The how, when and why of food allergy testing

The how, when and why of food allergy testing

Did you ever wonder if your child might have a food allergy?

Have you not been satisfied with the allergy testing you had and still have suspicions that some of your child’s symptoms might be caused by food?

Maybe your child has mood issues, a puffy face, allergic shiners (black eyes), still wets the bed or has frequent ear infections.

All of these can be caused by food allergies!

Let me explain about the different types of allergies, and how to test for them

Immunoglobulin E (IgE)

Lets talk first of all about the testing that your doctor might have done.

The only allergy that most doctors generally recognise is IgE allergies.  This is the reaction that is being looked for with a skin prick test or a RAST blood test.  They can be food, environmental or airborne allergens.

Typical symptoms of an IgE reaction are:

  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Asthma
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Proctocolitis
  • Anaphylaxis

The reaction is immediate, but there can be a second wave of symptoms 4-6 hours later, which can last a few days.

What is ‘funny’ is that it is really easy to identify what foods are causing IgE reactions.

You give a child a food for the first time, they have a reaction, you know that it is the food you gave them that gave a reaction.

The tests can be useful however for tracking response over time, to see if your child is outgrowing their allergy.

  • Allergies to milk, eggs, wheat and soy can often be out grown between the ages of 3 -5.
  • Allergies to nuts, peanuts and fish are less likely to be grown out of.

Immunoglobulin G (IgG)

The sort of testing I do with my clients is IgG testing.

I use a blood test (ELISA) for this.  You go to a normal pathology centre with the test kit, they draw the blood and the results come back to me.  This is really useful to find out about delayed reaction food allergies.

With an IgG reaction, you don’t get the reaction immediately, it can come the next day.

And because the foods that people commonly have an IgG reaction to are frequently eaten foods, it is very hard to see a pattern.

Issues that will trigger me to recommend allergy testing include:

  • Frequent sore tummies
  • Frequent tonsillitis
  • Ear infections
  • Sleep apena
  • Bed wetting
  • Eczema

All of these conditions are strongly correlated to IgG reactions.

Once the blood test has identified which foods are problematic, I prepare recipes and meal plans to make sure you are successful in removing the foods you need to, without running the risk of nutrient deficiencies.

Elimination diet

For people who aren’t keen on a blood test, I guide them on a food elimination diet.  This is a process which can last between 14-28 days.  All the common food allergens are removed from the diet for a period of time, until symptoms improve.

Then the foods are systematically reintroduced one at a time.

I provide all the meal plans and recipes, so it isn’t as daunting as it sounds.  This is the gold standard for identifying problem foods, but it takes time and organisation.

What next?

If you would like to do an IgG test for yourself or your child, you can organise it using this link

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