Food sensitivity, also known as food intolerance, is a health condition where the affected person is unable to digest a certain kind of food and develops an immune reaction against it. Food sensitivity issues were not very well-known in the past but in the last decade, people have become much more aware of food sensitivity and its implications. It is important to understand that your body and the digestive system react to your food intake and dietary habits. Let’s have a detailed introduction about this problem.
What is a Food Allergy or Food Sensitivity?
A particular kind of sensitivity condition is when an immune-mediated reaction is elicited when the body is exposed to the allergen. The allergen is the substance that elicits an allergic response and when such an allergen, that is food in this particular situation, goes into the body, it is perceived as an invader and the body tries to fight it off.
What is Food Intolerance?
Another type of food sensitivity issue is called food intolerance and this condition is characterized by failure to digest the food due to lack of some important enzyme necessary for the digestion of a substance. Food intolerance may take more than a few hours to manifest (1), and it usually results in symptoms such as a migraine, cough, stomach ache, irritable bowel, or bloating. A common type of food substance that is associated with this is lactose. Lactose sensitivity or intolerance is the situation where milk and milk products can’t be digested. Lactose intolerance is the most common food intolerance disorder that especially affects adults (1).
What is the Reason behind Food Allergy or Food Sensitivity?
The reason behind such allergies is not established yet. However, genetics along with environmental factors, no doubt, play the key role. Following are the risk factors for developing a food allergy or food intolerance (2).
- Family history
- Young age
- Having some other allergies
How can you prevent an Allergic Reaction to Food?
It is essential to know the kind of food that you are allergic to; this prevents a food allergy reaction that can sometimes, if not most times, be hazardous and life-threatening. Generally, food substances that can bring allergic reactions include milk, eggs, fish, shellfish peanuts, wheat and soybean but it varies person to person (3). So, figuring out the food you are allergic to and avoiding it is the only way.
What are the Common Symptoms of Food Allergy?
Common symptoms of food allergic reactions include skin reactions such as swelling, itching and hives. It may also include much worse conditions such as anaphylaxis (a serious allergic reaction), digestive symptoms as well as death (3).
How is a Food Sensitivity Diagnosis made?
Various food allergy tests are performed to make a diagnosis. Food sensitivity testing can be performed in many ways and usually involves studying the immune components. Food intolerance testing can be a blood test or any other tissue analysis as well. However, the most convenient way for an initial testing is home health tests.
What is a Home Health Test for Food Sensitivity?
There are many kind of tests that you can perform to check for a food sensitivity. Some tests can be done at home, while others require a trip to the doctor. A home sensitivity test kit is a great tool that is quite handy even in the emergency situations. It provides comfort as well as ensures a sense of privacy (3). A Food sensitivity test kit is an equipment used at home to know what kind of foods cause allergic reactions or other sensitivity issues.
Who should use a Food Sensitivity Home Test Kit?
At home food sensitivity test kits are for everyone from age two years onwards. A food sensitivity kit can test for meat allergies, fish allergies, milk allergies, and even vegan diet-based allergies like wheat allergy (4). The tests can be a fast way to check yourself before or during the time you consult a medical professional. Since the healthcare is often packed to the capacity, waiting times for both getting to a doctor and making a test can be long. So, you can easily use a home test kit and get to know what kind of food allergy you are suffering from. This will help you steer clear of an allergen that elicits symptoms in you and keep you safe from any harmful reaction until you see a doctor personally.
What can a Food Sensitivity Test Kit tell you about your Health Status?
First off, the tests will give you the answer if you have an allergy or not. If you find out that you don’t have an allergy, it can be a great relief and it can prevent you from unnecessary pain and discomfort of making an appointment, seeing a doctor and going through lab tests.
Home health test kits can help you diagnose the kind of food allergy you are suffering from. It can save you from allergic reactions that are exhausting and can be severe at times. Not only that, the implications of such a diagnosis are very broad. One example is regarding colorectal cancer which is very prevalent and affects both men and woman (5). Food allergies and intolerances are often associated with irritable bowel syndrome which tends to mask this type of cancer (5,6). Once your food allergy is diagnosed and controlled, any other disease involving the gut can also be ruled out.
