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Do Food Intolerance Tests Work?

Posted on | March 22, 2013 | No Comments

Food intolerance testing has sometimes had a bad press over the years. This is not surprising when you consider the wide range of supposed “tests” available that claim they can determine which foods are causing symptoms such as bloating, IBS, migraines, headaches, low mood, fatigue and exhaustion, skin disorders and joint pain. These tests include Vega testing where you put your finger in a machine to tell you, kinesiology where you hold a vial of the food and weakness in your arm will supposedly tell you, hair testing of “energy levels” to tell you, cytotoxic (ALCAT) testing where your blood sample is exposed to foods and “changes in the blood cells” can tell you. Well none of these have a basis in science. How can these methods possibly determine which foods you are reacting to?

Food intolerance affects 45% of the population, about 1% of these will have coeliac disease, about 2% will have allergies, and about 5% will have lactose intolerance. There are good diagnostic tests for all these conditions that can be recommended through your Healthcare Practitioner. The remaining food intolerance sufferers, equating to millions in the UK alone, are often left with nowhere to turn, and so it is easy to get dragged in to taking tests which have no basis in science as they seem to be the only option moving forward. Be careful what you believe.

The most widely accepted approach for confirming food intolerance is by elimination diet. This involves eating a restricted diet for several weeks. If there is no reduction in the frequency or intensity of the attacks during this time, it is assumed that the food type that has been restricted is not the problem and the process is repeated with another food type. This method is very time consuming, and because it is difficult to test all the different combinations of food types that may be contributing to the problems, it is a very ineffective process.

Blood testing for food-specific IgG antibodies is the only reliable method for testing for food intolerance when coeliac disease, lactose intolerance and allergies have been ruled out. The company that has more scientific papers published about the expected results from their food intolerance test is YorkTest. YorkTest have been involved in the biggest study of its kind which involved over 5000 food intolerance sufferers. Over 76% of those who took the easy finger-prick blood test and eliminated the foods that had caused an antibody reaction in the blood, felt much better and found long term benefits in their symptoms.

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