People often confuse food allergy vs. food sensitivity. Let us clear the muddy waters for you.

What is a food allergy?

When the immune system is activated from Leaky Gut, it may produce antibodies that fight the problem. This is a food allergy. Three types of antibodies respond to the food particles in the bloodstream, and each of them says something different about how the body is responding to the matter in the blood.

  • IgE antibodies are the most severe, and they create a ‘true allergic” response. This can lead to an anaphylactic reaction when sever.
  • IgG antibodies are delayed in their response to food, but still, indicate hypersensitivity to a certain food. This simply means the response is not typically immediate like an anaphylactic reaction would be. This sensitivity causes symptoms such as inflammation, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
  • IgA antibodies are also a delayed type of hypersensitivity, and these happen in secretions (sweat, oil, breast milk, etc.) and can be localized to digestive complaints as well such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, constipation, etc.

All of these antibodies can readily be tested in the blood or stool.

What is a food sensitivity?

Food sensitivity can also be a consequence of Leaky Gut but is not as easy to test. Sensitivity is as any adverse reaction to food, without a positive antibody test. There are several examples of food sensitivities:

  • Food intolerance: poor digestion of a particular food (ex: lactose or fructose intolerance) due to suspected enzyme deficiency.
  • Genetic susceptibility to certain foods like in Celiac disease.
  • Increased inflammatory markers in the gut like histamine.

How do you test for food allergies and sensitivities?

While there is not a test that covers everything involving food allergy and sensitivity, there are several tests that give us enough insight to make a solid plan with food to heal these issues and restore the body. The tests vary in what they tell you, method and analysis, and the accuracy of the information given. Here’s a brief overview of a few of the tests:

  • Alcat: The ALCAT test, or antigen leukocyte antibody test, is one that claims to measure adverse reactions to foods. This would show IgG or IgA antibodies.
  • RAST: RAST stands for “radioallergosorbent.” RAST tests are a safe way to test for food allergies because they use radioactivity to test, but the cost is expensive. This tests for IgE antibodies.
  • SPT: The skin prick test (SPT) measures the amount of IgE antibodies to determine food allergies. SPTs are inexpensive, and they produce immediate results, but they must be performed in the doctor’s office.
  • IgG Testing: In IgG testing, we test the blood or stool for IgG antibodies instead of IgE antibodies. IgG signifies sensitivity to food, not allergy to food.
  • Energetic testing (Applied Kinesiology): AK exposes the patient to various foods by having them hold it or by bringing it close to the body. Then, we test muscle strength through pressure on an arm at full extension. This kind of test does not necessarily show how we digest food but our natural aversion to food.

The gold standard for testing which foods you react to is the elimination diet. This entails removing all foods from your diet except a select few (like rice and chicken) and then adding a new food every three days. This can be time-consuming and arduous, but offers the best results! Please consult your doctor before attempting this test!

Something about opinions…

The above tests show how certain foods don’t agree with our body, but ultimately, the goal is to help you understand that food IS medicine, and if you can learn how to use food, then you can manage your health!  Ignore the fad diets, confusing terms, and taking every test available; instead, focus on what is right for YOU and what makes you feel amazing. The ultimate goal is to have healthy absorption and bacterial balance, and this is possible by creating a personalized plan custom to fit your life. There are also questioning whether is hash brown healthy. If you want to know, you can check out this article.

We have a wonderfully high-quality and straightforward food testing program, learn more about how you can get tested here.

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NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel, Boyce JA, Assa’ad A, Burks AW, Jones SM, Sampson HA, Wood RA, Plaut M, Cooper SF, Fenton MJ, Arshad SH, Bahna SL, Beck LA, Byrd-Bredbenner C, Camargo CA Jr, Eichenfield L, Furuta GT, Hanifin JM, Jones C, Kraft M, Levy BD, Lieberman P, Luccioli S, McCall KM, Schneider LC, Simon RA, Simons FE, Teach SJ, Yawn BP, Schwaninger JM. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy in the United States: report of the NIAID-sponsored expert panel. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Dec;126(6 Suppl):S1-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.10.007. PMID: 21134576; PMCID: PMC4241964.

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