In my practice almost all my clients have had, or get, a food sensitivity panel or two done. With the different types of food allergy testing out there, they will get different results. This is frustrating and confusing. Currently, I have a client who is deathly allergic to nuts and has been having all kinds of digestive issues. She’s had all kinds of allergy tests done but nothing ever turned up other than her nut allergy. I had her get an IgG panel done and she was shocked when nuts didn’t even register a 1 on her results. Doubt crept in of course, but luckily she heard me out. I explained the different types of testings and why the results are so different from her real life experience of needing an epipen when exposed to nuts. She was relieved and so was I!
After our session I thought, wow this really needs to be explained! As a coach, my role is help you understand your results, advocate for your health, and then implement the changes necessary to thrive. So today I am going to explain the difference between the 3 most common allergy/food senstivitiy panels available, IgE, IgG, and IgA.
The Different Panels
IgE mediated hypersenstivity/allergy is the one most gastroenterologists and allergists test. This is where the body develops an antibody against the foreign substance. The results are usually severe and immediate, including hives, swelling, itchy/watery nose and eyes, difficulty breathing, swallowing, vomiting, etc. Can be as severe as an anaphylaxis response, Epipen needed, all that jazz or as mild as needing claritin due to pollen or other environmental irritants. The typical ways to test for IgE allergies are the skin prick test and then blood work. Most mainstream doctors will stop the testing here despite continued stomach issues including chronic heartburn, stomach pain, chronic constipation, or other autoimmune disease related symptoms. Most of my clients get told that it’s all in their heads. It’s not.
IgG and IgA tests look for foods that irritate the body on a longer term and milder level. There is no antigen-antibody response, symptoms are not immediate, usually vary and can include headaches, seizures, joint paint, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, moodiness, dark circles under eyes, skin rashes, stubborn weight systemic inflammation, and triggering autoimmune disease symptoms. These sensitivities will not respond to the skin prick test or IgE lab panel. Most mainstream doctors are not trained in this type of testing nor do they know how to interpret the results. These food sensitivities can be hard to diagnose without this panel because we usually eat these foods everyday and the body can react within a day or several days later.
Where do you go from here?
There are many different labs that provide this testing, some you can go to directly, some you will need to go through an Integrative, Functional Medicine, Chiropractic, or Naturopathic Doctor to get. In addition to letting you know what foods may be causing your symptoms, IgG and IgA panels also give us a great glimpse into the health of your gut lining and often times you will need to implement an elimination diet and gut healing protocol.
As a food allergy coach, I help my clients implement an elimination diet, gut healing protocol, be your advocate, and help you understand the processes involved. Also deal with the shock of having to change your entire lifestyle when confronted with a multitude of food sensitivities. If you want assistance in healing and thriving with a new lifestyle, I see clients locally and all over the world via web. I am available for consults and am happy to chat with you!
What have your experiences been with food allergy testing? Share below!