Food Allergy Testing
Decoding Dietary Distress: Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance Testing
Today, we’re diving into a topic that often causes confusion: the difference between food allergy testing and food intolerance testing.
A food allergy is an immune system response where the body mistakenly identifies a food protein as harmful and reacts by releasing chemicals like histamine. This can lead to symptoms such as hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis.
On the other hand, food intolerance, also known as food sensitivity, is a digestive system response where the body has difficulty digesting a particular food. This can lead to symptoms like bloating, stomach pain, gas, and diarrhea. A common example of food intolerance is lactose intolerance, where individuals have difficulty digesting lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products.
Food Allergy Testing
When it comes to food allergies, the immune system’s response to specific proteins in food is at the heart of the issue. These immune-mediated reactions can trigger a range of symptoms, from mild discomfort to severe and potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Food allergy testing primarily involves three methods:
- Skin Prick Tests: This widely used diagnostic method involves applying small amounts of allergenic extracts to the skin, followed by gentle pricking to allow the allergens to penetrate the skin. The appearance of raised, itchy bumps called wheals at the test location indicates an allergic response.
- Blood Tests: By measuring specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in the blood, these tests accurately identify allergens responsible for triggering allergic reactions. IgE-specific blood tests provide key insights into the immune system’s response to specific allergens.
Food Intolerance Testing
Food intolerances, on the other hand, are non-immune-mediated adverse reactions to certain foods or components within them. These reactions typically arise from difficulties in digestion or metabolism, rather than involving the immune system’s response.
Several approaches are employed for food intolerance testing:
- Elimination Diet and Food Diaries: This comprehensive approach involves the systematic removal of suspected food items from the diet, followed by a gradual reintroduction to identify problem foods. Concurrently, maintaining a detailed record of food intake and associated symptoms can provide valuable insights into patterns and potential food intolerances. By monitoring symptoms during each phase and analyzing your food diary, healthcare professionals can effectively pinpoint specific triggers and identify problematic food.
- Hydrogen Breath Test: These tests measure levels of specific gases in the breath after consuming certain substances, helping diagnose intolerances such as lactose intolerance or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
- Blood Tests: While not as comprehensive as for allergies, blood tests can measure specific markers associated with certain food intolerances. However, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate blood tests, as their effectiveness may vary.(Pssst, Hisential offers testing for over 200+ allergens!)
At Hisential, we understand that navigating the world of food allergies and intolerances can be overwhelming. That’s why our team of experienced medical professionals is dedicated to providing personalized care and support throughout your journey.We use the latest diagnostic tools and adhere to the highest medical standards to ensure accurate results. Our comprehensive approach allows us to not only identify potential causative factors but also to develop personalized treatment plans to help manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Contact Hisential today to schedule a consultation with our experts. Remember, Your health is our priority.
- Pavlovic M, Radlovic N, Berenji K, Arsic B, Rokvic Z. Lactose intolerance in children and adults. Med Pregl. 2020;73(3-4):105-109. DOI: 10.5937/MCKG54-26370
- Gordeeva ES, Grigoryan L, Shishatskaya SN, Katenkova E. Epigenetic factors and optimization of the algorithm of differential diagnostics of gastrointestinal form of food allergy and intolerance to lactose in infants. Transl Med. 2019;4:52-55. DOI: 10.34215/1609-1175-2019-4-52-55
- Schnedl WJ, Lackner S, Enko D, Mangge H, Holasek SJ. Increasing Expiratory Hydrogen in Lactose Intolerance Is Associated with Additional Food Intolerance/Malabsorption. Nutrients. 2020;12(12):3690. DOI: 10.3390/nu12123690