Premium Food Intolerance Test
Do you think you have a food intolerance? Find out exactly what your body is trying to tell you.
Introducing the YorkTest Premium Food Intolerance Test: part of our Gut Microbiome Testing Range.
Who are YorkTest?
YorkTest is one of our trusted partner labs here at IBS Clinics.
The clinicians at YorkTest are experts in food intolerance and allergy testing, with over 25 years experience in analysing foods that can cause problems in your body. Their blood tests measure antibodies to foods and components of foods in your bloodstream.
The YorkTest Premium Food Intolerance Test measures IgG antibodies. IgG (Immunoglobulin G) antibodies are part of an immune response which can happen when you react to foods. A simple blood test is used to measure food-specific IgG antibodies to identify foods you might be sensitive to.
IgG antibodies are different to IgE antibodies, which your body releases as part of a true allergic reaction. YorkTest also has a food allergy test. If you’re not sure whether your symptoms are due to an intolerance or an allergy, we suggest you order both. We offer a discount if you order both tests.
Why do we suggest the YorkTest food intolerance test?
Unlike other tests on the market that measure just one type of IgG, the Premium Food Intolerance YorkTest gives you information on the four most common foods that cause IgG reactions: egg, milk, wheat and soy. These foods account for about 90% of all food reactions.
Premium Food Intolerance Test
The Premium Food Intolerance Test reveals how your body reacts to over 200 common foods. Your results are compared against those of thousands of people around the world, giving you a unique insight into your individual reaction patterns. So, with the Premium Food Intolerance Test you can discover what triggers your symptoms and find out whether there are any hidden sensitivities lurking within your diet.
Food intolerances and sensitivities vs food allergies
When your digestive system is irritated by or unable to properly process food this is called food intolerance, or food sensitivity (the two terms are used interchangeably). Food intolerances are quite common. Most of us will have an unpleasant reaction to a food type at one time or another. They may or may not involve an IgG response, so it’s possible that your YorkTest Premium Food Intolerance Test may not highlight some or all of the foods that you react to.
When your immune system mistakenly identifies a protein in food as something harmful it creates antibodies to defend against it. This defence is the allergic reaction: your symptoms. Between 1% and 10% of people in the UK have food allergies.
From wheat to milk to histamines, reactions to foods are on the rise. Over a third of people in the UK believe they are intolerant or allergic to some foods.
Whether your symptoms are in your gut, on your skin or even in your mood, it’s easy to assume that you have an allergy. But most food reactions aren’t allergies. They’re intolerances/sensitivities.
While the symptoms of a food intolerance or sensitivity can be just as life limiting as allergic symptoms, they involve different processes in your body.
Let’s take a look at each:
Food intolerances or sensitivities
Food intolerances or sensitivities can happen when your body produces immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies as part of an immune reaction. Your gut is supposed to keep substances in, but when large particles of food escape and get into the bloodstream (leaky gut), you can get symptoms.
IgG immune reactions are hard to notice at first. You could eat a problematic food but not experience any symptoms until a few days later. But if that food gets into your bloodstream regularly, the immune system is constantly activated.
So a food sensitivity or intolerance can involve the immune system, but the reaction is generally less severe in the short-term. Whereas with the IgE antibody of an allergy, the reaction is much faster and can be life-threatening.
You can find IgG proteins in all parts of your body, so your symptoms can appear anywhere. They might be:
- raised temperature
- gas and wind
- hives and rashes
- joint pain
Food intolerances or sensitivities are very much driven by the amount of the offending food you’ve eaten. We say they are ‘dose-dependent’. This means you might get away with eating one apple, but if you eat three you could be in trouble.
While food intolerances/sensitivities can be debilitating, they are usually temporary. True food allergies are for life, although some people appear to get over their childhood allergies. In our experience, food intolerances often get better when your gut gets better: that generally means avoiding the particular foods and using targeted supplements to heal your gut lining and balance your microbiome.
Intolerances and sensitivities can also happen because your gut isn’t producing enough of a certain digestive enzyme. People who are intolerant to legumes, for example, might not have enough of the enzyme raffinose (or others) to be able to break down the carbohydrates in them. So food sensitivities and intolerances don’t always involve an IgG reaction.
Other common food intolerances include:
- Nightshades (potatoes, peppers and others)
- Fermentable carbohydrates known as FODMAPs
Salicylates (tea, coffee, pepper, olive oil, coconut oil etc). See The Low-Sal Life for more information on salicylate intolerance.
Histamines (wine, cheese, aged meats, for example). SIGHI has a good downloadable leaflet on histamine intolerance.
Oxalates (spinach, almonds, rhubarb and more). Dr. Jockers has a great resource for oxalates.
