The Truth About At-Home Food Sensitivity Tests
At-home food sensitivity tests have increased in availability and popularity over the last few years. Today, there are several companies offering modernized testing that claim to provide credible, validated results that measure the body’s immune response to different foods. Theoretically, by understanding what foods cause a response and subsequent elimination of those foods should improve overall health and wellness. Can tests utilizing samples taken at home and shipped to a lab provide accurate results though?
To properly explore the validity of at-home food sensitivity tests, it is pertinent to understand the sample collection and testing processes. The majority of at-home tests currently available measure the body’s production of immunoglobulin (IgG) antibodies in response to various foods. Immunoglobulin (IgG) antibodies are collected through a blood sample. Lancets are provided to prick a finger and drop blood onto a collection card. The card is then placed in a biohazard bag and shipped back to the company. Once received, the samples are tested at certified labs and the personalized results are returned.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, food sensitivity tests are not an official medical diagnosis and the evidence supporting the ability of the blood tests to assess problems with eating certain foods is questionable. As mentioned previously, these look at the presence of IgG antibodies in response to various foods, however, most people produce IgG antibodies after eating and are not specifically linked to a person’s sensitivity. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also notes, “Because IgG blood tests have not been proven to identify food sensitivities or allergies, there is a lack of evidence to support making changes based on their findings.”
At this time, it is best to make an appointment with your healthcare provider should you suspect certain foods are causing health problems. Based on your symptoms, they may refer you to an allergist or recommend further testing.