Testing for Allergies
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Food Sensitivity Testing
My sister has recently had some testing done for food sensitivities, and has been told she needs to eliminate many many things from her diet to regain a sense of well- being (eggs, wheat, gluten, peas, corn, beans, most nuts, all dairy). Needless to say, very restrictive. I've been reading with interest the recent posts on this subject and have some questions about the testing itself that is used to determine those foods that someone is sensitive to. Firstly, are all of these tests created equal, or is one test more ''sensitive'' than another? Is there a gold standard for this test? Are there different ways to interpret the resuls? Are some folks more skilled than others in interpreting the results? Who around here provides the most accurate testing and the best counsel once the results are determined? Many thanks for your insights. Signed: Learning to live with fewer choices
We have a daughter who has a lot of food allergies who was tested by the blood test method. I myself have also seen an allergist recently at PAMF - Palo Alto Medical Foundation. They said that the blood test is pretty good, but prefer to use the skin prick test which is a lot more accurate and gives instant results.
We are actually meeting with them on Thursday to arrange for a skin prick test in the next few weeks to retest her as it's been 2.5 years since her first test.
We've attacked the change in diet pretty much head on which is the best way to tackle the situation. Don't think of it in terms of what you can't have and in a negative view, but more about how you can achieve foods that you want to eat with a new approach. It's actually quite a lot of fun trying to figure out new recipes and we're pretty lucky that health food shops provide a lot of support for allergies. Rice bread and millet bread from wholefoods instead of regular bread. Rice pastas .. etc
You can exchange eggs for egg replacer to make things like cakes, breads and pancakes. Using rice, quinoa, millet and other replacements instead of what, corn.
It's always worth getting a second opinion from another doctor if you want to be sure.
Good luck for your sister and hope she embraces the change instead of dreading it. yjb
I can't tell you about testing, but I can say that if your sister is ill from possible food allergies or sensitivities it makes sense to eliminate all the culprit foods for several weeks (or recommended time) and add them back one by one. (Elimination or rotation diet). She will find out which one/s are really the culprits. Been there
Really, the way to find out is to eliminate those foods for at least a full month and slowly add them back in. She is firstly likely to feel a lot better, though frustrated, with figuring out how to implement the changes. Except in the case of gluten, where she could be celiac and have no symptoms, she will likely be able to tell a difference when she adds the foods in.
Keep in mind that a food sensitivity is different than an intolerance or an allergy. A food sensitivity should come with a ranking of some sort. Some foods might, for example, fall into the never eat catagory, whereas others will fall into the not more than once a week catagory. If she has not been talked to about food rotation, then she should do some reading up on it. Food sensitivities can change over time, but pretty much, except for eggs, and only when they are high quality free-range organic eggs, I am still sensitive to the same foods 14 years after I was tested. Wheat was in the original never eat catagory and I later discovered I am celiac. Foods that were listed as me being less sensitive to, and recommended to eat once a week or less, still affect my health when I eat those foods more often.
Just a note - is her dairy ALL dairy or COW dairy? That might be a good one to ask about or test. My son cannot do cow dairy at all. Goat and sheep dairy are totally fine however. found the testing accurate
Dr. Sicherer and his colleagues have done much research on this. They are the cited sources for the food allergy article on Wikipedia and Dr. Sicherer has a well written book that answers your questions. In specifics, they focus only on immune mediated analysis and in particular, on Ig allergies, in other words allergies that involve antibody reactions. None of their testing is fool proof and Dr. Sicherer explains why and when the errors occur.
No matter what test you use, there will always be false negatives and false positives. The only way to know for sure what you can tolerate is to go on a minimum diet (like rice and lamb) see how you feel, and add things back slowly as you check reactions. anon
My husband has just gone through the ''gold standard'' of food intolerance testing. Apparently the blood tests often give a lot of false positives and not really that accurate. This testing is done by analyzing fecal matter...(I know, gross for me to even write it).
It's done through this lab...http://www.enterolab.com/ which was recommended by my husband's rheumatologist (he has psoriatic arthritis which he suspected has been caused by years of food related allergies).
It surprisingly was even covered by our insurance. Of course now he is on a gluten free diet (not fun) lisa