Food Sensitivity Testing

Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Intolerances

Adverse reactions to foods may be associated with mild or severe health concerns. Immediate food allergies are known to affect just 4% of the population, whereas the less recognised food sensitivities and intolerances are becoming far more common in Australia.

Food sensitivities frequently remain unrecognised. One reason is the majority of allergy specialists in Australia only test for IgE-mediated allergies rather than sensitivities, and most IgE blood panels only check for 5-10 common dietary allergens.

Testing for food sensitivities

Which health issues may food testing assist with?

There is an almost endless list of symptoms and health concerns which may be traditionally associated with unrecognised food sensitivities and intolerances; some of these may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Low Mood
  • Weight Gain
  • Difficulty Losing Weight
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Poor Memory
  • Arthritis
  • Thyroid Issues
  • Asthma
  • Ear Infections
  • Poor Focus and Concentration
  • Bedwetting
  • Fluid Retention
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Flatulence/Wind
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Bloating
  • Inflammation

More About Food Sensitivity Testing

What is the difference between Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Intolerances?

Food Allergies:
Currently in Australia only an Immunoglobulin E (IgE) reaction to a food is known as a ‘true’ food allergy. These are reactions to foods that involve the immune system’s IgE antibodies, and are the most severe and acute type of reaction.

IgE allergy reactions may be simple to recognise. They occur quickly after contact with the allergic substance and have a more severe reaction. An example of an IgE allergic response is an anaphylaxis reaction to peanuts, swelling up after a bee sting, or coming out in hives after eating a certain food.

Food Sensitivities:
A food sensitivity is similar to a food allergy in that it involves the immune system, however, this time Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is the culprit. IgG sensitivities are not technically viewed as allergies in Australia, and are therefore often ignored by conventional medicine; however, they may be far more common.

IgG food sensitivity symptoms are milder than classic IgE allergy response and may include digestive upsets, fatigue, low mood, fluid retention or joint pain. Symptoms may take longer to appear, and might not be evident for several hours or even days after exposure to the food, which makes it difficult to link the offending food to the symptoms or health problems.

Food Intolerances:
Food intolerances are a little different, in that it is due to a simple chemical reaction which does not involve the immune system. A common example is when a person is missing an enzyme to be able to break down a certain food. Since this food hasn’t been broken down by the digestive system as it should be, it may then create problems further down the digestive tract and cause symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea or cramping. A common food intolerance in adults is lactose-intolerance.

Another example of food intolerance is the food substance tyrosine. Found in wine and cheese, tyrosine can cause migraines in some people by triggering the dilation of blood vessels in the brain.

 

Why may we develop food sensitivities?

We may develop food sensitivities due to digestive factors, immune factors, and/or inflammatory factors.

Some possible associations include:

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • A lack of good bacteria in the digestive tract
  • Intestinal hyperpermeability (often referred to as ‘leaky gut’)
  • Low stomach acid
  • Lack of digestive enzymes
  • Lack of essential fatty acids
  • A diet high in refined and processed foods
  • Being introduced to solid foods before the digestive system is ready
  • Overindulgence in the same foods.
  • Poor eating habits.

 

Which foods do we test?

There are many different food testing panels and tests to choose from!
A common example is the IgG and IgA food sensitivity panel which includes over ninety different foods:

Dairy: Casein, Cheese (Cheddar, Cottage, Mozzarella), Milk (Cows, Goat), Whey, Yoghurt.

Fruits: Apple, Apricot, Banana, Blueberry, Coconut, Cranberry, Grape, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Papaya, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plum, Raspberry, Strawberry.

Grains/Legumes/Nuts: Almond, Amaranth, Barley, Beans (Kidney, Lima, Pinto), Buckwheat, Corn, Filbert (Hazelnut), Gliadin (Wheat), Gluten (Wheat), Lentil, Oats, Peas, Peanut, Pecan, Rice (White), Rye, Sesame, Soybean, Spelt, String Beans, Sunflower, Walnut, Wheat (Whole).

Vegetables: Asparagus, Avocado, Beet, Broccoli, Cabbage (White), Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Garlic, Lettuce, Mushroom (Common), Olive (Black), Onion (White), Pepper (Green Bell), Potato (White, Sweet), Pumpkin, Radish, Spinach (Green), Tomato (Red), Zucchini.

Meat/Fowl: Beef, Chicken, Egg White (Chicken), Egg Yolk (Chicken), Lamb, Pork, Turkey.

Fish/Seafood: Clam (Manila), Cod (Atlantic), Crab (Dungeness), Halibut, Lobster, Oyster, Red Snapper, Salmon (Pacific), Shrimp (Western), Sole, Tuna (Yellowfin).

Misc: Cocoa Bean, Coffee Bean, Honey, Sugar Cane, Yeast (Bakers), Yeast (Brewers).

 

What is the cost involved?

There are many different options for food testing panels. The most common food test laboratory fee for a sensitivity panel is $265 – $355 depending on the test you choose or which best suits your needs. Food intolerances are approximately $50 per food being tested.

When we receive your results from the laboratory our practice charges $45 for your naturopath to analyse your results and create an individualised program to support your health. Food sensitivity support may include a period of elimination of certain foods, and digestive, immune and/or inflammatory support.

What happens once I have my results?

For IgG food sensitivities a short program is integrated aiming to correct the issues which have allowed the food sensitivity to develop in the first place. This may include a period of elimination of certain foods, and digestive, immune and/or inflammatory support.

For food intolerances, specifically designed digestive enzymes may be taken with meals that include the offending food to assist your body to break down the food.

Let us guide you to a happier, healthier you.