Testing for Food Allergies and Food Sensitivities


Testing for Food Allergies and Food Sensitivities

In a previous article, I provided a description of the difference between food allergies and food sensitivities. In this article I will discuss testing options for both. In brief, a food allergy is a sudden onset of symptoms following the consumption of an intolerable food substance. The reaction can sometimes be life threatening. A food sensitivity is a reaction to a food substance, is usually not immediately life threatening in nature, and is not seen until hours or even days after eating the intolerable food.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the differences between food allergies and food sensitivities, how do you determine whether your child has an allergy or sensitivity? There are blood tests that can be done to detect both. When a parent goes to their mainstream medical doctor and expresses a concern about a possible food allergy, the doctor will often run a food allergy test only. This is because many people still do not have a good understanding of the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity. The following explains the difference between two types of tests that can be used to determine food allergy or food sensitivity.

  • Food Allergy Testing: An IgE test is used to determine whether a person has food allergies. It tests for food allergies only, not food sensitivities. What I commonly see in my practice is that parents tell me their child has been tested for food sensitivity, and nothing showed up; when in reality the child has only had a food allergy test run. An IgE test does not test for food sensitivities that are often present without a food allergy. Having the allergy testing done is not bad, but it just doesn’t give us the whole picture. This is where food sensitivity testing becomes useful.
  • Food Sensitivity Testing: An IgG test is used for food sensitivities. This blood panel can tell you which items your child is sensitive to, and the level of sensitivity. Another way to test for food sensitivities is by using an elimination diet. With an elimination diet, the child does not eat a particular food for a period of 3 -4 days; and then they are given a small amount of that food, and watched for the next several hours and into the next day to see if there is any type of reaction (bowel issues, behavior, rash, irritation, etc.). A food elimination diet can be very effective, but can take a longer period of time. It can also be a bit tricky to determine exactly what the child has reacted to, especially if the child has several sensitivities. Some parents opt to do the IgG blood panel for speed and convenience.

The bottom line is that if you have had food allergy testing done, and your child does not show allergies, but you feel food is causing distress, you need to go further and check for sensitivities. Whether you decide to do the IgG test or begin eliminating foods from your child’s diet is up to you; but taking away the foods to which your child is sensitive will make a huge difference in how your child feels.


  • Rebeca Foote
    January 18, 2011

    I have always felt that my sons have had food sensitivities. I eliminated milk first and then gluten. I discovered that my husband and I have the same sensitivities as our children. I worked with a holistic health counselor and she was wonderful. We can “cheat” on our diet but rarely do so. Eliminating the foods has made us less sensitive to these foods when we have ice-cream or want to have a pizza with a gluten crust. I am amazed at how healthy we have all been. I opted not to do the blood testing for personal reasons.

  • Christina Fava
    January 19, 2011


    Could you supply some names of Labs that do the IGE along with IGG testing>
    any reccomendations would be much appreciated.
    I also want to know what your advice is on when a food should be eliminated–what if IGG shows a low number of sensitivity??

    Thanks Much.

    Christina Fava

  • Angela Weber
    January 19, 2011

    We did IGG and IGE testing for our son (diagnosed with ASD), and found him to have high sensitivities to wheat, gluten and all dairy. We eliminated those foods and saw remarkable differences in his attentiveness, language, and especially BEHAVIOR! It was so life-changing, we have a whole new respect for allergies and sensitivities.

  • Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP
    January 19, 2011

    Thanks to everyone who has commented on my article Testing for Food Allergies and Sensitivities. It is very common for food sensitivities to run in families and to see big changes when the offending foods are eliminated. Sometimes it works to just try eliminating foods that you think may be causing the difficulties and at other times testing is necessary. There are a variety of labs that do testing and different labs specialize in different types of tests. We work with families on an individual basis to determine what is needed for each specific person based on symptoms.

    Take care,

  • Karena Miller
    March 13, 2012

    ImmunoLabs has an awesome comprehensive Bloodprint that test for IgG antibodies to 154 foods. They provide a great presentation with food plan, and informational dvd’s with your results. I highly reccommend!!! Go to their website, you can call and get names of docs that perform this test.
    Some in Michigan that I know of are:
    Dr. Tom Floyd, DO
    in Howell (the one we went to)
    Dr. Steven Hartz, DO
    in Oxford
    Dr. T. Reid Kavieff, DO
    in West Bloomfield
    Dr. LePor, DO
    in Lapeer
    This test litterally changed my sons life!!!

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