Why you need an accurate Food Allergy Panel
Have you heard about the Food Allergy Panel? It’s been a popular test for the past few years, and with good reason! But we are hearing some people are still confused, so let’s clear it up. The Food Allergy Panel is a blood test that will highlight foods you’ve been eating that are causing your immune system to be activated and initiate inflammation in the gut and can wreak havoc elsewhere.
The first important item to understand about this test is the big difference between IgE and IgG-mediated immune responses. While many allergist are in search of the foods or items that bring about an IgE response, they are searching for those that increase the release of histamine leading to severe and even fatal situations like hives and anaphylaxis. However, the Food Allergy Panel is testing for the IgG-mediated immune response. Unlike the fast-acting IgE, this is the delayed reaction your immune system can have when ingesting food items that your body has developed a sensitivity to. It can take up to 72 hours for symptoms to appear from a food that your blood levels show a high IgG-mediated response. This delayed response makes it difficult to correlate which foods are causing what symptoms. You may be eating the same thing every morning without knowing it’s leading to those chronic migraines you’re experiencing, that depression, or the joint paint that won’t go away. The presentation of symptoms from the IgG response is usually chronic, low-level and slow to progress with wide variety. These symptoms can range from headaches, nausea, skin symptoms like eczema, joint pain, tinea and discoloration, mood symptoms, gastrointestinal distress and neuro-cognitive disruption. An IgG food allergy panel may be the ticket to track down and overcome these unresolved symptoms you are struggling with.
The Food Allergy Panel is a functional test, which means it isn’t just looking to rule in or out a disease, it’s looking to find where your body is functioning sub-optimally and how to get it back on track. Utilizing functional testing, it’s possible to see diseases before they are present and reverse them from progressing into more serious and severe cases.
Some alternatives to the food allergy panel is the elimination diet, which is a food based cleanse that removes the most common inflammatory, or IgG-activating foods, for a period of time allowing the immune response to decrease. During the elimination phase, supplements and nutrients to heal the gut are introduced. Slowly, the common allergen foods are re-introduced in a strategic way to reveal the symptoms associated with that food, with a 72-hour watch period after ingestion.
Often times this is done in place of the Food Allergy Panel, however it is most effective to gather all the information specific to your body and implementing the elimination diet, not with the most common allergens, but the ones that are actually affecting your body. Sometimes the food(s) responsible for the havoc on the gut aren’t in the top 12 common allergens and could be something that is being eaten daily, like oats or bananas. We see foods that are very unsuspecting, such as almonds showing a red flag, when typically we would think of food families like dairy or gluten as most harmful and the replacement of those top allergens are products like almond milk or almond flour. You can see how this can get very confusing and frustrating without a detailed map of what foods are affecting you, and that’s where the Food Allergy Panel testing comes in. The Food Allergy Panel is a way to test 96+ food families for any reactions in your unique body.
To find out more, talk to your doctor about running a food sensitivity test along with a food allergy panel.