We often receive calls from individuals who want to be tested for food allergies or sensitivities. This article will provide a summary of the difference between testing for food allergies vs food sensitivities and how the results are used by a functional medicine doctor.

Food Allergy Testing

There is a difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity. If you went to an allergist and had a blood test or scratch test for foods, then you were being tested for food allergies. Many times the results come back “negative” …meaning you don’t have any food allergies. If you had a blood test, it was measuring the levels of an antibody called IgE. A true “food allergy” will show elevated levels of this IgE antibody to that food. Unfortunately, most of us are not suffering with true food allergies but food sensitivities. An allergist will not typically test for a food sensitivity. So, you end up leaving the allergist’s office believing that you can eat whatever you want, because your IgE/food allergy tests were negative.

Food Sensitivity Testing

Food sensitivity testing is also a blood test, but we are looking at different antibodies. Not the IgE described above. Instead we measure the level of two different antibodies; IgG and IgA. If you have elevated IgG or IgA to a specific food, then you have a sensitivity to that food.  In our office we test for all 3 antibodies so that we can get a better understanding of which foods you are reacting to and how to create a dietary plan based on those results.

Food Sensitivity and Allergy Testing Mistakes…escape from the food-confusion maze!

If you want to get the most out of your food test results you need to make sure that a reputable lab is processing your specimen and you

need to understand how to use the results of the test.

The most common mistake I see regarding the use of food testing is in the interpretation of the results. Many people come to my office with food tests that were ordered from a different doctor and the first question I ask them is, “What were you told to avoid, or limit based on this test?” I ALWAYS GET THE SAME ANSWER; “I was told to avoid or rotate only the food that came up positive.” This is a big mistake. Instead, what should happen is that the results are used to identify food relationships…you should be able to look at the results and a pattern(s) should be identified. If this is not done properly the results just look like a bunch of random and unrelated foods! I just saw 2 patients recently; one was from St. Charles and the other was from Orland Park; they had food testing done and both were given the bad advice “avoid and or rotate the foods that came up positive.”

Food testing is very beneficial when the results are interpreted by someone who understands what they are looking at and how to create an appropriate diet plan based on those results.

The purpose of functional medicine is:

Understanding health problems, knowing how and where to investigate, understanding what to look for, understanding what is found and creating a plan of action to correct the root cause of the health problem.

This is what I do, this is what I love, this is functional medicine, this is why Naperville Integrated Wellness exists. 

I hope you have found value in this information.

I wish you health, happiness and a better quality of life!

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.