I’m always on the lookout for advanced methods of food sensitivity testing. It is a simple fact that we don’t yet know all the mechanisms that cause us to react to food and we have been dependent very much on IgG antibody and some cellular testing like ALCAT up to now. However, as useful as those can be, it can result in a long, scary list of foods that people may or may not need to avoid. I have generally erred on the side of caution and advised trial avoidance of the highest-scoring foods and classic elimination and reintroduction techniques (see here for more on that).
For a while now, though, some labs have been testing to see which foods have IgG antibodies bound to other immune complexes such as complement. Complement is a known cause of the inflammatory cascade and is a really key player in protecting us from inbound antigens, viruses, parasites and bacteria, for example. It patrols the body harmlessly most of the time but turns an aggressive attack on anything it thinks shouldn’t be there. It then sets off a whole inflammatory cascade, often in body tissues, which results in the symptoms we feel. Although note that a food can be causing an inflammatory reaction – and adding to the inflammatory load in a body, thus afecting your healing ability and risk of disease – without you having any outward symptoms!
So, if you find a food complexed to complement, it is an inflammatory-causing food for you. The average number the lab finds is about 7-10, so we are less likely to get long avoidance lists. OK, it might not be the only mechanism, but if it helps us to narrow down an avoidance food list for people, then all to the good.
I am not an early-adopter of new tests because I like to see how they pan out. I’ve seen enough now to make me think it is worth switching to complement-IgG tests rather than straight IgG and cellular methods.
So, I have revised my food sensitivity test provision accordingly, simplifying it to focus on the IgE allergy tests as before, plus the FIT (Food Inflammation Test ) and Cyrex combined IgA and IgG tests, especially Cyrex 3 (to confirm gluten related disorders) and Cyrex 10 (the most comprehensive and well-designed combined antibody test I’ve yet come across).
The FIT test is suitable for the vast majority of people who want to try and find out if food sensitivity is a factor in their illness and symptoms. The main test measures 132 common foods, additives etc – including, happily, all the ones in the Cyrex 4 cross-reactivity test (because many of those are dairy-based) so I shall be advising this one for that from now on where poss – and a candida and zonulin check for leaky gut. There is also a smaller test with 22 common foods.
You can see more info on the Allergy Tests Overview here. Follow the links to sample reports and collection instructions – a dried blood spot – yay: no bloods to be taken or centrifuging to be done 🙂 And you can read more techy stuff on how the test works here.
I hope that makes sense and helps!