Food sensitivity can contribute to gastrointestinal inflammation and systemic inflammatory burden. It can be an underlying cause of nagging symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, sinus congestion, chronic pain, headaches, and weight gain.
Determining whether you have food sensitivities and which foods you are sensitive to can be an arduous process. The best way to diagnose which foods are causing problems is by doing a trial of an elimination-challenge diet, where suspect foods are removed for a period of time and systematically re-introduced. While there are some common culprits like gluten, dairy, soy and eggs, it can be difficult to know which foods to eliminate beyond that, because one can be sensitive to less commonly antigenic foods, like carrots or zucchini- things you wouldn’t necessarily think to eliminate. Food sensitivity testing takes some of the guesswork out of this process. Seeing results on paper can be a real motivator for plunging into an elimination trial.
There are several types of food sensitivity testing, with varying methodologies. One of the most commonly used tests is IgG testing, where antibodies to various foods are measured. For each food that has an IgG elevation, one is thought to be sensitive to that food. However, as with all of the food sensitivity tests on the market, there’s controversy around the accuracy of this testing– both in terms of providing false positives as well as false negatives. In some cases, the results come back with an overwhelming number of positives. While this might indicate a leaky gut, people are still left with the question, “What CAN I eat?” For others, the results have been underwhelming, generating only 1 or 2 positives for foods they rarely eat anyhow. Thus, the test doesn’t help explain their suspected sensitivities. When I’m still suspecting a food sensitivity, it leaves me with the question, “Now what?”
Then I started using The Food Inflammation Test (FIT), which takes traditional IgG food sensitivity testing to the next level. In addition to looking at IgG antibodies, FIT refines the accuracy of results by testing an inflammatory marker, complement (C3d). C3d is activated in response to the combination of the specific IgG antibody and the ingested food. Thus, it doesn’t just tell us the body is producing antibodies against a food; it tells us that there is a measurable inflammatory response.
Hence, by looking at both IgG and C3d, FIT determines which IgG positives are most clinically relevant in terms of causing inflammation. This increases the reliability of the test considerably, with specificity and sensitivity of 95%, meaning that 95% of time the test will appropriately indicate which foods are eliciting an inflammatory response and which aren’t.
FIT looks at 132 foods and food additives. The test also looks for a candida-related inflammatory response, which can indicate increased intestinal permeability. While not covered by insurance, the price is comparable to many of the other food sensitivity tests on the market, and is FDA approved. The test can be performed using serum blood draw or an in-office finger-stick sample.
While FIT can be a useful tool for most people, there may be some other dietary factors at play or other types of food reactions, including true IgE allergies, which this test does not detect. If you’re interested in exploring whether food sensitivities are contributing to your health concerns, I will help you sort through the complexity and make sure you’re a good candidate for the test. I’ll walk you through the testing process, help you navigate what do with the results and get you on the road to feeling better.
Learn more about Dr. Bridget’s services and to book at appointment, visit our services page.
Dr. Bridget Sominé is a California licensed naturopath, practicing at Farmacopia. She integrates biomedical science and evidence-based medicine with time-honored natural therapies and a constitutional approach. Her specialties include allergy/immune issues, hormone & reproductive imbalances, digestive problems, mood balance, & nutrigenomic medicine.