food intolerances

jessica cox | jcn clinic food intolerances

Intolerances to certain foods can be disruptive, uncomfortable and painful. When suffering digestive complaints, you may often feel you are reacting to everything, which can be infuriating and upsetting often leading to an anxiety towards eating in general.

It can be hard to indentify the offending food, especially when most reactions can onset between 12 – 36 hours after their consumption. Often there is focus on what food was consumed last, when in reality it is more often the food causing the problem was consumed days ago. Furthermore there may be more than one food that is causing digestive problems which in turn heightens the person’s ability to identify detrimental foods.

IgG Food Intolerance Testing can help identify problematic foods. This type of testing is useful for weeding out specific foods which create an IgG mediated response. This can be described as foods that the immune system makes an increased amount of immunoglobulin’s to as a reaction to the compounds the body does not like.

Through simple blood testing these Immunoglobulin responses can be used to identify offending foods. The clinic utilises IgG food intolerance testing (along with IgE and IgA where deemed necessary) to help clients identify food intolerances. Through nutritional consultation and investigation we help clients to remove problematic foods from their diets. This is done in unison with investigating digestive issues and metabolic problems which are often exacerbating the immune response to foods.

JCN Clinic has been using ELISA method IgG testing within the practice for over eight years. We have found this test invaluable with helping clients identify trigger foods and therefore facilitate a more appropriate food intake for their individual needs.

 IgG food intolerance testing is controversial within the circles of practitioners, immunologists (who work more specifically with allergies) and allergists. Allergists see no real basis for its testing methods and say the science just isn’t there to back it up as a diagnostic tool for allergies. This is true from an allergy diagnostic perspective, however food intolerances are expressed differently in the body and are not an immune reaction. They are a ‘humoral’ mediated reaction, which initiate a chemical response different to a true allergy.

 Studies have shown causative relationships between IgG testing methods (ELISA based) and reduction of symptoms when dietary protocols are followed in relation to the test results. For instance, a study published in Gut 2004 showed a correlation between eliminating foods from diets based on IgG testing and a reduction of IBS symptoms. (W.Atkinsons et al, Gut 2004)

 A 2010 double blind cross over study published in Sage Journals found that dietary restriction based on IgG testing showed a reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks. (Alpay. K et al, Sage Journals, 2010).  An additional article published in the Journal of Nutritional and Metabolism looked at the detection of antibodies against food antigens using IgG, IgE, IgA and IgM antibodies and found that determination of antigens would be beneficial by testing foods against all antibodies, inclusive of IgG. (Vojdani. A, Nutrition & Metabolism, 2009).  

 A review article published in 2010 in Nutrition in Clinical Practice concluded “IgE-based testing continues to be the gold standard for suspected food allergies. Among modalities used by many conventional and alternative practitioners, immunoglobulin G (IgG)–based testing showed promise, with clinically meaningful results. It has been proven useful as a guide for elimination diets, with clinical impact for a variety of diseases.” 

 Also in closing this review article stated “Disclosing the basis for food reactions continues to present a diagnostic challenge, and testing for food allergies in the context of an appropriate clinical history is paramount to making the correct diagnosis.” (MD Mullin, GE et al, NCP, 2010)

As nutritional practitioners this highlights for us the importance of complete and thoroughly case taking and considering all aspects of a persons health concerns when working with food intolerances.

Please note that food intolerance testing is not enough on it’s own to give sound health. At the root of food intolerances, particularly multiple intolerances, is commonly an inflamed and sub-optimal functioning digestive system. It is always imperative to treat the digestive system along with removing trigger foods in unison. When this process is done correctly, with time, most clients can reintroduce low reactive foods again without too many concerns.