With all the food sensitivity tests out there it is hard to know which is the right test, or the best test. There are some completely bogus tests, and then there are those tests that actually work. It all comes down to science.
Hair Follicle Testing
There are tests out there that use hair follicles, to test for food sensitivity. Many voices in the medical community have addressed this type of test. There is no reaction in the hair follicle from any digestion process or food-based reactions. There has been no scientific backing of this method to test for food sensitivity.
Muscle Response (pushing down on an extended hand while holding a piece of suspect food in the mouth). The basic idea behind this test was that when there is an adverse reaction to a food, the sympathetic nervous system will respond, causing a weakness in the extremities. The weakness will be easily seen, and then the suspect food can be eliminated from the patient’s diet. This can be performed at home, or in a practitioner’s office. There hasn’t been any finding that backs this claim, or any other muscle response test.
Being on the most widely used, and often medical community backed, the elimination diet with a food journal many say is the best test for food sensitivity. You do not eat the suspect food for up to 6 weeks and record your body’s reactions, and symptoms. At the end of this elimination period, you begin eating the food again and record any symptoms or signs of discomfort.
This test can have a positive effect, but can not measure sensitivity to a combination of foods, or that the body’s normal changes are producing the symptoms, or that there are a number of foods causing the symptoms.
Blood Test Based Tests, there are two tests that have been around for decades –
The Cytotoxic Test, which has been around in one form or another for many years. In general, this test, which tests for a cellular reaction from white blood cells, doesn’t have any reliability, or reproducibility. This test was banned in many states since 1985.
Recently the test has resurfaced as the ALCAT test. ALCAT stands for Antigen Leukocyte Antibody Test, which sounds important, but is not very reliable or reproducible. It also doesn’t address the immune system reaction in suspect foods.
The MRT (Mediator Release Test) – the test is also something people are drawn to. This is also a cell-based test, using a full blood draw for the sample. The process is white blood cells change when exposed to the food antigen in the sample. This change, from solid to liquid reveals food sensitivity.
While some people have reported positive results with MRT, there have been no studies on its effectiveness in identifying food sensitivity.
Antibody-Based Sensitivity Tests – these tests are the most popular today, and have the most research focused on their effectiveness. In these tests, there are two types –
ELISA Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay.
This type of food sensitivity test measures the IgG reaction to food proteins. A positive reaction and the degree of reaction determines the level of sensitivity. Many popular labs use this test. While much better than other tests, this test can not determine active and passive sensitivity.
Microarray IgG ELISA
On the face, this test seems to be the same as the ELISA, but it is quite different. This test shows the most reactions, to the most foods, and has the most reliable technology.
The technology has grown into a force that shows an excellent reliability and reproducibility aspects. There is a movement in the medical communities to come behind this type of antibody-based testing. The test is science-based and technologically advanced to the point where there is little doubt this type of testing works.
The science remains the most telling part of food sensitivity. The Microarray IgG ELISA is the most reliable test out there today.