When an immune system reacts to an allergen to which it is sensitised, it releases histamine plus another group of chemicals known as leukotrienes.
Another test blood known as the Food Allergen Cellular Test (FACT) uses the leukotrienes to assess which an antigen has caused the reaction.
Genova Diagnostics Europe
Genova Diagnostics offers a 170 FACT foods test (£245), a dairy and grains test (£105), an additives test (£95), and antibiotics and analgesics test (£95), and a Comprehensive Food Allergy profile (IgE and FACT) for £300, as well as tests for individual allergens at £30 each.
It also offers a wide range of other tests not related to allergy.
020 8336 7750
Non-allergy based problems
Although an inappropriate immune reaction to a food or a substance provides a perfectly acceptable explanation for many apparently ‘allergic’ symptoms it is not inclusive.Setting aside specific and
recognised medical conditions such as coeliac disease or diabetes, other health conditions can result in symptoms that can mirror allergic reactions.
A serious gastrointestinal upset, long-term poor nutrition, excessive intakes of junk foods, alcohol, antibiotics or other drugs or a major period of stress could all lead to a ‘leaky gut wall’.
This would allow partially digested proteins to escape through the gut wall into the blood stream and circulate around the body causing almost any symptom from chronic fatigue to joint pains, constipation or hyperactivity.
In this situation, specific food proteins or parts of proteins may trigger specific symptoms, so removing that food from the diet may reduce the symptoms, even though the problem lies with the leaky gut wall and the patient’s general ill health rather than the food itself.
Temporarily removing that food from the diet will reduce the stress on the system and, if combined with other improvements to diet, nutritional status and lifestyle, will allow the gut wall to heal and the patient’s general health to improve to the point where they are able to
tolerate a normal range of foods.
Patients in this situation may well visit their GP and, because their symptoms are non-specific and no organic problems can be found, get little help. In which case they may seek a test elsewhere which can identify their problem.
Some will opt for one or more complementary therapies - which will probably have their own testing protocols - others may seek some sort of test which will identify the food which they think is at the root of their ill health.
One complementary therapy that is widely used for diagnosing food sensitivity is kinesiology, which uses muscle-strength testing to assess which foods or substances may be causing problems.
Although the system has no credibility with conventional doctors, when used by a skilled practitioner kinesiology would appear to be able to diagnose intolerances and other health problems very accurately.
However, its success does depend entirely on the skill of the practitioner.
For more information contact
0845 260 1094
In coeliac disease the gluten commonly found in foods attacks the lining of the small intestine both preventing the absorption of nutrients and causing a wide range disparate symptoms which can often be mistaken for allergic symptoms. Coeliac disease is thought to be seriously under diagnosed.
If you suspect it might be relevant to your ill health, you can put yourself on a gluten-elimination diet or you can get tested. A number of laboratories offer a coeliac test - or you can get a home-testing kit developed in Australia. If the result is positive you should return to your GP for full diagnosis as registered coeliacs can get gluten-free foods on prescription.
Biocard Coeliac Tests
Finger prick test you can do at home - works like a pregnancy test - £19.95.
0845 430 50 80
Another form of testing which is readily available on the high street (often in health food stores) and by mail order - and which is roundly condemned by most mainstream practitioners - is bioenergetic testing, most commonly known as a Vega test.
Bioenergetic or bioelectrical medicine involves the interactions between electro-magnetic fields (the environment) and the electrical properties of biological tissues and cells (our bodies) - but it is closely linked to the ancient theories of energy which under- pin Chinese medicine.
Both believe that in a healthy body energy (whether seen as ‘chi’ or electromagnetic energy) flows freely and is in harmony with the other energies (or electro magnetic fields) within and amongst which it exists.
However, this free flow of energy can be disrupted by malfunctions within the body itself or by the intervention of outside forces. These forces can be recognised either in their physical/chemical forms (viruses, bacteria, food proteins, toxins etc) or by their electromagnetic properties.
When they come into contact with a healthy body they will disrupt its function. This will both precipitate various physical symptoms - all the symptoms which might cause someone to seek an ‘allergy’ test - but will also cause severe disruption to the energy flow and electromagnetic fields within the body.
So, if you can monitor the electromagnetic activity of the body when brought into contact with foods or substances which disrupt that activity, you can identify the problem
Most of the early work on bioelectromagnetic medicine was done in the 1950s by a German, Dr Reinhold Voll and forms the basis for a relatively simple machine, called the Vega machine.
Subsequently, much more complex computerised testing systems have been developed which also assess the health of the organs and other bodily functions (based on their electromagnetic resonances) and offer a myriad of herbal, nutritional and homeopathic
The Healthcheck Clinic
Jackie Young uses a Japanese AMI machine to screen for health problems.
(44) 20 7499 7576
Biotech Health Centre
This centre uses an Asyra machine for similar screening.
(44) 1730 233414
A Google trawl for bio-energetic screening will bring up a number of other options.
The Vega machine meanwhile uses a small electrode on various acupressure points to connect the patient in an electromagnetic circuit with the foods or substances to which they might be intolerant. Foods or substances which disrupt the electrical flow are deemed to be problematic.
The Vega machine is widely condemned as being unscientific and unproven - but Vega tests are cheap and have proved very popular with patients who can book a session at a high street health shop for £30-40.
Testers usually have little or no medical training so there is a significant danger that serious conditions may not be recognised. That said, many of the testers are sensible, offer some sort of basic nutritional information and suggest that the test results should be validated by a two to three week elimination diet after which, if the
patient does not feel any better, they should see their GP.
Although the actual results (which often come up with dairy and wheat as problematic foods) have no scientific validity, many of those who use the tests are suffering from generalised ill health which has as much to do with their lifestyle and a poor diet, high in highly refined processed foods, as it has with an allergy or an organic condition. So being forced to review their diet and exclude, for example, highly processed wheat- based products (which will probably also contain high levels of fats and sugar) for a short period, may well be of benefit to their health, as a result of which their symptoms may resolve spontaneously.
Most of the information available about Vega machines on the
web is dismissive. However, the Da Vinci Natural Health Centre in Cyprus uses the device and gives a more balanced assessment of its
possible use than we have found elsewhere.
Any details about testing companies which appear
in this article are included for the information of
readers. They have not been paid for, and we make
no recommendations as to their efficacy.
More articles on allergy testing
First Published July 2003
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