Sometimes these intolerances/sensitivities mean your body will send out inflammatory messengers straight to your immune system, while others will activate your immune system through a cascade of processes. Your gut microbiome plays a big role in your chances of developing and maintaining food intolerances and/or sensitivities.
In a nutshell, food intolerances and sensitivities arise from compromised digestion. While the immune system is involved, the process is less direct and the symptoms happen much more slowly than in the case of a food allergy.
A food allergy happens when your body launches a huge immediate IgE immune response. It’s serious, and the symptoms can be deadly if they don’t get the right medical attention.
A true food allergy is your body’s way of trying to get rid of something it ‘thinks’ is an invader that could harm you. Ironically, in severe allergies, the symptoms are a lot more likely to kill you than a pathogen or virus. It’s an inappropriate reaction by your body’s immune system.
Between 2% and 8% of the UK population suffers from food allergies. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the most common are:
- Peanuts and other nuts
The first time you eat a food that your body thinks is an enemy, your immune system gets ready for the next exposure by making a protective protein: immunoglobulin E, or IgE. It’s a specially made particle that will fight for the rest of your life against that food.
If you eat that food again, those special proteins are ready and armed for combat. They quickly attach to other cells in your body, provoking them to release a chemical called histamine to kill off the invader. It’s the histamine that causes the suffering and pain of an allergic reaction.
There are two main reasons people develop allergies:
Genetics: It’s very common for severe IgE allergies to be passed down in families.
Environment: Many theories abound about the relationship between environment and our immune systems. We know that in less ‘developed’ countries, people have far fewer allergies. They’re also less common in rural communities, and rising fast in urban environments. Your gut bacteria, lifestyle, exposure to animals, nutrient status and even traumatic events in your childhood all influence your likelihood of developing allergies.
Your symptoms could be mild or debilitating. The most common ones are:
- Stomach cramps
- Swelling of the airways
- Difficulty breathing
In the worst cases, food allergies cause anaphylactic shock and death.
If you want a diagnosis for food intolerances or sensitivities, we need to warn you that no such thing exists. That’s because all of the symptoms of food intolerances or sensitivities overlap with other conditions, and there’s no definitive test that will confirm them with 100% certainty.
That’s why if you want to get to the bottom of your symptoms, it’s important to understand what trigger foods are likely to be contributing to your problems—with a food intolerance test—at the same time as looking at your overall health and health history. The more you know about why you developed the food intolerance in the first place, the better chance you have of tackling it for good.
We recommend you work with a qualified nutritionist or functional health practitioner to help you work with the results of your York Premium Food Intolerance Test, to uncover the roots of your food intolerances/sensitivities and find a way back to health.
Your immune system can attack food particles if it sees them as ‘foreign’, causing inflammation. Inflammation can result in more tricky symptoms if left unaddressed.
We use the York Premium Food Intolerance test to explore your sensitivities to over 200 different foods, or the substances within them. The test will be delivered to you: just provide us with a tiny finger-prick sample of blood and we’ll do the rest.
Food Intolerance Tests In The UK
Online food intolerance/sensitivity testing has exploded in recent years. There are now so many online home test kits and food intolerance labs that it’s impossible to know which ones are reliable.
Labs all use their own individual testing methodologies, and some are more reproducible than others (meaning that if you had the same test twice, you would probably get different results each time).
For the best results from a food intolerance or sensitivity test, you need information on how your antibodies are reacting against specific foods (the test results), alongside advice from an experienced nutritionist or functional medicine practitioner who will look at your test results together with your symptoms and health history.
There are other ways to test for food intolerances, including tests that involve a blood draw, elimination diets, and a vast range of alternative testing methods.
Some testing providers need a larger amount of blood to work with, which you can’t get with a finger prick test at home. A phlebotomist or nurse will usually carry out the blood draw in a clinic, which you’ll need to pay for, unless your NHS GP agrees to do it at your local surgery. Clinicians at the testing lab will measure serum to detect IgE and/or IgG levels in the blood. Some labs offer full antigen profiles, which analyse inflammatory markers like cytokines, or white blood cells, for example.
These work by cutting out certain foods and food groups from your diet and then reintroducing them while you monitor your symptoms. Some people are very good at this while others find the discipline and dedication a lot harder. Working with a practitioner who can help you to ensure you’re eliminating and reintroducing the right foods at the right time can be very helpful.
There are endless ways you can test for food sensitivities, but they aren’t necessarily valid or accurate. Kinesiology, hair analysis and vega testing are a few examples. You might see these online with great reviews, but as far as we know, the only scientifically-backed way to test your immune system’s reactions to foods is by measuring the antibodies in your blood.
