Will Comprehensive Testing Determine Your Food Intolerance?
Are you tired of feeling discomfort after eating? If so, you are not alone. More and more people seem to be experiencing symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, or nausea after eating a meal. Since it’s no fun to feel discomfort after eating a wholesome, and satisfying meal, many people are looking for ways to determine why their food is literally making them sick. If you are suffering with this problem, you are probably stymied to decide which test to use from the plethora of self-tests on the market. Some show promising results while others may be giving their users both false positives and false negatives. The best route is to see a medical practitioner who can try to help you determine what foods are hurting you. The first goal is to determine if you have a food allergy, a food intolerance, or a food sensitivity.
What is a Food Allergy?
Food allergies affect the immune system and cause it to release antibodies to fight the food it sees as a threat. Food allergies cause allergic reactions like hives, swelling, shortness of breath, or anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction.
Are There Tests for Food Allergies?
First, health care practitioners take a detailed family history and do a physical exam to check for underlying problems. One type of test is the skin prick test. It is used to see if a particular food will cause a reaction. A small amount of the suspected food is placed on the skin of your forearm or back and then a health professional uses a needle to prick your skin with a needle to allow a tiny amount of the substance to penetrate the skin. A raised bump or rash may signal that you are allergic to that food; however, a positive result isn’t always an accurate indicator. Another type of test is the skin patch test. A bandage or patch containing the suspected allergen is placed on the skin and then examined by a medical practitioner for redness or skin irritation 48 later. While extremely rare, this type of testing could produce analeptic shock in those highly allergic individuals. Blood tests are also used to look for food allergens. A small sample of blood is taken and sent to a laboratory and tested using a variety of foods. The blood test measures your body’s response to certain substances by measuring the allergy related antibody known as immunoglobin E or (IgE). While blood testing is extremely safe, it also has a high rate of false positives. The false testing positive of any of these tests can be as high as about 50 to 60%.
What is a Food Sensitivity?
A food sensitivity is more difficult to diagnose than a food allergy because it triggers a somewhat similar but delayed reaction of up to 72 hours. The problem with this delayed response is that you have eaten a variety of foods in that 72- hour window. Symptoms may affect the skin, as in rashes or puffiness; or can also manifest themselves in the digestive system as in stomach cramping or nausea; or may be respiratory in nature, like shortness of breath or wheezing.
Are There Tests for Food Sensitivities?
Antibody based food sensitivity tests are available from many manufacturers and with many brand names. They measure your of IgE antibodies in relationship to the foods you eat. They may or may not be reliable. The best way to test for food sensitivities is probably the elimination diet. Once again, the best solution is to contact a medical specialist or practitioner for guidance.
What is A Food Intolerance?
A food intolerance is when your digestive system can’t digest or break down a certain food. Symptoms of a food intolerance usually occur with a few hours as the food makes its way through your digestive tract. These symptoms, while painful, are not life-threatening and may include bloating, gas, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, and intense abdominal pain. The most common food intolerances are lactose, histamine, and gluten. Lactose intolerant people don’t make enough of the lactase enzyme needed to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. Histamines are naturally occurring chemicals in foods like cheese, bananas, avocados, chocolate, and pineapples. Histamine intolerant people don’t make enough diamine oxidase enzyme to break down the histamine. Gluten, the protein in wheat, rye, and barley, can be hard for those with a gluten sensitivity to digest.
What causes Food Intolerance?
Experts aren’t exactly sure why people suddenly become intolerant of a food that they have eaten for years; however, these people often have stopped making an enzyme that their digestive system needs to break down a certain food or ingredient in that food. Celiac disease, Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis may make someone more prone to developing a food intolerance.
Are There Tests for Food Intolerance?
A hydrogen breath test can test to see if you are lactose intolerant. With this test, you will drink a liquid containing lactose. Then over the next few hours, you will breathe into a balloon-like object which measures the hydrogen in your breath. If you are lactose intolerant, your breath will contain high levels of hydrogen. There isn’t a test for gluten sensitivity or histamine intolerance. The best way to test for these intolerances is with an elimination diet or keeping a food journal. Testing for food intolerances can be lengthy and somewhat unreliable.
Are There Comprehensive Tests Available?
Unfortunately, tests for foods that will upset your digestive system can be unreliable. Most medical agree that the elimination diet is the best test to determine which foods bother you. You will be asked to eliminate suspect foods for a week or two and gradually add them back one at a time. While this is a lengthy process that involves a lot of commitment on your part and with your medical practitioner, most people in the medical field agree that the elimination test is the most reliable test with the best results.
How can Androgenix Help?
If you want to live your best life, the medical practitioners at Androgenix are here to help. If you have any questions about your diet, please contact us with your questions. If you are concerned about how to ensure you are giving your body what it needs to be at its best or have any other concerns about any areas of your health, please contact our office and make an appointment with our staff to get complete blood work-up, and a complete physical examination. Our staff of caring healthcare practitioners are here to answer your questions and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you. You will be monitored by our team for treatment effectiveness and side effects of any recommended treatment on a regular basis. Our team at Androgenix is always here to support your journey to a better, healthier, and happier you.
- Do Food Sensitivity Tests Work? – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
- Food allergy – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic
- Allergy Blood Test vs. Skin Test: Which Is Better? (verywellhealth.com)
- Food Intolerance: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options (clevelandclinic.org)
- Food Sensitivity Tests: Which ones REALLY Work? (precisionnutrition.com)
- The science and pseudoscience of food allergy and intolerance testing – Monash Lens
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.