IgG & IgA Food Intolerance ("Allergy") Testing
Food sensitivity (or food intolerance) testing useful guide for structuring diets in many chronic conditions. Patients with these IgG sensitivities often are eating offending foods unaware of their potential effects. IgG food sensitivities are not the same as the IgE histamine reaction. The anaphylactic IgE food allergy causes the release of histamine, producing an immediate hypersensitivity reaction, in which symptoms appear within minutes or hours (symptoms including swelling, breathing difficulty, rash, itching skin or even anaphylactic shock). In contrast, food sensitivity is a non-IgE allergy characterized by the presence an immune reaction to food proteins, either systemically (IgG) or in the mucous membranes (IgA). These food sensitivities are a delayed hypersensitivity reaction in which symptoms appear anywhere from hours to days after eating the offending food.
Food Sensitivity Testing
Testing for IgG and IgA food intolerances/sensitivities is confusing for many doctors, as they not typically trained on this type of reaction, as it is neither obvious nor life-threatening. However, food intolerances gaining public awareness as people are removing offending food groups and then noticing improvement in their chronic disease symptoms. Unfortunately though, there is some conflicting evidence on the comparison of IgG versus IgE and the testing behind it. Keep in mind that they are different ‘branches’ of your immune system and being allergic to a food doesn’t mean you are intolerant and vice versa.
The food intolerance/sensitivity test serves as a guideline to help patients determine the top foods to rotate out and make the most effective dietary changes before re-introducing it at a later date. Typically, when we identify the intolerance, we have a patient stop the food completely for four to six weeks (and in some cases much longer) to evaluate what has improved before even considering eating it again. With reintroduction, sometimes symptoms immediately return and they avoid the food completely, while others find an offending food is ‘okay’ at small doses or at infrequent intervals. There is no ‘black and white’ with intolerance/sensitivity testing which is why we run the test as a good place to start.
While there is no gold standard food sensitivity test, we have been able to use the results to help guide patients in a reasonable way that makes sense to systematically remove certain food(s) to help figure out the root cause of some of their lifelong symptoms. Does it work? Yes, very often it does. We regularly receive patient testimonials about the life changing effects the test and subsequent elimination has created. Patients whose chronic headaches disappear, PMS balances out, depression lifts, fatigue improves, sleep resumes, joint pain eases, skin rashes go away, behavior changes for the better, bloating diminishes, weight loss occurs, bowels normalize and more.
If you are interested in a deeper root cause approach to your symptoms, getting tested for you and your family may make sense. Call us to talk to a provider that will work collaboratively with you to help figure your food issues out. Remember, you are what you eat. We're here to help!