Dr. Nicole Sundene
Food Sensitivity Testing is much different than Food Allergy testing. IgG Food Sensitivity Testing is primarily what I use in my Naturopathic women's health practice as I find it very helpful for many chronic disease conditions such as neurological, behavioral, gastrointestinal, and dermatological.
While I do occasionally order IgE allergy testing this is a different type of allergy, or a true allergy. Whereas IgG reactions are generally more of a sensitivity and do not generally cause severe symptoms unless a lot of the offending food is consumed at once. Although I do have women that tell me they will never eat the food again because it makes them so sick!
FOOD SENSITIVITY SYMPTOMS:
IMPORTANT NOTE: You do NOT need to have ANY stomach symptoms to have food sensitivities! This is oftentimes the #1 reason my patients are not successful with Naturopathy because they assume they "do not need this test because my digestion is fine and I have no digestive issues."
Yet, I find it very difficult to remove inflammation without a ton of supplements and herbs when patients have multiple symptoms of food sensitivities but decide not to proceed with the testing. The testing is essentially the fastest most efficient way I help my patients with chronic disease symptoms feel better.
Back in the 80's I always complained of stomach aches and fatigue and therefore often went to the doctor. Spending so much time at the doctor for my stomach aches is probably a huge part of "Why I Became a Naturopathic Doctor." My doctor would run a chem panel and CBC and say I had anemia and tell my mom to give me more Wheaties for the iron. The stomachaches would get worse and back to the doctor we would then go. Again and again.
Unfortunately, we did not have fancy Food Sensitivity Testing back in the 80's and had he run a simple blood test on me he could have told me to STOP eating Wheaties because I have a severe gluten allergy which was causing my fatigue stomach aches, and malabsorption picture contributing to the anemia.
Now I can live free of stomach aches and have learned that too much gluten also triggers migraine headaches and eczema. So if I did not do a Food Sensitivity Test I would be on a dozen prescription medications to treat all my different symptoms caused by the reactive foods. This was the case in the 90's until I found Naturopathic Medicine and learned to treat my stomach pain at THE ROOT CAUSE. Even natural medicines and herbs can pile up when we ignore the patient's diet. At one point working in a health food store, I managed to switch all my prescription drugs to natural medicines to control my symptoms. Yet I was still taking a lot of natural medicines to treat each individual symptom while failing to address them at their Root Cause.
Symptoms from food sensitivities can last hours to days and remain in the system much longer than IgE allergies. While IgE allergies may come on swiftly and leave suddenly with treatment, IgG sensitivities can linger and create prolonged inflammation. My patients can be affected for 1-7 days after consuming the food which makes it much more difficult to pinpoint than a peanut allergy that comes on very quickly after consumption.
Clinical studies have found the elimination of IgG positive foods specific to the individual helpful in improving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ADHD, epilepsy, autism, and even cystic fibrosis. The mechanism of action is the reduction of inflammation from foods the patient is sensitive to. This reduces inflammation, phlegm, and swelling which tend to worsen most chronic disease states.
Many patients are led to believe they have had their “food allergies” tested but this was done via IgE allergy testing by an MD or allergist by a blood draw or skin prick testing. Rarely has the patient been properly tested for Food Sensitivity or IgG reactions by their MD which can cause a completely different set of symptoms.
In Naturopathy we often use the term “Food Allergies” incorrectly when what we are really referring to are “Food Sensitivities,” or foods that you can eat in small amounts that will not require the use of an epipen such as in a true food allergy. Patients with true food allergies generally have breathing problems, dermatology skin rashes, and hives and require treatment with Benadryl and epinephrine. Whereas patients with food sensitivities have a wider range of symptoms that can occur which we will discuss today.
Think of most food sensitivities more like “food hangovers.” Generally, patients feels fine and happy while eating the food, it is the next day or next few days when we see the reaction. While you are not going to die from eating the food, nor will you need an Epipen for food sensitivity, instead a wide array of annoying symptoms from dermatology, mental health, inflammation, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and autoimmunity can be impacted by the regular consumption of foods that are inflammatory specific to the individual.
FOOD SENSITIVITY TEST KIT REVIEWS
While I am not going to say bad things about certain food sensitivity test companies, many of them are total garbage and not worth the piece of paper they are printed on. Whatever you do if you think you have food triggers, please do not buy a random test. Please do not test your food sensitivities with some food test kit on Facebook, as often those are not accurate and there are only four food sensitivity test companies that I trust as a Naturopathic Doctor.
I have tried many of the commercially available food sensitivity tests and found them to be completely inaccurate in confirming the foods I already know I am sensitive to. I was left very disappointed, confused, and upset I had wasted my money on inaccurate tests. I was even more upset that I wasted my time eliminating foods that did not cause a reaction at all when I challenged them by eating high amounts of the food three times daily for three days after being completely off of it for three weeks.
If you want to have your food sensitivities tested you should not do this alone but under the guidance of a skilled Functional Medicine Doctor or Naturopathic Doctor.
Otherwise, we will not be able to heal your body from the food sensitivity and you will need to continue to avoid the food for a long time when better options exist. A good Naturopathic Doctor will help you determine the root cause of the food sensitivities and help heal your gut so you can return to eating the food moderately.
Food Sensitivity Testing is simple to conduct via a quick finger poke. When you receive your test kit in the mail, be sure to write the date of collection on the test kit, and fill in the correct number of circles fully to avoid test rejection. The blood should dry at least four hours before mailing to the food testing company.
Oftentimes it is difficult for me to help patients as a Naturopathic Doctor when they are not able to check their food sensitivities. This is because food sensitivities, are different for each patient, and create a lot of inflammation. I can only prescribe so many supplements and herbs to combat this inflammation which also becomes expensive and time-consuming. Or as one of my colleagues likes to say "I cannot out supplement your crappy diet." The more complicated the symptom picture and amount of supplements the patient requires, the more likely we are missing something very critical at the foundation. The foundation of health is the patient's nutrition.
By identifying trigger foods that cause food reactions we can reduce inflammation, heal the ROOT CAUSE of the food sensitivities and return the patient to a normal diet over time. Most patients can eat the foods they are sensitive to on occasion while some patients prefer to strictly avoid anything that may cause them to feel sick or inflamed.
To request your Food Sensitivity Test kit prior to your new patient visit, simply call the office at (480) 837-0900. If you are out of state we can work with you via telemedicine. Simply call to order your Food Sensitivity Test kit and then we will review the results at your new patient telemedicine visit four weeks after you have mailed the test in. While I am unable to prescribe medications to patients outside of Arizona, the majority of what I do as a Naturopathic Doctor rarely involves prescribing medications. Therefore it should be relatively easy to address your Food Sensitivities via Telemedicine and work to cure the underlying leaky gut syndrome that tends to cause them.
Please allow the lab 3-4 weeks to process your sample to provide us with the results of your Food Sensitivity Test. We recommend scheduling your dietary counseling visit to review the results and develop your new allergy-free diet at least four weeks after you send your test kit in.
Dr. Nicole Sundene
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!