Food sensitivity tests can be somewhat of a controversial topic. Is the money worth it? Are they even accurate? I finally decided to take the plunge and take a food sensitivity test. So, I’m sharing all the deets about food sensitivities and why I decided to take a test myself!
As I sit here and start to write this, I’m anxiously awaiting the return of my food sensitivity test results. Taking a food sensitivity test is something I’ve considered doing for years now, but I kept putting it off for many reasons:
1) It’s expensive!
2) How accurate is it really?
3) Am I actually willing to cut out the foods I react to?
At this point in my life and health journey, I’ve decided that yes, a food sensitivity test is worth it. So, I’m going to share all details of food sensitivities, lab tests, and why I finally decided to take a test myself.
The Basics of Food Sensitivities
First, let’s talk about difference between food allergies and sensitivities. These terms are often incorrectly used interchangeably, so it’s fundamental to understand the difference between the two:
Food Allergies (IgE)
Food allergies are an immediate, and often anaphylactic, immune response to a food. This IgE response might result in a trip to the ER, or if the allergy is known, the use of an epipen. In the case of an allergy, you will probably experience swelling of the tongue, itchy throat, hives, trouble breathing, etc. Most people are aware of any food allergies they have. However, it’s important to note that allergies can develop over time. If you notice any anaphylactic symptoms while eating, get help right away!
Common allergens: fish/seafood, nuts, eggs, milk.
Food Sensitivities (IgM + IgG + IgA)
Food sensitivities trigger a delayed immune response to a food. They can manifest as either an IgM, IgA, or IgG response (which is further explained below). As a result, food sensitivities can cause chronic, ongoing symptoms, like stomach bloating and gas, diarrhea or constipation, headaches, joint pain, acne, eczema, and so much more. Keep reading to learn all about the various symptoms of food sensitivities.
IgM antibodies are your body’s first line of defense. They provide short-term protection against a new infection or pathogen. As inflammation in the body continues, IgM levels start to decrease as IgG antibodies begin to take over.
IgG is the most abundant antibody in the body, making up about 70-80% of all antibodies. This secondary immune response is specifically found in bodily fluids, like blood, which helps to fight off viruses and bacteria in the long run.
IgA antibodies, also a secondary immune response, are found in mucous membranes, like the GI and respiratory tracts. They fight infections by preventing microbes from attaching to the body’s membranes.
Common sensitivities: dairy, wheat/gluten, eggs, soy, corn, sugar.
Causes & Symptoms of Food Sensitives
Common causes of food sensitivities, include:
- Inadequate digestion
- Leaky gut
- External stressors (emotional, chemical, environmental, physical)
- Poor immune function
- Autoimmune disease
Common symptoms of food sensitivities, include:
- Gastrointestinal: bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, acid reflux
- Skin: eczema, acne, rosacea
- Respiratory: congestion, mucus, sneezing, runny nose,
- Neurological: anxiety, depression, insomnia
How Food Sensitivity Tests Work
Food sensitivity tests measure antibody levels in response to various foods. For example: the test I took measured my IgG and IgA response to 144 different foods, including meats, eggs, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, spices, and more.
Important note: IgG + IgA antibodies are both long-term immune responses and likely indicators for inflammation in the body. For this reason, it’s important to always test both IgG and IgA responses during a food sensitivity test.
Why I Decided to Take a Food Sensitivity Test
I’ve struggled with ongoing immune and gut issues most of my adult life. I’ll spare you from the details, but it feels like I’m always battling a new symptom. When one goes away, another appears. I’ve done my best to limit inflammatory foods from my diet by following a “Paleo-ish” diet for the past couple years. While some symptoms have resolved, I know my body has yet to function at it’s best, which has brought me to taking a food sensitivity test.
That being said, I finally decided to take a food sensitivity test for multiple reasons, including:
- reduce overall inflammation in my body
- heal the root cause of my chronic symptoms
- boost my immune system
- heal my gut
I want to point out that in addition to taking a food sensitivity test, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy healing my gut, improving my digestion, boosting my immune system, resulting blood sugar, improving nutritional deficiencies, and more. While eliminating inflammatory foods is an important tool for healing, it’s not the end-all-be-all. I recommend working with a practitioner to figure out the best protocols for you and your body!
Once I get the test results, I plan on sharing them with y’all. So, stayed tuned to hear more about my healing journey!
Have you ever taken a food sensitivity test? What are your thoughts?