Food allergy and sensitivity testing and what you need to know
Let’s talk about the differences between a food IgE and a food IgG. Most food allergy tests that are performed look at food reactions through a chemical called IgG. IgG is the most abundant immune chemical in the body and It reacts with food quite adversity which can lead to low level inflammatory and immune reactions in the body. These reactions are called IgG delayed hypersensitivity reactions. They are not life threatening but in the digestive system they can cause bloating, gas, diarrhea. In the body that can lead to low level inflammation that might lead to joint pain, muscle pain, fatigue, brain fog, etc. With kids on the spectrum many times they have elevated food IgG reactions that can weaken their immune systems over time that makes them more susceptible to things like viruses and bacteria that they are exposed to. So a food IgG reaction, even though sometimes it is called an allergic reaction, it is truly not an allergy but rather a hypersensitivity to those food proteins. So when you do a food IgG panel you are looking at 90 or 96 different foods that your child is eating and measuring that immune chemical against it. Now an IgE reaction is a true allergy. This is something an allergist can test through the blood for a food, pollen, dust, animal hair, etc. They can also do this through skin prick testing to look for an IgE reaction. Most food reactions we come in contact with and are testing for are not IgE reactions but they are more IgG reactions. And an IgE reaction is usually pretty obvious. It can many times happen within minutes of eating something. We’ve heard these cases where someone reacts to peanuts or strawberries or pineapples or shell fish. In a real extreme case they can develop welts on their body, their lips may swell, they get runny eyes or an itchy throat and these are types of reactions that are immediate after having a food. In severe situations it can lead to anaphylactic reaction or anaphylactic shock. Someone who has a true allergy to bee stings for example can develop and anaphylactic reaction and need to be hospitalized and take medication to short circuit that reaction. So there is a difference. When you are looking at doing food sensitivity testing for your child, you are primarily looking at doing an IgG food sensitivity testing. The profile that I tend to use in my practice is from Great Plains Labs and is called the food IgG profile and that is where you are actually looking at these immune chemicals to your child’s diet. Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion surrounding IgG and IgE allergy testing. Just remember that IgE is true allergy and IgG is sensitivity.
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