Is It Worth Investing in Food Sensitivity Tests?

Do you ever feel “off” after eating certain foods?  Unlike the rapid and severe symptoms of food allergies, it could be a food sensitivity. Symptoms may include headaches, skin problems, joint pain or digestive problems.

Some people are turning to food sensitivity tests to determine if what they’re eating is causing problematic symptoms. These tests, which fall into several categories, help patients find the foods that do not react well with their body.

Here are some examples of the popular food sensitivity tests available:

  • Elimination Diet: Throughout an elimination diet, based on your doctor’s recommendations, you will slowly remove potentially problematic foods. The elimination diet can help you pinpoint whether or not foods that commonly link to allergies – including milk, nuts, wheat, eggs and shellfish – are causing problems for you. As you eliminate foods, you’ll want to make sure to supplement the nutrients your body may be missing without them. After you remove the foods from your diet, you’ll take notes to determine how you feel and gradually reintroduce them. This will show which foods could be causing a problem. Once finished, you’ll show your doctor all of your written entries to help analyze which food(s) you might have sensitivities to.
  • Antibody-Based Tests: Antibody-based tests may have limited studies, but they have the most published research compared to other food sensitivity tests. These tests help measure the amount of immunoglobulin (IgG) antibodies to foods. Research shows that IgG is a sign of food tolerance compared to intolerance. Some scientists have been skeptical as to how accurate the antibody-based tests are, but it has been useful to help people facing symptoms related to IBS and migraines.
  • DNA tests: DNA tests have become a popular trend recently, ranging from genetics to sexual health and now, food health. Companies, such as EverlyWell, provide kits that use a finger-prick blood sample to test your DNA against various food types. A board-certified physician will analyze how your DNA reacts to each food tested and pinpoint the reasons behind your food sensitivity symptoms.

Since these tests have not been scientifically proven, they are not covered by insurance. Popular kits, including EverlyWell, TestMyAllergy and Orig3n, start from $55 and go up from there. On average, customers can expect to pay around $150 per test.

Although some of these tests can be helpful, it is important to check in with your doctor to discuss possible food allergies. Rather than taking your health into your own hands, communicate with your doctor about how you are feeling and address all of your concerns. Make sure to provide your doctor a full list of medications you’re taking so they can rule that out as a cause of any stomach problems.

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Photo credit: JackF

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