You may have some questions relating to the test, your results, or changing your diet. Below are the answers to some commonly asked questions.
If you have further questions, please contact our Nutrition team here.
Food allergy is a type I rapid immune response to consumption of a specific food to which a person has been previously sensitized to. It can be a very severe, life-threatening reaction that usually happens within minutes after eating the food, and involves IgE antibodies which trigger the release of histamine and other inflammatory factors following ingestion of the food allergen.
The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include Tingling or itching in the mouth. Hives, itching or eczema. Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, and throat or other parts of the body.
IgE Food Allergies affect a very small proportion of the population, although the number of people affected is increasing.
If you suspect you have a food allergy then it is important to seek urgent medical attention for it to be properly diagnosed.
Food Intolerances fall into two categories:
- Enzyme Deficiency – This does not involve the immune system, and is where insufficient production of an enzyme required to metabolise nutrients results in symptoms appearing following consumption of certain foods. For example, lactose intolerance is where a person does not produce sufficient lactase enzyme to break down and digest lactose which is a dairy sugar. This can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and flatulence following consumption of dairy products. A Hydrogen Breath test can diagnose Lactose Intolerance.Histamine intolerance is another example and occurs when a person does not produce sufficient DAO enzyme to metabolise histamine from dietary sources, which can lead to itching, flushing, headaches, or urticaria
- Immune Mediated food protein intolerance. This is a delayed onset Type III immune response to consumption of specific proteins found in foods, which pass into the circulation as a result of impaired intestinal wall barrier. The immune system responds by producing food-specific IgG antibodies, which form immune complexes which can build up and deposit in tissues and joints. This results in an inflammatory response by the immune system, as it tries to break down these immune complexes which can exacerbate existing inflammatory disease, and which is associated with a number of chronic illnesses such as a Migraine, IBS, IBD, Obesity.IgG food intolerance is not life-threatening, and by identifying and eliminating trigger foods, studies show that symptoms usually improve within 3 months of elimination.
A significant number of positive foods can indicate increased intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”. This is where gut wall lining becomes damaged, which allows undigested food proteins to pass through into the circulation and provoke an inflammatory response, and can cause intolerances to a large number of foods to develop.
In this case, it is difficult to eliminate lots of foods from your diet, so we recommend that you do it in stages.
- Firstly, remove the top 5 foods as these are causing the most significant immune response.
- At the same time reduce the frequency with which you consume the other positive foods. For example, if you have tested positive to fruits such as orange, pomegranate or fig – then eat these once a week, but introduce other fruits into your diet.
- It is also important that you take steps to restore normal intestinal permeability whilst you eliminate trigger foods. There is a dietary plan that may help improve “leaky gut” that you can request here
If you have been avoiding certain foods for a number of months, such as Gluten, then it is possible that you will find a negative reaction to those foods. IgG antibodies remain in the circulation for approximately 21 days, and we do recommend that if you are considering taking the test that you continue to eat your normal diet so that false negative results do not occur.
HOWEVER, If you have a diagnosed food allergy or suspect you are allergic to a specific food and have been avoiding it, then you SHOULD NOT reintroduce any food into your diet which might trigger an allergic reaction.
Long-term use of immunosuppressant drugs can affect test results as they inhibit antibody production. If you are taking immunosuppressants, then please contact the Foodprint team for advice.
Antibiotics can affect the permeability of the intestinal barrier wall, and make it more “leaky” and a greater number of positive foods may result. We would recommend leaving at least 6 weeks post antibiotic-therapy before taking the Foodprint Test.
As it takes approximately 1 year for a child’s immune system to fully develop we don’t recommend testing children under 2 years of age. Under this age, we recommend testing the mother, as IgG antibodies cross the placenta as well as in breast-milk, and so this can explain why children might have elevated IgG antibodies to foods they have yet to eat.
Lactose-free milk does not contain lactose. This is a dairy sugar, which can cause digestive issues if a person is lactose intolerant and cannot break down lactose in the digestive system due to an enzyme deficiency.
The Foodprint® test analyses the immune response to food proteins, and most animal milk contain a form of casein, one of the key dairy proteins. Even lactose-free milk contains casein and other dairy proteins so it would not be advisable to drink lactose-free milk if you are positive to cows and other animal milk.
Camel milk has been found to be better tolerated than other animal milks as the casein molecule in camel milk is slightly different which may explain why it appears to be more easily tolerated.
Cola Nut is a flavor enhancer which can be used in commercially processed foods such as baked goods – cakes, biscuits, bread, pastries, as well as ice-creams, desserts, and other processed foods.
It is used in very tiny quantities so it does not have to be labeled in accordance with current food labeling laws.
To avoid consuming this eat home baked cakes, biscuits, pastries, bread, and make your own ice creams and desserts.
Agar Agar is a plant algae which is used as a setting agent in many commercially processed foods such as cakes, jellies, candies, ice cream, desserts, and mousses found in restaurants, supermarkets, and coffee shops.
In order to identify if there is gluten sensitivity, gliadin (Gluten) is removed from the standardised food extracts which are used for the test and is tested individually.
If Gliadin is NOT positive, but other grains are, the reaction may be due to one of the other proteins found in the grain.
If Gliadin IS POSITIVE then it is recommended that you eliminate ALL gluten-containing grains from your diet.
If Gliadin antibodies are elevated this does not necessarily mean you have Celiac Disease, as some people can be sensitive to gluten but there is no damage to the intestinal wall found when a biopsy is done. This is known as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
A Celiac Screen test will help identify if further investigations for Celiac Disease are necessary.
The food intolerance test is measuring antibodies in relation to specific proteins which are found in foods, and there are groups of foods which contain the same proteins, but in different concentrations. For example, peas, beans, and ginkgo all contain legume like storage proteins which have been found to cause an abnormal immune response. This is known as a cross-reaction.
It is also possible that if you eat a lot of processed food that you may be consuming ingredients without realising. Always check food labels as these will list anything that constitutes more than 1% of the volume of that food.
For example, gluten-free flours can often contain a mix of flours such as rice flour, tapioca flour or amaranth.
Most people will find that following the elimination diet their symptoms improve and they feel better, so a re-test is unnecessary.
If, after changing your diet according to the test results for 3 months, you do not experience improvement in symptoms, then please consult your Healthcare Practitioner as further investigations might be necessary.