Food Allergy Testing
There are two types of food allergy tests, an IgE test which is generally performed by an allergist using the conventional scratch test approach, and an IgG test which is a blood test that looks for allergic reactions within the body. At the Integrative Health Centre, we use an IgG allergy test through Rocky Mountain Analytical lab to determine if there is an inflammatory response to foods the individual is eating. Both of these tests can be helpful in determining if a food should be avoided in the diet but they are used in different situations. Let's look at the difference between an IgE and an IgG testing protocol to get a better idea of which test would be helpful for a particular condition:
IgG is an antibody that is produced to in response to an allergen but instead of causing a histamine or swelling response at the site of exposure to the antigen (for example, in the mouth), the reaction occurs either during the digestive process or once the food has been digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. This type of allergic reaction also causes an inflammatory response, but is linked more to conditions such as digestive disturbances, migraines, joint pain, excema and other internal inflammatory conditions. An IgG test can be performed on both children and adults and takes a few minutes in the appointment. As we send this test out to a lab, there is an additional charge for the test that is not covered in the cost of your visit; however, this cost may be covered under some extended health insurance programs.
IgE is an antibody that causes a histamine response when it comes in contact with an allergen. The histamine response causes swelling at the site of exposure which can result in hives, throat swelling, excema, asthma and in the worst case, an anaphylactic reaction which is a life-threatening condition. When an allergist is evaluating an IgE reaction, scratching the skin and then applying an allergen will produce a hive (a little fluid-filled bubble) which is considered a positive response. This is a very helpful test in determining which foods could cause a life-threatening reaction if consumed and is considered a "conventional allergy test".
Note: We do not perform this type of allergy test at our office; it can only be done by a medical allergist and requires a referral from a MD (Doctor of Medicine).
Calgary Food Sensitivity Testing
The food sensitivity testing at Integrative Health Centre is performed right in our office by our new Xyto bio-resonance machine, which detects changes in conductivity and identifies stress responses in the body that are aggravated by certain foods. This test does not require any needle pokes and provides answers as to what you are sensitive to within about two minutes. After a month of treatment, it is very easy to re-test to see if the program is working and the sensitivities have resolved or improved, or if there is something else that needs to be done. Sometimes, food sensitivities go away completely with naturopathic treatment, or at least will not provoke as much of a stress response.
Food Allergy Testing
For our food allergy testing in Calgary, we requisition blood tests that are then sent out to the local Rocky Mountain Analytical laboratory. This is an IgG food allergy test, which measures the immune response from allergies that cause inflammation in the body (such as digestive issues, headaches, etc.). It differs from an IgE allergy test, which is typically done by a conventional doctor and tests individually for a select few common allergies. The goal of our allergy testing is to identify foods that cause issues so you can remove them from your diet and thereby eliminate most or all of your symptoms.
Calgary Nutrition Advice
Integrative Health Centre does not staff a holistic nutritionist, however we often design food programs based on issues identified through sensitivity and food allergy testing. We will usually do a full medical history, along with a food sensitivity or allergy test to identify problem foods, then design a nutritional program with supplements to bring the body back into balance before starting to treat other symptoms (which are often caused by food sensitivities/allergies – particularly digestive issues).
Sensitivity & Allergy Testing To Reduce Stress
Most people know that stress is the likely cause of some or all of their symptoms, but we often have little control over our stressors (such as jobs, kids, weather, etc.). We do, however, have direct control over our food stressors, so it is one major way we can start to control stress levels within the body, which improves overall health in numerous ways. By obtaining accurate food sensitivity and allergy testing, this important process can begin.