If you’ve read my other articles, you know I’m straight to the point. 🙂 So to answer directly for those that don’t enjoy reading, no. You likely don’t need a food sensitivity test. For those that want an explanation, continue on for the full version.
What is a food sensitivity test?
First, you need to understand the difference between IgE and IgG tests. An IgE test is an Immunoglobulin E mediated reaction, which is a type of antibody. These are made by the immune system to protect the body from viruses, bacteria, and allergens. These can cause acute or delayed reactions, and range from things like rashes, to swelling, and even the extreme anaphylaxis.
And IgG test is an Immunoglobulin G reaction, which measures undigested food particles (proteins) that have crossed the gastrointestinal tract and entered the blood stream. This creates an immune defense as well, but unlike an IgE test, it does not release histamine or produce reactions like those above. Instead, these present with more subtle reactions like headaches, bloating, or fatigue.
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Why don’t I need this?
When I first learned about IgG testing, I was ecstatic. My immediate reaction was to test anyone and everyone, knowing that we all likely have food sensitivities. But, the more I dug into functional medicine, and the more I heard other practitioners’ stories, the less I began to use them myself.
The thing is, we do all have food sensitivities. I’ve yet to meet a person without some. But, that’s not the issue- it’s the reliability and lack of addressing the root cause that leads me to tell clients not to bother with them.
First, there is simply not enough data to support the reliability of these tests. There have been several studies out there running identical samples, under different names to the same labs. Well guess what? Different results. And others have run identical samples to different labs, and different results there as well. That’s a huge issue for me. Why spend the money on that (they aren’t cheap!) if you can’t be guaranteed that those foods are indeed causing your reactions?
On top of that, I’ve seen multiple clients with over 20 food sensitivities. So then they are expected to eliminate those foods for a period of time. The problem with that is that then, people begin to experience nutrient deficiencies because they are lacking a varied diet. That’s just going to lead to further problems.
The root cause
As I mentioned above, we all have food sensitivities. I’m not denying that. And even if you were lucky enough to get a valid test (Cyrex Array 10 is one that is pretty darn accurate from what I’ve heard), it doesn’t address the real problem. A food sensitivity is simply a symptom that something is imbalanced in the gut. Unfortunately, just by eliminating those foods, you are not getting to the source of the problem.
When you have multiple food sensitivities, you’ve got to understand the problem underneath that. What is going on in the gut? By addressing the gut and working with the client to identify food issues via elimination (THE most effective way to determine food sensitivities), healing can be restored and those IgG responses disappear.
If you’re worried about food sensitivities, do yourself a favor and skip the testing completely. Find a practitioner who can help you navigate potential triggers (salicylates, oxalates, gluten, etc), and go from there. Save yourself the money and put it towards some truly effective testing, like the GI Map to see what’s going on IN the gut.
If you know you’ve got some food issues, and need a bit of a jump start to healthier eating, CLICK HERE to download my FREE 5 DAY HEALTHY EATING PLAN complete with recipes!