Top 5 Food Sensitivity Tests for Functional Medicine Providers

by 
Dr. Shawn Greenan
Top 5 Food Sensitivity Tests for Functional Medicine Providers

Food Sensitivity has gained a lot of attention in the past few years, and for a good reason.  Digestive disorders affect 62 million Americans each year and are one of the nation's most serious health problems regarding discomfort, pain, and working hours lost. (1)

Many specialty labs are offering different versions of food sensitivity tests just to keep up with the demand. But with so many options, it can be extremely overwhelming.

So, we researched the five most common food sensitivity tests ordered by Rupa Health's functional medicine practitioners, simplified the information, and created the following guide to help you find the best test for your functional medicine practice. But before we dive in, here are some important facts on Food Sensitivity testing.

Food Sensitivities are not the same as food allergies. Food sensitivities are not life-threatening but do create an inflammatory response where the body attacks antigens in foods. If left untreated, this inflammatory response can cause long-term health issues. The good news is once you have identified and removed the trigger food, patients start to heal very quickly.

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Common Types of Food Sensitivity Testing

Immunoglobulin G (IgG):

IgG-specific antibody-mediated reactions are the body's natural and normal defensive reactions to infiltrating food antigens. (2) IgG food sensitivity has more published research compared to other food sensitivity tests. (3)

Immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4):

A subclass of IgG testing. IgG4 indicate the presence of antibodies to foods that will not usually cause inflammation, even though high amounts of these antibodies indicate the presence of immune reactions against food antigens. Testing for IgG4 comes in handy for patients not currently showing any inflammatory reactions to foods.

Immunoglobulin A (IgA):

Found in mucous membranes, including the digestive tract. If IgA antibodies are elevated to a particular protein (antigen), this can indicate an immune response to mucosal irritation or damage. (4)

Common Symptom Associated with Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivity symptoms can easily overlap with other common medical diagnosis. Therefore, it's vital to rule these sensitivities out while looking for a root cause. The most common symptoms associated with food sensitivities are:

  • Unexplained loose stools or constipation
  • Gas, cramps, and bloating
  • Skin conditions (eczema, acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis
  • Headaches (not causes by tight muscles)
  • Brain Fog
  • Joint pain
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies (due to an inflamed small and large intestine) (5)

Top 5 Food Sensitivity Test Ordered by Rupa Health Practitioners

Vibrant Wellness Food Sensitivity 1 + Food Sensitivity 2 (with add on Wheat Zoomer)

Most practitioners on our portal order a combination of Vibrant Wellness's Food Sensitivity 1 + 2 lab tests. These two tests measure the body's response to 209 whole food extracts.

This panel offers the options to measure an individual's IgG, IgA, IgG4, and C3d reactivity to food antigens. (6)

Wheat is not part of the 209 foods that are tested, but Vibrant Wellness has an add-on test called the "Wheat Zoomer" that most practitioners add to the food sensitivity profile. The Wheat Zoomer aids in the specific recognition of antibodies to wheat peptides – including gluten and non-gluten components, along with antibodies that indicate the presence of intestinal permeability. It is highly sensitive and designed to detect autoimmune reactions to gluten. You can find out more about their Wheat Zoomer here.

Key Features

  • Serum or blood spot options for your patients. No lab is required for blood spot testing
  • Test for both IgA and IgG antibodies. The intestinal mucosa produces IgA antibodies as a defense mechanism
  • The Vibrant Wellness 209 antigen Food Sensitivity test uses FDA-approved raw food antigen extracts only
  • Has many add-on tests, including food additive sensitivity testing and individual food zoomers

Average Sample Processing Time

14 Business Days

Price

$249

Ayumetrix Basic Food Sensitivity Panel - 96 Foods

Ayumetrix offers a comprehensive 96, 144, or 208 food panel. The most ordered Food sensitivity profile from Ayumetrix on the Rupa Health portal is the 96-food panel. All of their food sensitivity tests measures IgG, IgG4, and IgA antibody responses.  Their 96-food panels are offered in five variations, including a general panel and specialized panels to identify allergens found in typical Asian, Japanese, Mexican, or Vegetarian diets. (7)

