Allergies and the testing is a very complicated subject, I hope to demystify in basic terms the allergy testing available to us today.
The definition of an Allergy is simply put: The physical reaction of the body which has been triggered by an environmental exposure to a food, airborne pollen or chemical that the body sees as an invader. The resulting physical recording of this response is through a protein that can be identified in the blood, saliva, and gut. These “Immunoglobulin” responses are your bodies attempt to keep you safe in the future by responding adversely when you come into contact with the offending trigger again.
We are all familiar with the traditional Prick or Patch test for allergies and sensitivities. The new science also gives a window into the body and its response to the foods we eat. Let’s begin by understanding the basics of Sensitivity or Allergy Testing.
Testing for environmental sensitivities or allergies have been around for a long time with the use of the “Scratch or Patch” Testing. This form of allergy testing is done by introducing a concentrated “Allergens” (pet dander, dust, pollens, medicines, latex hair dyes etc.) to the skin either by a needle scratch or by placing a patch on the skin and leaving it for up to 48 hours. The resulting skin response is the indicator of an allergy.
We can see these chemical responses in saliva, gut mucosa, and in the blood. The are categorized by where they are found and what they are responding to. They basic responses include IgA, IgG, IgE, IgM and AgA.
This antibody is found in 80% of patients with Coeliac Disease. It is also seen in individuals with Gluten-Sensitive Idiopathic Neuropathy. This antigen/antibody response can be identified through a saliva test or via a stool sample, and are frequently used to diagnose Coeliac Disease.
This antibody can also be found with individuals suffering from Idiopathic Gluten Sensitivity and can similarly be identified in both Saliva and Stool samples.
Anti-Gliadin Antibodies AgA
This test is a blood test that uses Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect the presence of a substance, usually an antigen, in a blood sample. The identifying tags fool the immune system into thinking that the protein is harmful. Allergic responses occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies a protein as harmful. Some proteins or fragments of proteins are resistant to digestion and those that are not broken down in the digestive process are tagged by the immunoglobulin IgE thinking the organism (the individual) is under attack, which triggers an allergic reaction. These reactions can range from mild to severe.
This Elisa test checks 96 common foods against the three main antibodies: IgA, IgG and IgM, giving the most comprehensive antigen/antibody test.
A food sensitivity is an abnormal response to a protein in the food causing a reaction by the immune system in the form of immunoglobulin’s (IgG, IgA and IgM), this may represent a delayed type hypersensitivity reaction. Food hypersensitivity can be caused by many factors including such things as genetics, stress, infection, overeating, artificial preservatives, additives, fungicides, molds, pesticides, antibiotics, and environmental pollutants.
Among the many organs involved, the skin, gut, and respiratory tract are most affected by food hypersensitivity reactions. Food hypersensitivity contributes to many health problems and complaints, including fatigue, migraine headaches, rhinitis, asthma, recurrent ear infection, abdominal pain, irritable bowel, rectal itching, bed wetting, arthralgia, eczema, urticaria, rashes, anxiety and Obesity.
Most people go through life unaware of mild inoffensive food allergies,until they become ill, or cannot lose weight. By digging deeper into the bodies response to its environment we can “unwind” the complex chemical responses and achieve a healthier body and a healthier Life.