- What is the purpose of a food intolerance test?
- How are food intolerances different from food allergies?
- What different types of tests are available?
- Can the results of some tests be unreliable?
- What can be interpreted from the results of food intolerance tests?
- What are the next steps after food intolerance testing?
- How can I prepare for food intolerance testing?
- Are food intolerance testing procedures painful?
- What would an inconclusive result indicate?
- What type of doctor performs food intolerance testing?
A food intolerance test is a diagnostic tool to identify whether your body is hypersensitive towards a certain food, which could cause an adverse reaction to your system.
Contrary to food allergies, food intolerances don’t trigger an immediate reaction. The problems arising from food intolerances are caused by the inability of the body to correctly assimilate certain foods and the irritation some foods may cause, such as headache, unexplained fatigue, indigestion, diarrhoea, swelling and other issues with the digestive process.
There are several types of food intolerance tests. The most accurate ones are:
- Blood test: for testing for coeliac disease and for gluten intolerance
- Hydrogen breath test: used to diagnose lactose intolerance. You'll be asked to blow up a balloon-like bag. You'll then be given a drink of lactose solution and your breath will be tested after roughly thirty minutes.
It has been demonstrated that other kinds of tests are not as reliable as the hydrogen breath test or blood testing. Here are some other tests, whose reliability is limited:
- IgG4 tests
- Cytotoxicity test
- ALCAT test
- Vega testing
- MORA Bio-resonance
- Muscle testing
- Dria test
- Pulse test
- Biostrength test
- Hair follicle test
- Pulse test
- Sarm test
- Auricular-Cardiac reflex
Although skin prick testing may in some cases be reliable, it was designed to detect food allergies, so it is not a reliable indicator of food intolerances.
These tests can identify the underlying cause behind some physical symptoms as well as helping to establish the best form of treatment. It may also help to diagnose intolerances which have not yet caused any symptoms in the patient.
If the test has determined that you have a food intolerance, you may be able to manage it merely by avoiding eating the source of intolerance for a certain period of time. It may be possible to later begin to eat the source of the intolerance in small amounts at a later time in the future.
It is essential that you rely on the guidance of a dietician before deciding to eliminate completely a certain food from your diet. Such exclusion could lead to a nutritional deficit if you don’t substitute it correctly. This is particularly important when considering eliminating certain foods from the diet of children or teenagers who are still developing.
The vast majority of food intolerance tests don't require any preparation but an empty stomach. When preparing to take the hydrogen breath test, it is necessary to stop taking antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors and gastro-protective agents anywhere from seven to twenty-one days prior.
No form of food intolerance testing should be dangerous or painful.
Unfortunately, many high street tests are unreliable and therefore it important to see a specialist to receive accurate testing for food intolerance. Inconclusive results may indicate the need for some further testing and can be affected by several uncontrollable factors.
Specialist allergists and immunologists use food intolerance testing to inform the diagnosis of food allergies and intolerances.