LINK: (READ MORE HERE ABOUT TEST TO FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE THE CHANCE OF OR HAVE SIGNS OF COLORECTAL CANCER)
Food allergies and intolerances also have long-term complications if they go undiagnosed and untreated. They can lead to dangerous diseases. For example, to test yourself for gluten intolerance can also be very important. A study showed that celiac disease patients, who stayed away from gluten had decreased risk of bowel cancer while those who did not live on a gluten-free diet had increased risk (7).
LINK: (READ MORE HERE ABOUT TEST TO FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE THE CHANCE OF OR HAVE SIGNS OF BOWEL CANCER)
Why would it be good to use a Food Sensitivity Test Kit for Checking your Health Status?
Food sensitivity tests or food allergy tests have been medically proven to be very effective in helping understand the risks of developing a cancer, early detection, and adequate management (8). Following are the different benefits that you can enjoy while using home health test kits to test for your food allergies.
- Good turnaround time
- Wide availability
- Good accuracy
So, such home health test kits can be a very good option, especially if you have a busy routine.
What are the Different Types of Home Health Test Kits Available in the Market?
Several kinds of Food sensitivity test kits exist in the market, some of which are better than the others. They can be classified on various basis like:
- If they detect only a single food allergy or more
- The kind of sample they require
- The mode of detection
Classification according to Sample Type
Generally, there are about two ways in which the food sensitivity kits work:
Skin tests: A skin test is generally done at home and does not require sending any samples to the doctor. All you need to do is use a small sterile pin (often contained in the test kit) to send a little of sample in a liquid containing the suspected food underneath the skin. A control is then made on the skin using the same method but this time without the food substance (9). The Swelling or redness around the two tested areas is then compared to find out if you are allergic to that food or not.
Blood tests: There is a wide range of blood tests for food sensitivity and various home blood tests kits are also available for gut health testing. These kinds of food sensitivity kits require the samples to be sent to the lab and may take over two weeks to report. Blood tests are sometimes called DNA tests since they test for certain gene abnormalities. For instance, a lactose intolerance test kit analyzes the LCT gene which is responsible for digesting food substances containing lactose. If this gene is minimal or not evident in the blood, lactose intolerance is confirmed (10).
Classification according to the Mode of Detection
IgG food sensitivity test: IgG food sensitivity test measures the levels of IgG antibodies or the IgG allergic reactions in your blood. IgG stands for Immunoglobulin G which is an antigen (allergen) specific binding protein. A test can therefore measure what exact food substance your immune system reacts too and hence what food you react to. These allergic reactions are seen when an individual reacts to certain food substances such as milk or peanuts. An excellent example of an IgG food sensitivity test is the Everlywell food sensitivity test (11).
Gluten food sensitivity tests: Gluten food sensitivity tests check for the absence or presence of the enzyme that digests gluten present in the diet. The levels are checked in the blood and the absence of this enzyme often results in allergic reactions towards food substances such as wheat, milk, canned soup, ice creams, etc., all gluten containing foods (12).
Lactose intolerance test: A lactose intolerance test examines the presence or absence of the enzyme (lactase) responsible for the digestion of lactose. Lactose is a milk protein which is present in milk and its product. When a person who is intolerant to gluten intakes such a product, allergy ensues because of the absence of lactase enzyme. Home test kits can detect the absence of lactase in one’s body (13).
The Best Food Sensitivity Home Tests available in the Market
- Gluten Intolerance Quick Test
The Gluten intolerance kit allows you check for gluten absence as well as celiac disease detection in just a time of 10 minutes. All you need do is take a bit of your blood and add it to the kit.
- Self-test Allergies for Milk
Self-test Allergies to Milk is an easy and very simple test. The only disadvantage is that it is specific to allergic reactions arising from milk only. This test gives a result in just about 45 minutes.
- Lactose Tolerance Blood Test
The Lactose Tolerance Blood Test is used to check for lactase enzyme levels in the blood. This test requires a visit to the Walk-in Laboratories after ordering the kit. You will be checked at the lab using the kit for your lactose tolerance levels.
- Laactose Intolerance DNA Test Kit
Laactose Intolerance DNA Test Kit is very easy to use and is among the best food sensitivity test kits in the UK. The lactose Intolerance DNA test works by testing your mouth swabs at the different offices nationwide. All you need to do is order the kit, fill in the test kit with mouth swabs and send to an EasyDNA offices for test. This lactose intolerance test not only checks the level of your lactose tolerance, but also checks for the presence or absence of Celiac Disease.
- Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test
The Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test allows you to check food allergic reactions to many food substances through your body IgG immune response. All you need to do is order the food sensitivity kit, fill the lab bottle with a sample of your blood and send it back to the Everly Lab. This is one of the best food sensitivity tests in the UK.
- Yorktest Sensitivity Test
The York sensitivity test checks IgG levels by a simple blood test for about 113 food substances. This test works by simply pricking the finger and then adding the blood to the York Sensitivity test bottle which is then sent to the York laboratory. The York food sensitivity test is contraindicated in people who have a blood-borne disease, are under 2 years old or pregnant. It can be used to test for food products such as fish, shellfish, fruit, grains, herbs, meat, nuts, vegetables, etc.
- Helix DNA Test
Helix DNA test is fairly easy to use. All it requires is that you take a little blood sample and mouth swab using the Helix DNA test kit and then send to the EverlyWell Lab for testing. The Helix DNA test is a biomarker test that checks and reviews all your allergies. You will receive an email once your test results are ready.
Food allergies affect your lifestyle to a very big extent and have a big influence on the quality of your life (14). At home food allergy testing provides you a chance to detect such an issue early. Allergy test kits are widely available and provide great help to perform food allergy tests at home. Food allergy test kits are easy to use and the results are highly accurate.
Diagnosis is the first step towards treatment of a disease. When you perform a home test, you know about your food allergies that can be gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance or any other allergy. There is no definite treatment for this issue and the only way to treat such kind of sensitivities and allergies is to avoid such foods that only happens after you know what kind of allergy you have. However, a few treatment options like oral immunotherapy can be of help. (15)
A person with food intolerance or allergy needs to take many steps to cope with the issue. These steps include removing the substance from your diet, making lifestyle changes and adding an alternative to the diet, regular medical check-ups to ensure gut health and keeping a close check on your bowel habits and health.
In short, home health test kits are the first step towards treatment of any kind of food allergies and intolerances that have become quite prevalent (16). Performing a home test gives you a chance to treat your issue early and accurately.
- Editor – 2016, April – Types of Food Allergy – Allergy UK – http://www.allergyuk.org/food-intolerance/what-is-food-intolerance
- Björkstén B – June 2005 – Genetic and environmental risk factors for the development of food allergy – PubMed – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15864084
- Judith Marcin – November 20, 2015 – Food Allergy vs. Sensitivity: What’s the Difference? – Healthline –https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/food-allergy-sensitivity-difference#food-allergies
- Christian Nordqvist – 20 December, 2017 – What is a food intolerance? – Medical News Today –https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263965.php
- Ramona Charikar – January 9, 2017 – Benefits of Food Sensitivity Testing – Naturopathic Vitality – http://www.naturopathforcalgary.com/naturopathic-medicine-calgary/benefits-of-food-sensitivity-testing/
- Bernhard- Madsen C – 2014- Risk Management of food allergy -Elsevier Press.
- Hattersley S. – 2014 – Advances in the risk management of unintended presence of allergenic foods in manufactured food products – An overview. – Food and Chemical Toxicology.
- Pereyra – 2013 – Risk of colorectal neoplasia in patients with celiac disease: A multicentre study – J Crohns – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1873994613002092 doi:10.1016/j.crohns.2013.06.005
- Lieberman j.A – 2011- Diagnosis of food allergy: epicutaneous skin tests, to tests and oral food challenge- PubMed – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20922509
- James Li – June 3, 2017 – Food allergy vs. food intolerance: What’s the difference? – Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-allergy/AN01109
- Chris Kresser- July 25, 2012 – RHR: Testing for SIBO, Graves Disease, and all about Anemia – Chris Kresser – https://chriskresser.com/rhr-testing-for-sibo-graves-disease-and-all-about-anemia/
- Food Allergies – Allergist- https://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergy
- Rejane Mattar – 2012 – Lactose intolerance: diagnosis, genetic, and clinical factors – Clin Exp Gastroenterol – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3401057/
- Greenhawt M – June, 2016 – Food allergy quality of life and living with food allergy. -Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27070333
- Aleena Syed – Aug 4, 2014 – Food allergy diagnosis and therapy: where are we now? – Immunotherapy – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4121393/
- Tang ML – March 2017 – Food allergy diagnosis and therapy: where are we now? – Internal Medicine Journal – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28260260