By Justinne Lou Go, RND
MY PREVIOUS article expounded on the fact that we have food-specific antibodies that cause us to react to certain food items. These specific reactions to food can either be identified as food allergies or food intolerances. For food intolerances, symptoms such as eczema, chronic rhinitis, asthma, lack of energy, migraines, etc. — subtle symptoms that can bother us every day but could also go unnoticed — can be observed.
Our immune system is characterized by the diversity and integrity of our gut microbiome, and so if our gut health is compromised, so is our immune system’s. And since we all have our own unique diversity in gut microbiome (no one person has exactly the same gut microbiome as another person’s, even within family members), this is also the reason we all have different reactions to immune-threatening inflammation in our bodies; either we have skin reactions, respiratory reactions, stomach discomfort, mood swings, etc. This emphasizes the need and the importance of personalized nutrition. That is why there is no single diet that suits everyone.
Since food can be a trigger or contributor to inflammation in our body, one way to address this is to take a food intolerance test. As with all diagnostic tests, this test must be recommended by a medical professional — either a medical doctor, a nurse, or a Nutritionist-Dietitian — as proper assessment is needed to determine whether an individual would benefit from the test. Part of the assessment would include a standard clinical/physical exam as well as distinguishing whether the individual’s concern is specifically related to food allergy or possibly to food intolerances.
The food intolerance test is an advanced diagnostic test that can identify specific food items that are potential triggers of inflammation. The test was created by Cambridge Nutritional Sciences in the United Kingdom and this company was the first to create a home test kit of its kind.
To give you an idea on how this works, it involves obtaining a small blood sample that will be diluted into a solution, which will then be placed on a reaction tray containing protein extracts from different food items to be incubated for a certain period. Once the results are obtained, the individual is advised to eliminate the reactive foods for at least three months. After which, reintroduction of each reactive food is done one at a time to observe reactions. With such a procedure, it is highly advised that one would need the guidance of a Nutritionist-Dietitian, as eliminating some foods from one diet can be challenging and will need planning to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
The food intolerance test-specific elimination diet is a more objective, systematic and convenient way of identifying one’s food intolerances as it eliminates the guesswork on the possible offending foods that cause one’s symptoms. However, it is important to note that the elimination diet is not a permanent diet but rather a diet merely to remove the offending foods and its accompanying symptoms from the reaction.
The test is now available in Cebu in two forms — the home test kit (Food Detective) and the comprehensive test (Food Print) done in a laboratory. The Food Detective self-test kit tests for 59 food items and results are obtained within an hour, while the Food Print tests for over 200 food items and results will be available after eight days. Deciding on which test configuration to do is a matter of budget as the comprehensive test is obviously more expensive than the self-test kit. But, the Food Detective self-test kit is not much inferior to the comprehensive Food Print test as the Food Detective tests for the most basic and common foods. What is important is the guidance from a Nutritionist-Dietitian.
The Food Detective self-test kit is offered by The Sensible Spoon Co., a nutrition consultancy company. You may inquire with them at their mobile number +639054704393. The Food Print test is available at Hi-Precision Diagnostics for P9,900.