Allergies are our body's response to environmental triggers. These triggers are
identified as foreign to the body and in response our body has an immune reaction to
the offending substance. Allergens can be in the form of grasses, pollens, as well as
foods. Symptoms of environmental allergens such as pollens, grasses are often the
typical symptoms we associate with allergies including; itchy, watery eyes, sneezing,
chronic cough, asthma. Food allergies are less well known, yet they may also cause the
same symptoms that the environmental allergens cause. Additionally, other symptoms
such as skin rashes (eczema), indigestion, reflux, constipation/and or diarrhea,
behavioral problems (including Autism and ADHD), and bed wetting may be related
to food allergies.
Food allergies vs. Food sensitivities: A food allergy is a response by the body which
involves the immune system. A food sensitivity can cause similar symptoms without
involving an immune response. Unfortunately there are no lab tests which can diagnose
IgG Food Allergy Testing: Most of our clients choose to do the IgG food allergy test to help determine what their allergies are. The test we use, is performed using a few drops of blood form a finger stick or from a blood draw. The IgG antibodies test for delayed sensitivity reactions, which means they may not have a reaction for 24-72 hours after exposure to the offending substance. An IgE test is available as well. IgE antibodies are involved in immediate sensitivity reactions, which are much easier identified after exposure and therefore less often indicated. You do have the option of simply doing the IgG test only as these reactions are much harder to detect without the help of labs.
Environmental Allergy Testing: It is less common that we do testing for environmental allergens such as grasses, pollens, mold or animal dander. The reason being is that there is not a single test grouping offered that covers all of the plants indigenous or found locally in San Diego. For this reason it would be easy to miss allergens our patients are reacting to. Secondly, even if we know which allergens someone is reacting to, we can't always avoid them.
Benefits of this test over a scratch test:This test involves a single prick of the finger or heel and tests for 96 different foods, unlike the scratch test or skin prick test which involves multiple scratches or injections.
While each and every allergen can't be ruled out with an allergy test and the fact that no allergy test is 100% accurate, we have still used these tests with patients with great success in helping them avoid allergens and make great strides with their health. With that said, it is important to keep in mind, that just because you have a positive food allergen test it does not necessarily confirm that it is the cause of your symptoms. The only way to confirm the results is to avoid the allergen.