Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Food Allergy/IntoleranceTesting, To Do or Not To Do?

While I'm studying up on food allergies and food intolerance's, I'd like to hear what you think on food allergy/intolerance testing. Have you, or anyone you know been tested to deduct what your food intolerance are?
First - I've come to learn there's a big difference between a food allergy and food intolerance.

WebMD defines both: 
    • food allergy "is an immune system response. It occurs when the body mistakes an ingredient in food -- usually a protein -- as harmful and creates a defense system (antibodies) to fight it. Food allergy symptoms develop when the antibodies are battling the "invading" food. The most common food allergies are peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans and almonds), fish, and shellfish, milk, eggs, soy products, and wheat." 
  • A food intolerance on the other hand is "a digestive system response rather than an immune system response. It occurs when something in a food irritates a person's digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest or breakdown, the food. Intolerance to lactose, which is found in milk and other dairy products, is the most common food intolerance."

Thus far, I've only been told about Alcat, which claims to:
"accurately and objectively measure leukocyte cellular reactivity in whole blood, which is a final common pathway of all mechanisms. The test utilizes electronic, state of the art, hematological instrumentation. Standard allergy tests, such as skin testing or RAST are not accurate for delayed type reactions to foods and chemicals. They measure only a single mechanism, such as the effect of mast cell release of histamine or the presence of allergen specific IgE molecules. Delayed reactions to foods and chemicals are NOT IgE mediated.

The ALCAT Test also differs from standard IgG tests in that they rely exclusively on one immune pathway, serum levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG). In fact, high food specific IgG titers are indicative only of exposure, not necessarily intolerance.

The ALCAT Test reproducibly measures the final common pathway of all pathogenic mechanism; whether immune, non-immune, or toxic. It is the only test shown to correlate with clinical symptoms by double blind oral challenges, the gold standard."
Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat
 (written by co-founder of Alcat, Roger Deutsch) and reviewing the Alcat testing system, but, I've also read Dr. Weil's claims that the only way to verify food intolerance testing is by eliminating foods and testing your reactions. The food rotation/elimination process is also part of Alcat's system. 
I'm intrigued and tempted - but, cautious nonetheless. I've listened to the DVD that comes with Alcat information for potential customers, where Roger Duetsch the co-founder, and Dr. David Brady, an Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bridgeport discuss Alcat testing.  During their interviews, they admit the food testing is 83% accurate, but, claim this is the best percentage out there.

Who's right?

What do you know about the subject?

Appreciate you shedding some light!


  1. Thank You soooo much for this blog!!! I have been diagnosed with Celiac by trial and error and connect the dots lol!!! No formal testing has been done but my GP and I had been putting the various ailments I've been having over the past few years together and when the gluten was eliminated just about all the symptoms disappeared.

    I am loathe to get tested formally but would like to know the extent of the damage done to me since I suspect I've been a Celiac since 2003 or perhaps longer. This article was great and gives another perspective I've not heard/read about.

    Thanks for all the awesome places to eat!! I think I will finally be able to have a birthday cake this year that won't kill me!!!


  2. Thank you for your comment!! I would also suggest you checking out the gluten free checklist I have on my about celiac disease link - its a great one. From my understanding, from the many many tests my GI's performed - getting testing for the Celiac gene (is a simple blood test) - to find out the severity of the damage done to you - you'd have a endoscopy done (I have links to more information about these tests on my about me link).

    You will LOVE Bite and Bunny Cakes, wonderful gluten free bakers who take pride in making delicious gluten free goodies (I have blogs on both in Bakery and Chocolate - my 2 favorite things~!). I was desperate for a gluten free cookie cake for my birthday and Marie, owner of Bite made it happen for me, and it ROCKED!!!

    Being gluten free isn't as bad as it used to be (we have sooo many great options out there), life will be fine for you - just have to make life changes as you go along - the adjustments are what's tough. Keep in touch and let me know how your journey goes. And, if you do additional allergy testing - please let us know your thoughts.