in a specific way to see if there is an effect on your symptoms.
Typically, for those who choose to do so, we use the results of the blood test to guide a more specific Elimination-Challenge diet to see if the foods that tested positively on the test re-create your symptoms after being eliminated and then reintroduced into your diet in a specific way.
Does this mean I can no longer eat these foods?
Not necessarily. Ultimately it is about learning to recognize how certain foods affect you, learning to listen to your body and figuring out what works best for you – with the help of your healthcare provider.
ASK THE EXPERT:
Katrina Traikov ND
(out of Active Chiropractic)
1169 Pembroke Street East,
Originally published in Health Matters magazine, Summer 2015