Key Features

  • Convenient at-home blood spot testing for your patients
  • Utilizes advanced state of the art equipment and technologies, including immunoassays, mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS, GCMS, ICP-MS)
  • Has a celiac add on test option

Average Sample Processing Time

5 Business Days

Price

$171.44

Alletess Medical Laboratory 96 IgG Food Sensitivity Panel

Alletess specializes in food and inhalant allergy testing, food sensitivities, and other tests to assess the immune system. They have been a leader in the field of allergy and immunology testing since 1980.

Alletess offers 96 and 184 Food profiles, with the 96 profile being the most commonly ordered test by Rupa Health Practitioners. Alletess also offers nutritional and wellness plans for patients and providers once results are received. (8)

Key Features

  • Serum or blood spot options for your patients. No lab is required for blood spot testing
  • Specific IgG and IgA ELISA food panels are arranged in comprehensive panels of foods consumed in the typical western diet
  • Registered Dieticians on board to help with nutritional guidance based on lab results

Average Sample Processing Time

6 Business Days

Price

$99

ELISA / ACT Biotechnologies LRA Food 96

ELISA/ACT's LRA tests measure allergens and sensitivities to foods, additives and preservatives, food colorings, molds, environmental chemicals, toxic minerals and metals, medications, therapeutic herbs, dander, hairs, and feathers. These tests are best used for understanding and treating patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, chronic diseases, immune dysfunction, and food allergies. The food sensitivity test comes in many options, but the most commonly ordered LRA Food test through Rupa Health is the LRA Food 96. (9)

Key Features

  • Serum test
  • LRA directly measures lymphocyte response 
  • Measures all three types of delayed sensitivity reactions through lymphocyte activation Reactive antibody (IgA, IgM, and IgG)
  • By directly monitoring lymphocytes, LRA tests identify true reactive items (less than .1% false positives)
  • Are HIGHLY reproducible (less than 3% day to day variance)

Average Sample Processing Time

10 Business Days

Price

$300

Cell Science Systems 100 Food Panel

Cell Science utilizes the Alcat Test which identifies non-IgE mediated reactions to over 400 different foods, chemicals, and other categories of substances. It is a functional response test and captures the final common pathway of many of the pathogenic mechanisms, immunologic, toxic, and pharmacologic. The most common Cell Science Food Sensitivity test used by Rupa Health practitioners is the 100-food panel. However, many do utilize the add-on options as well. (10)

Key Features

  • Whole Blood test
  • Has many add on tests including food additives, herbs, preservatives, antibiotics, molds, and anti-inflammatory agents
  • Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have correlated Alcat Test results with well-known immunological markers of immune activation
  • The efficacy of the Alcat Test has been documented in numerous studies implementing rigorous double-blind and often placebo-controlled study designs

Average Sample Processing Time

10 Business Days

Price

$225

Food Removal and Reintroduction

Once you find your patient's sensitivity, it's important to note that your patients shouldn't avoid their food sensitivities forever, but there is a pretty strict removal and reintroduction process. Patients should avoid trigger foods for at least six weeks to three months. It can take up to 90 days for the body to stop making the antibodies that are attacking the food. It's essential to re-test or re-introduce patients to their food sensitivities once they show a significant clinical difference.

Summary

Of course, this isn't an extensive list, but it gives you an idea of some of the different types of Food Sensitivity tests Rupa Health offers through our portal. Feel free to take a look at all the tests we offer here.

Are you interested in learning more? Check out our live and prerecorded classes, our magazine with tons of content, or reach out to one of our amazing onboarding managers with any questions you may have.

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References

Dr. Shawn Greenan
Website
Acupuncture Physician
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