OK, we all know that a healthy diet is a key component to overall health and well-being. Working with you to make sure that your diet supports your health is foundational for Naturopathic Doctors. Many of you have been hearing about Food Sensitivity Testing and I often get a lot of questions that I thought I'd answer here.
There are a lot of ways to find out what foods your body is not agreeing with. Reacting to a food can be a digestive issue (not enough enzymes to digest - 3 common contributors to this are age, fast eating and eating under stress) or an immune reaction (body is reacting to food as if it were something foreign to get rid of rather than use it to make/keep you fit as a fiddle). This test tells you which foods are eliciting an IgG reaction - a delayed food sensitivity reaction. Here's a scenario: Jill eats an egg on Saturday and her headache flares on Monday - we do the testing and it reveals that one of her IgG sensitivities are eggs. Her headache was in part a response to her sensitivity to the egg. Arrgh..so frustrating and hard to pinpoint the food connection in cases like this and this test is brilliant in uncovering this. IgG reactions are delayed - sometimes 24, 48 -72(!) hours after eating it. Your typical IgE allergic reaction would be more what we think of when we hear food allergy - it is immediate - like a peanut allergy or something that you react to right away with a rash, swelling or increase in other symptoms.
We offer the delayed food sensitivity panel (IgG) by Rocky Mountain Analytical lab. It tests 97 foods for their IgG reaction - takes about 10 minutes and the blood sample is sent away to the lab and results received in about 3 weeks. The ALCAT is an excellent test too - I have found great results with the IgG test (i.e. patient's symptoms decrease/clear when off the specific foods) so I primarily use this unless I have a request for the ALCAT.
What it tells you: assesses what foods might be stressing the body creating symptoms of overload such as inflammation, seasonal allergies, frequent colds, fatigue, mood swings, colic in young ones, skin conditions and of course digestive issues. It is important to be eating the foods you want tested the 3 weeks before the test in order to be able to assess their effect. Important note: if you know a food doesn't agree with you that's your proof so no need to eat a food that you clearly know isn't contributing to you feeling fabulous - your experience outweighs any test.
Common foods that come up high in the testing are gluten, dairy and eggs but we've seen garlic and sesame seeds and some fruits and vegetables come up also. This is our clients favorite test and so helpful in customizing your diet for your well-being.
Everyone can benefit from knowing what foods are best for their body - and most people when they get their results aren't too surprised and had a gut feeling. "Garlic is supposed to be so good for you so I've been eating it but I had a hunch that it wasn't agreeing with me - this test confirms my hunch!"
Since setting a good foundation for wellness early is preventative medicine at its best, I encourage mothers to take this test. Especially recommended for breastfeeding mothers and mothers-to-be as improper foods and immune-mediated responses can be passed on to the baby in utero and through breast milk. Knowing what foods your body loves best and decreasing the foods that are creating inflammation/disonance is so helpful in creating a good start for babe. It takes energy to prepare good food for you and your family - this is one way to take some of the guess work out of your family's healthy food choices and find out which foods are contributing to your well-being.
**For some of you your insurance company may even cover some of the cost through extended insurance plans and health spending accounts such as through Teacher Associations and many company health plans. Regardless, that's just a bonus - this test is a great investment in your family's health - worth every penny.