Which food sensitivity tests are best?
An at-home food sensitivity test is the ideal solution for anyone looking to pinpoint the specific foods that cause digestive discomfort. Many food sensitivity tests are effective but the differences in the types of foods they test should be considered.
Food sensitivity tests are available in a variety of price points and can offer support to those who need to figure out which foods to eliminate. The Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test is the top choice for an easy yet effective home testing kit.
What to know before you buy a food sensitivity test
What is a food sensitivity test
Home health testing kits are more popular than ever because they offer a glimpse into common health concerns that can be later discussed with a doctor. Comparable to other home health tests, like the home cholesterol test kits featured in the BestReviews buying guide, a food sensitivity test is performed at home then sent to a lab for results.
Food sensitivity testing is not the same as food allergy testing. A food sensitivity test identifies the IgG antibody, while a food allergy test will identify the IgE antibody. If you suspect that certain foods or ingredients disagree with your digestive system, you will benefit from a food sensitivity test. If you are experiencing symptoms of an allergic reaction after you eat something, contact a medical professional. Food allergy tests are not offered at home and can only be administered by a medical professional.
How to use a food sensitivity test
Food sensitivity samples come from either cheek swabs, pulled hair stands or blood samples. You follow the test’s directions to collect the sample at home and then mail it to a laboratory for testing.
As you choose a food sensitivity test, consider your comfort level with the procedure. You may need to prick your finger if the test uses a blood sample. You’ll also need to consume the foods you suspect trigger your symptoms for several weeks before testing so that the IgG antibody can potentially be identified. You may experience distressing digestive symptoms for weeks.
Food sensitivities vs. food allergies
Food sensitivity tests cannot test for food allergies.
A food sensitivity, also referred to as a food intolerance, is often limited to digestive problems and is considered less serious than a food allergy. Food sensitivity symptoms include bloating, excessive gas, mild stomach pain or cramps, constipation, diarrhea and heartburn. For example, lactose intolerance is a food sensitivity that causes digestive discomfort but does not trigger a negative reaction within the body’s immune system.
A food allergy will cause a reaction from the immune system, which negatively affects various organs of the body. In some cases an allergic reaction to food can be life-threatening. For this reason, anyone who experiences symptoms of a food allergy such as hives, swelling in the airways or severe digestive distress should seek medical attention right away.
Food sensitivity test for kids
Although you can give these tests to children, some studies indicate that children may outgrow their food sensitivities. IgG levels increase the more often a type of food is consumed, so if a certain food is introduced to a child’s diet more frequently, the child may develop the ability to tolerate it. Work with your child’s pediatrician to determine if it is safe to have your child continue to consume the food instead of just eliminating it.
What to look for in a quality food sensitivity test
Test result speed and reliability
The turnaround time for a food sensitivity test will vary by manufacturer. Often, the lab will receive your test within one week of you mailing it to them and then they can process your results. Make sure you completely follow directions and send your sample in a timely manner to reduce the chance of any delays.
Food sensitivity tests can vary in reliability. To get the best results, you may want to choose a test that works with a reputable lab or is recommended by doctors.
How much you can expect to spend on food sensitivity tests
Expect to spend $50-$250 on a food sensitivity test. Most insurance companies will not cover the cost of at-home food sensitivity testing.
Food sensitivity test FAQ
Is food sensitivity the only cause of digestive issues?
A. No. Issues with your gut lining, which can be brought on by poor nutrition as well as food sensitivities, can lead to discomfort. When the gut is working properly, a tight barrier controls what nutrients get absorbed into the bloodstream. If your gut lining has cracks, additional nutrients or toxins could pass through. Work with your healthcare professionals to determine the cause of your symptoms.
What else can be done if a food allergy is suspected?
A. Keeping a food diary is a great method for identifying foods that trigger unwanted side effects. A detailed food diary will note the time of day foods were eaten and the specific symptoms each food caused. Noting the time until the onset of negative symptoms is also useful information to keep track of in a food diary.
What’s the best food sensitivity test to buy?
Top food sensitivity test
What you need to know: This is a physician-reviewed blood sample test that measures IgG antibodies from 96 different foods.
What you’ll love: The results come from a CLIA-certified lab. You can also download them, making it easy to share with a healthcare provider.
What you should consider: Multiple finger pricks may be needed to get a large enough blood sample.
Where to buy: Amazon
Top food sensitivity test for the money
What you need to know: Your dry blood sample will be sent to a CLIA-certified lab to look for IgG antibodies from a variety of foods, including Candida albicans.
What you’ll love: The testing kit price includes test equipment, scientific analysis and laboratory reporting.
What you should consider: This test has longer shipping times and a slower test result speed than other IgG tests.
Where to buy: Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Hair strands are tested using bio resonance technology to produce a recommended elimination list for over 640 food intolerances.
What you’ll love: Testing results are sent to the customer portal within ten days of the lab receiving the sample.
What you should consider: Test results are general and some find them difficult to understand.
Where to buy: Amazon
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Elizabeth Foley writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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