An allergy is an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful such as a food substance. Immediate onset food allergies involve the IgE family of antibodies. Reactions usually occur quickly within 2 hours of eating the reactive food. Immediate onset-allergies are rare. Fewer than 5% of the population have them and they are found mostly in children. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, rashes, runny nose and swelling. On rare occasions a person can go into anaphylactic shock. Only IgE reactions are considered true food allergies. The foods that most commonly cause allergic reactions are peanuts, tree nuts (such as Almonds and Brazils), eggs, milk, fish, shellfish, and sesame seeds.
Delayed onset food intolerance or food hypersensitivity is much more common in both adults and children. The immune system creates an overabundance of IgG antibodies to a particular food allergen. The antibodies bind directly to the food particles as they enter the bloodstream creating immune complexes unlike in IgE reactions where the antibodies attach to mast cells. Over time the immune system gradually goes into red alert. IgG symptoms are delayed, appearing two hours to several days after consuming the allergen.
Although not life threatening like an immediate onset food allergy, food intolerances can have a significant impact on the quality of life of the sufferer. According to the leading medical charity Allergy UK, common symptoms that food intolerance can contribute to include: abdominal pains, asthma, bloating, constipation, eczema, IBS, headaches, skin problems and fatigue. Continued consumption of reactive foods may contribute to weight gain or difficulty losing weight. Sufferers of food intolerances often describe experiencing ‘brain fog’. Symptoms can affect different people in different ways and sometimes symptoms are vague and not always easy to diagnose. For many people suffering with the symptoms of food intolerances it is not a single food but a combination of several foods that causes a reaction.
Intolerance testing may be beneficial to help you identify which foods you are intolerant to. Food Detective™ is a simple finger prick test which can be carried out at Woodside Clinic. The Food Detective™ tests help to identify these ‘problem’ foods by detecting IgG antibodies in the blood. A reaction tray is spotted with food protein extracts which a small diluted blood sample is added to. Through the use of detector and developer solution the presence of food antibodies are identified as one or more blue spots on the tray.
Food Detective™ can identify reactions to commonly consumed foods, including:
- Corn, Durum Wheat, Gluten, oats, rice, rye, wheat
- Freshwater Fish Mix (Salmon, trout)
- Shellfish Mix (shrimp, prawn, crab, lobster, mussel)
- Tuna, White fish mix (haddock, cod, plaice)
- Apple, blackcurrant, grapefruit, melon mix (cantaloupe, watermelon), olive, orange and lemon, strawberry, tomato
- Beef, chicken, lamb, pork
- Cow’s milk, egg (whole)
- Almond, Brazil, Cashew, Peanut, Walnut
- Broccoli, cabbage, carrot, celery, cucumber, leek, legume mix (pea, lentil, haricot, Peppers (red, green, yellow), potato, Soya bean
- Cocoa bean, garlic, ginger, mushroom, tea, yeast
The test takes just 40 min to carry out and the results will be analysed and discussed during the 90-minute consultation. Safe and effective ways of cutting out the offending foods will be discussed and alternative foods suggested. Typically, a customised diet will be followed for around 3 months to allow the symptoms to subside and allow the body to recover. Guidance will be provided on how to slowly re-introduce foods after this period. Please note we do not provide intolerance testing for under 16s.
If you would like to book an appointment with our nutritionist, Ruth – please call us on 01582 608400 or 01525 372447.
Food IgG antibody testing is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions.
Test results are used as a guide to adjust and plan your new diet accordingly.
Food Detective™ is manufactured by Cambridge Nutritional Sciences Ltd and owned by Omega Diagnostics Group plc.