Many of our clients have experienced really positive results with food sensitivity testing. You can read about them here:
Whenever we talk about food sensitivity testing though, we often get some pushback from people. Is it legit? Will it really work? Is it worth it? These are fair questions as there are mixed reviews out there and it’s not a small investment. The reason for the confusion is that there are many companies out there that offer food sensitivity testing; not all tests are created equal and not all of the offerings are medically backed.
We’ve had numerous people tell us how they did testing a few years ago and had 20 or 30 foods come back. Understandably, this can lead to a lot of overwhelm, disappointment, and frankly, fear of different foods. So we thought we would explain a bit more about how food sensitivities actually lead to inflammatory symptoms (examples of which can be found here) and why this matters in the context of choosing the right test. A word of warning that we get a little scientific here, but we’ve tried to simplify it as much as possible.
Spoiler Alert: Our testing has never resulted in 20-30 foods being listed as ‘sensitive’ foods.
We offer Food Sensitivity Testing through a lab in the United States called KBMO Diagnostics. We run the FIT Test (Food Inflammation Test), which is a test that measures sensitivities to up to 132 different foods, coloring and additives. It also tests for an immune response to candida, which is an important indicator for leaky gut and something that can lead to many uncomfortable digestive and inflammatory symptoms.
Sensitivities occur when undigested food fragments pass through the gut lining. Dr. Joel Evans, who is the medical director of KBMO, says that even with a fully intact gut lining, roughly 2% of undigested food proteins can pass through the gut lining into your bloodstream. If you have leaky gut, there will be much more undigested food, bacteria, fungi and other toxins that can pass through your gut lining. This is also why in some cases, the foods that you eat most often can come up as the foods you’re sensitive to (annoying, I know).
These foreign substances that don’t belong, are called antigens, and they can trigger an IgG response, which is a food sensitivity reaction. IgG is our most abundant antibody and protects us against bacterial and viral infections. Unlike IgE reactions, which are involved in allergic reactions (think hives or an immediate anaphylactic response), IgG reactions can be delayed up to 48 hours.
As a response to the antigen, your immune system will create an antibody, which is a specialized protein that binds to the antigen and either neutralizes it or “tags” it for another cell of the immune system to deal with. For example, the antigen could be egg that your immune system is trying to remove. When the antigen (i.e. the egg) and the antibody are bound together, they form an immune complex.
If you are just measuring IgG (which every other test does), you are looking at any food or particle that your immune system has created an antibody to. This is why some, but not all, IgG tests you get will come back with a list of dozens of foods that you are sensitive to. Technically, you can have an immune system response to any foreign substance that enters your bloodstream, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will experience symptoms from it.
This is the only test that actually looks for foods that trigger inflammation, not just foods that elicit an immune response. The inflammation is how you get the symptoms of food sensitivities.
The test does this by measuring both IgG levels and something called the complement antigen levels, and is the only test on the market to do this. Complement enhances the immune response, which is what results in inflammation and the symptoms associated with food sensitivities. As mentioned, the FIIT test is the only test that measures IgG and complement.
The other thing to note is that there are 4 different types of IgG antibodies connected to food sensitivities, but not all of them are linked to inflammation and the symptoms of food sensitivities. Some labs measure only 1 or a few types of IgG, which can result in the 20-30 foods coming back as sensitive. Because the FIT test measures all 4 IgG’s and complement, it is a stronger, more precise test and will reduce the likelihood of false positives and pick up minor sensitivities.
We recognize that food sensitivity tests can be a big investment, which is why we are providing the best possible test available. We recommend this test to our clients who are experiencing inflammatory symptoms, not just digestive symptoms, that they can’t figure out the root cause of. By offering this test to our clients, not only can we help them remove the problematic foods with the help of custom meal plans and coaching, but we also repair the gut and address the root cause of food sensitivities.
You don’t have to become a client to order the test, you can do so here at any time. When you order a test, you will get a 15 minute follow up call to review your results.
Would you like to chat? Click here to book a complimentary 15 minute info session with us to learn more about the testing we offer and to see if 1:1 nutrition coaching is the right fit for you.