NHS Food Intolerance Testing
The NHS doesn’t currently offer food intolerance or sensitivity tests. If you’d like a food intolerance/sensitivity test, a nutritionist can order one for you, or you can order one yourself. If you work with a nutritionist, they will usually ask you about your symptoms and health history, and get you to keep a food and symptom diary. That’s because a detailed case history together with the right testing reveals more answers than either alone.
If you go to your GP with allergic symptoms, they will ask you questions to find out if they need to investigate further. If they think you have any issues with food allergies, a GP will refer you to an allergy specialist.
An allergy is very different to an intolerance. While an allergy might give you the same symptoms as an intolerance—like stomach cramps or itchy skin—your reaction on a cellular level is very different.
As far as we know, the NHS only tests for specific allergies. So they may give you a test for a milk allergy, or a gluten allergy, but they can’t give you one test that will reveal what exactly you’re allergic to.
If you suspect certain foods are contributing to your symptoms, but you don’t know what they could be, we recommend carrying out the York Premium Intolerance Test under the guidance of a qualified nutritionist.
Premium Food Intolerance Test vs Standard Food Intolerance Test
The York Premium Food Intolerance Test is one of the most comprehensive food intolerance/sensitivity tests on the market.
Most tests evaluate only around 50 foods. The York Premium Food Intolerance Test includes 200 foods.
Taking the test at home and getting your results is quick and easy.
When you order your kit, it will arrive at your home one or two days later. Each kit includes an antiseptic wipe, two single-use lancets, a wand or tube to capture the blood sample and its container, and a pre-paid Tracked 24 return envelope to send the kit back.
You’ll need to register your kit on YorkTest’s website to make sure you get your results.
Best Food Intolerance Test in the UK?
We believe that the York Premium Food Intolerance Test is the best in the UK.
Here are a few reasons why:
- It measures all four subtypes of food-specific IgG
- It’s a simple finger-prick blood test
- You get a free, expert, accurate analysis from their fully-accredited laboratory technicians
- Your results are listed in easy-to-read traffic light values: high, borderline, and normal reactivity
- YorkTest Laboratories have been carrying out laboratory diagnostic testing for 40 years and are a leading provider of IgG antibody testing programmes and IgE allergy testing in the UK.
Improve your gut health and immune system
Your gut contains about 100 trillion bacteria. It plays a critical role in your immune system. The best way to reduce your immune load is to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits daily and to eliminate processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, gluten, soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, and GMOs. Avoiding these foods reduces the amount of toxins your body must detoxify and reduces the load on your liver and kidneys.
If your test results show you have food intolerances/sensitivities, it’s important that you look at them in the bigger picture of your overall health and symptoms. There are many reasons why your body produces IgG antibodies. Elevated levels of IgG antibodies have been linked to IBS, obesity, depression and chronic inflammatory conditions.
The York Premium Food Intolerance Test gives you a very detailed report, which is an important piece of the puzzle of your health and a great base to work from. However, we believe that repair, while being careful to avoid your IgG-positive foods, will reduce the stress on your gut and your IgG levels will come down as a result. That gives your symptoms a good chance of improving.
Most food intolerances/sensitivites improve over time. Stress and hormones are big contributors, so your symptoms tend to fluctuate along with them over your lifetime. Temporarily avoiding the foods you’re sensitive to and optimising your gut health gives you the best chance of tolerating the most foods long term.
When you get your food intolerance test results, remember to keep in mind:
- A limited diet can increase IgG levels.
- Imbalances in your microbiome can increase your sensitivity to food, and raise IgG levels.
- Sometimes IgG antibodies to a specific food can increase after you’ve identified an allergy to the same food and begun to avoid it.
- It’s common to have high IgG levels on your test results and not have any symptoms.
Food intolerance testing
Your immune system can attack food particles if it identifies them as ‘foreign’. Initially causing inflammation, this attack results in more tricky symptoms if left unaddressed.
We use the York Premium Food Intolerance test to identify your sensitivity to over 200 food and drink ingredients. The test will be delivered to you: All you have to do is provide us with a tiny finger-prick of blood and we’ll do the rest.
Food intolerance V food allergy
When your digestive system is irritated by or unable to properly process food this is called food intolerance. They’re quite common, in fact most of us will have an unpleasant reaction to a food at one time or another.
When your immune system mistakenly identifies a protein in food as something harmful it creates antibodies to defend against it. This defence is signified by an allergic reaction. Between 1% and 10% of people in the UK have food allergies.
Improve your gut health and immune system
Your gut contains about 100 trillion bacteria. It plays a critical role in your immune system. The best way to reduce your immune load is to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits daily. Try to reduce processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, gluten, soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, and GMOs also. Avoiding these foods reduces the amount of toxins your body must detoxify and eliminates the overload on your liver and kidneys.
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