Food Allergy and Food Sensitivity Testing. What are your options?

Can I get tested for food allergies?

Understanding Food Sensitivity Testing

Some people clearly show that they are reactive to some foods, but it doesn’t qualify as an food allergy because it does not show up on standard testing (IgE – see below). We call these sensitivities, which definitely exist. It’s the testing for it that gets a little murky. Some practitioners prefer the gold standard food elimination diets to identify sensitivities and others, including many patients, prefer IgG blood testing which identifies antibodies that can be connected to your symptoms. These tests are controversial given they have a number of factors practitioners have to interpret for you, including food exposure and cross reactions. Your naturopathic physician will sort through the complexity and uncover a simple plan to remove and replace suspicious foods.  

What is Histamine? 

Low histamine diets can be profound at figuring out if you have an issue with histamine because the problem might not be the specific food itself. Rather it can be the amount of histamine in a food or the amount of histamine the food liberates in our body when consumed. So sometimes histamine is your actual problem especially when vague allergic symptoms persist like itching, hives or rashes. One clue is that taking antihistamines helps your symptoms. Low histamine diets are often paired with IgE allergy testing through blood or prick testing.

Food IgE allergy testing

Two options for identifying true allergies are prick testing and blood testing. Blood testing is accurate at detecting immune responses to foods that raise levels of an antibody called specific IgE. Your naturopathic physician can run a test to detect these allergies. If it’s positive, you’re allergic and need to stay away. Most of the time symptoms are within 30 minutes of exposure to the food, but that isn’t always the case. Testing helps reveal the true culprits without much fuss. 

A considerable number of people remain unaware of their specific allergies. Prick testing serves as a diagnostic tool to identify these allergies, allowing us to then determine the suitability of a therapy called Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT). While prick testing was traditionally exclusive to allergists, trained Naturopathic physicians have achieved notable success incorporating it into their practice. Additionally, SLIT treatments are typically covered by most drug plans.

Food sensitivities and allergies frequently coexist with environmental allergies. Addressing these potential triggers is integral to effectively addressing and alleviating allergies. Conditions like eczema and asthma, categorized as atopic, are closely linked to allergies. Improvements in one of these conditions often lead to positive outcomes in the others.

Food Intolerance

Let’s say your immune system isn’t the issue, but your guts ability to digest the food is. You might not produce the right amount of enzymes or digestive juices to break the food down and so it’s a slippery slope down.⁠ There are some lab tests that can help identify if you’re missing these enzymes.⁠ There are also straightforward treatments to replace these necessary ingredients for proper digestion including practitioner assisted replacement of enzymes, bile salts and hydrochloric acid or herbs to help stimulate your own juices to flow. Naturopathic physicians can prescribe medical grade enzymes, which are covered by most drug plans.

Food Fermentation

Some of you feel really good on a low FODMAPS diet, which are sugars present in foods, even healthy foods like onions and broccoli. These special sugars are not entirely absorbed by our gut. They move at a snail’s pace through our intestines, enticing water to flow in. Bacteria have nothing but time to eat these sweet snails creating gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and pain.⁠ Most of us don’t even realize this is happening inside of us. Those that do, are more sensitive to the extra water and gas pressure. We say these people have IBS or SIBO or sensitivity to high FODMAPs.⁠ Specific breath tests and stool tests can pick up when this is the problem.

Whether it’s allergies, sensitivities, intolerance, or fermentation problems, there are effective ways to identify and address how food affects you. Consult with one of the naturopathic physicians at Mint to unravel the complexities and create a tailored plan to eliminate, replace, or manage problematic foods.

Food doesn’t have to be your enemy.⁠

Whatever the way food is affecting you, we can help figure it out.⁠

Dr. Bobby Parmar ND RAc