Note: This is Part 3 in my series of posts about YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test. You can find the earlier parts here:
After receiving my results, I was excited to finally have an idea about what was causing my symptoms, but I was left with a few questions, so I turned to the good folks at YorkTest Canada for some answers…
Did the test show results only for foods/beverages that are in my system OR for all foods/beverages? Based on my results, I know that several items were actively in my system but I just wanted some clarity.
Answer from YorkTest Canada – You are correct. In order to test for an IgG reaction, the food has to be present in your system. IgG antibodies have a half-life of between 15-21 days so it can take up to 2 months to lower your IgG levels. This basically means that you can show a positive well after ingestion of a problem food because IgG antibodies stick around in your system so long. Your sample would have been tested against the entire panel, and if there was a reaction, then it shows IgG antibodies were present at an elevated rate.
What is a food intolerance? What are IgG antibodies?
Answer from YorkTest Canada – Food intolerances or food sensitivities are believed to arise when certain incompletely digested food particles enter your bloodstream and are treated as foreign substances. This results in your immune system producing tailor-made immunoglobulin G or IgG antibodies, which attack the food in question and ultimately generate an inflammatory response in various organs throughout the body. Some researchers believe this chronic low grade inflammatory response in the body to select problem foods is associated with many conditions (see list of symptoms below). These immune mediated food intolerances or food sensitivities are sometimes described in medical literature as delayed food reactions, type III hypersensitivities or non-IgE mediated food reactions.
Food intolerance is characterized as a delayed onset food reaction as symptoms can takes hours or even days to develop. While the symptoms of food intolerance may not be considered life-threatening, they negatively impact a patient’s quality of life. Due to the uniqueness of our immune systems, we have varying levels of IgG sensitivity to different foods. Therefore foods that are healthy for some can cause agonizing symptoms in others. Self identification of problem foods through a food elimination diet can be a painstaking process and is rarely successful.
There are 3 important factors that make linking problem foods with symptoms nearly impossible: It has been shown that patients typically have 6-7 food intolerances. Imagine the complexity of finding the right combination of 6-7 hidden foods among the 100s of foods that make up one’s normal diet. It takes several weeks for IgG antibodies to fully leave your bloodstream. Therefore you have to eliminate the suspect food from your diet for at least 3-4 weeks to truly know if the food you are eliminating is a problem food for you. Imagine how long it would take to cycle through all the foods in your normal diet. Food intolerances may take several hours or even days to develop. This delay may cause patients to associate symptoms with the wrong foods while others may never realize their symptoms are related to food intolerance. It is not surprising that patients prefer to take a simple blood test and minimize the guesswork associated with trial and error elimination diets. Food intolerance testing significantly speeds up the whole process of identifying and treating hidden food intolerances.
Are there any classic signs of increased antibodies?
Answer from YorkTest Canada – Symptoms: (can be any number of these typically)
- Skin Dryness
- Difficulties Breathing
- Weight Gain
Their answers really helped me to understand what the purpose of the test was. Knowing exactly what to avoid could certainly help me to make better food/beverage choices for my health. Had I tried to conduct my own elimination diet, I know that I wouldn’t have had the willpower or motivation to remove some of my favourite foods for weeks, without having an end goal. I never would have known that I could have an intolerance to specific wine grapes like Pinot Grigio and Reisling, but now that I do I can make an effort to order a Malbec or a Pinot Noir instead and make better choices for my body.
The next step in the process was to have a call with one of YorkTest Canada’s Nutrition Advisor to setup a plan for my elimination diet! The process continues…
Stay tuned for my next post in the series – YorkTest FoodScan`s Food and Drink Intolerance Test – Part 4 – My call with the Nutrition Advisor and Week 1 of “No Cow Dairy”
Disclosure: In exchange for writing this series of blog posts, I’ve received a free Food & DrinkScan and enrollment into the program. The opinions expressed are my own.