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Consider Food Sensitivity Testing on Your Quest for Health
There was recently an article in The Globe & Mail about food sensitivity testing, wherein a medical doctor was quoted numerous times, disputing the validity of these tests. Those of us in the natural health world have known for years that doctors do not believe in any tests measuring adverse food reactions other than the scratch test. I felt there was a need to discuss the various forms of testing, as it is becoming increasingly common for children to react poorly to certain foods and more and more parents are wanting answers.
Doctors use the scratch test to measure IgE responses, which are allergic responses to foods. But a child can be allergic to foods that do not show up as results on scratch tests. This happens when a child’s response to a food occurs in the intestine or the brain, for example, rather than the skin. And if a child has food sensitivities, IgG responses, the scratch test will not measure those sensitivities. Parents need to know about their child’s food allergies and sensitivities.
Most agree that no form of testing is 100% accurate but that the most accurate method for determining all culprits is to keep a food and symptom journal. This involves recording the foods your child is eating and watching over the next 3 days for any reaction and recording that reaction, even if you are not entirely certain of the link between the food and the symptom; over time, the patterns will become obvious. The main culprits to watch for are dairy, wheat, yeast, sugar, soy, corn, shellfish, nuts, and citrus but any food can be problematic for an individual.
Some want a test performed to narrow down their options and simplify their search. Naturopaths and nutritionists offer a number of options to choose from. Blood tests are touted to be the most accurate but the ELISA blood tests are very costly, needles are involved, it takes a couple of weeks for the results to come in and even blood tests are not 100% accurate.
The Interro biofeedback system is a computer test that monitors skin resistance; a skin measurement reading provides useful indications of stress or what is known as a “Stress Management Reading.” Foods are measured against a client’s skin (accupuncture points) to determine which foods are providing stress in their body. The test is non-invasive and the results are immediate. The test does tend to overdiagnose food sensitivities but it is less costly than a blood test and can at least provide a starting point for parents.
Muscle testing is another method for detecting food sensitivities. There are a number of ways of performing muscle testing; a particular food is placed on the client’s stomach and then the amount of resistance or acceptance of the food is measured by the ease with which the client’s arm or fingers move. Some have particular expertise in this area and others have very little. Going to someone that is highly recommended is vital when it comes to muscle testing.
I stayed away from all the common allergens when I was breastfeeding my youngest yet she still had two nights of crying and gas pains following her feeds. I had the Interro testing done and learned that Paige was sensitive to figs (I had eaten a whole container of wheat-free fig newtons in one sitting one night) and vinegar (I had put oil and vinegar on my salad, knowing that most salad dressings had sugar, chemicals or other common allergens). Once I refrained from eating figs and vinegar, Paige did just fine for the duration of the time in which I breastfed her. There is no question that learning how to detect food sensitivities can be a huge help to the health and happiness of families.
Many doctors are concerned that by identifying a list of problematic foods for a patient, the patient will avoid those foods and miss out on a range of vitamins and minerals that can be obtained from those problematic foods. In fact, nutritionists are well versed in the healthier alternatives to foods and we believe that it is more important to remove problematic foods from the diet, while simultaneously healing the digestive system, so that all vitamins and minerals can be better absorbed by the body.
One of the most important steps you can take to improve your health and that of your family is to identify the foods that cause adverse reactions in your body (ies). To learn more, please feel free to contact me!
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Until next time,