Food Allergy - testing for

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I rarely do food allergy tests because people misinterpret them as what is or is not safe to eat. No test can mimic what goes on in the body after food has been chewed, swallowed, digested and absorbed! Food reactions may result not just from allergy, but poor digestion of food or gut fermentation. Furthermore allergy reactions to food change with time - if you have avoided a food for some time you may be tolerant of the occasional exposure. This does not apply if you have ever had an anaphyslactic reaction!

A further problem with allergy tests is the high numbers of false positives and false negatives. Many doctors will tell patients that they are not allergic, and therefore they can eat anything, because the tests are negative. This is misleading.

My work up to diagnose food allergy is to start with the Stone Age Diet - this eliminates the three top allergens namely grains, dairy products and yeast. It helps to eliminate other problems such as hypoglycaemia, reactions to which may be confused with allergy reaction.

If allergy symptoms persist, then one may need to do further detective work either on a best guess basis, or possibly a rare foods diet, or rotation diet. If there are multiple allergies then I start desensitisation such as Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation (EPD) - how it works.

Available tests

  • Antigliadin antibodies for wheat: one of the commonest foods causing problems is wheat protein, namely gluten. However, there are other antibodies associated with this problem, namely anti-endomysial antibody and anti-reticulin antibody. For example, antigliadin antibodies test can be used to diagnose coeliac disease (allergy to gluten), but it will not pick out all those patients who would respond to a wheat-free diet. This is because they may be allergic to wheat starch and not to gluten. The point here is that a negative test does not mean it is safe to eat gluten grains!
  • FACT test: - The Food Allergen Cellular Test - This is probably the most useful of the blood tests for food allergies since it looks at leucotriene production in response to various foods. Please see here - Positive Health webpage on FACT
  • Neutralisation - It is also possible to diagnose food allergies by using neutralisation.

Other Allergens: dusts, pollens and animals

Most of the reactions to dusts, pollens and animals (fur and feathers) are mediated via IgE antibodies and can be tested for by skin test or antibody levels (common inhalant profile IgE - house dust mite, comprehensive grass mix, cultivated rye, comprehensive tree mix, comprehensive weed mix, cat, dog, horse, comprehensive mould). To find a practitioner who uses the method of skin testing, please visit British Society for Ecological Medicine then contact individual practitioners.

Allergen Group Tests: there are also tests that measure levels of IgE antibodies to certain groups of allergens:

  • Insect Allergen Panel: bee, wasp, hornet (and optional additional mosquito).
  • Comprehensive Animal Allergen Panel: cat, dog, horse, cow, guinea pig, rabbit, rat, mouse.
  • Bird Keeper's Allergen Panel: bird feathers - budgerigar, canary, parakeet, parrot, finch.

Because there are so many tests for allergens, they are not all on the website. If you want to try something like this, just tell us what you want

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