Food Sensitivity Testing

Food or foe?

Often sensitivities go undiagnosed because the reaction is gradual and will happen within 3 minutes to 3 days. This makes it more difficult to pinpoint which food is the trigger. Being sensitive to a food may mean you need to avoid it completely, or be able to have a small amount occasionally. Sometimes after months of abstinence, a food may be reintroduced without an issue.

Comprehensive Food Sensitivity Testing in Guelph

Dr. Laura M. Brown, is a registered naturopathic doctor in Guelph with a functional medicine approach. She focusses on stimulating the body’s natural mechanisms to repair damage and rebuild health. A HeartMath® Certified Practitioner and a level 2 Certified Gluten Free Practitioner, she holds the designation of ADAPT Trained Practitioner from Kresser Institute, the only functional medicine and ancestral health training company.

If you are a new patient, Dr. Laura will need to see you first to evaluate the the food sensitivity test that best suits your needs. In the initial appointment you will learn more about the tests and then will have enough information to decide and how much each of the tests cost.

For scientifically backed blood testing, there are many options to test for food sensitivity. Laboratory tests may be completed by taking a paid requisition for blood draw to a local laboratory and the results will be subsequently reviewed in an appointment. Electro Dermal Screening (EDS) food sensitivity testing is also an available option. Please note the EDS is not a Health Canada approved device and does not treat or diagnose any condition. The results can be useful as a guided elimination diet tool.

Symptoms of food sensitivity:

  • SKIN: eczema, skin rashes, dark circles under the eyes, puffiness
  • JOINTS: pain, inflammation
  • BRAIN: difficulty concentrating, fatigue, depression, hyperactivity
  • GI: damage to the mucosal lining, perforation & “leaky gut”. This can make it difficult for nutrients and vitamins to absorb into the body and the person over time can become deficient in things like iron, zinc, and B12. It can also rear itself as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), constipation, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
  • WEIGHT GAIN: always good to rule out food sensitivities when there is unexplained weight gain.

Who is at risk?

Food sensitivities and “leaky gut” are often affiliated with autoimmune diseases like SLE/lupus, thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), toxic exposure to heavy metals, molds & family history. Sensitivities are aggravated by alcohol, strenuous exercise and NSAIDs (Advil, Ibuprofen), as well as a history exogenous hormone exposure (birth control pills, pesticides, plastics) and antibiotics.

What foods typically cause IgG reactions?

  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Egg
  • Sugar
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Some with RA find the nightshade family harmful: (potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant)

How do I learn if I have a sensitivity?

IgG testing can be accessed through your health care practitioner via a blood draw test.

Electrodermal screening will provide information suitable as a guided elimination diet tool.

What’s the difffference between food sensitivity and food allergies?

Food sensitivities are a delayed response 3 minutes – 3 days later, as discussed above. Food sensitivities are not an immediate threat to life but can set the foundation for many chronic diseases. Food allergies are an immediate (within 5-10minutes of ingesting the food) IgE immune response that can be life threatening. Once a food allergy (often shellfish or peanut) are identified, the body amps up its response at every subsequent exposure. Mast cells and basophils release proinflammatory mediators in response to allergen exposure. This is why it is important for people with food allergies to carry an EPI pen, use it when needed and get themselves to a hospital if they are exposed to the particular food.

Symptoms of food allergy:

  • MOOD: feeling of doom or very unwell.
  • SKIN: hives, urticaria (pale red raised itchy bumps), swelling or flaring of atopic dermatitis (skin irritation)
  • RESPIRATORY: wheezing, asthma symptoms, allergic rhinitis symptoms, throat tightness, and trouble breathing.
  • GI: nausea, vomit, pain, difficulty swallowing
  • Combined together in a very fast response, the person may experience ANAPHYLAXIS,a serious and potentially life threatening allergic reaction. Note that aside from food, insect bites, stings, medications can also be a trigger.

What foods typically cause IgE reactions?

  • Peanut, pollen (could be on fresh fruit), shellfish, fish, sesame seeds, tree nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, and wheat.
  • Made worse with alcohol, exercise, NSAIDs (Advil, ibuprofen)

What if someone is experiencing these symptoms and has a known food allergy?

1. Ask if they have an EPI pen and where they keep it. It will administer epinephrine which will increase their heart rate and open their airways.

2. Ask if you can get the EPI pen for them

3. Allow the person to administer the EPI pen themselves. It should be placed at thethigh and pressed into the muscle.

4. If no EPI, consider a dose of Benadryl

5. Get the person to the hospital immediately.

How do I learn if I have an allergy?

IgE testing can be done by your health care practitioner via skin prick or blood test. A naturopathic doctor may order some IgE blood tests for food allergy and it is usually an immunologist who will do the skin prick test to diagnose and provide an EPI pen prescription if need be.