If Only It Were Easy
Let’s face it: the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol is hard to do. If we could just take a test to identify our food intolerances, it would be so much easier! So, why don’t we? Unfortunately, food intolerance testing is unreliable, giving both false positive and false negative results. An elimination diet (like the AIP) is the only accurate way to test for food intolerance. It’s called the Gold Standard. This is actually one area where conventional doctors and Paleo practitioners agree.
Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerances
Food allergies are severe reactions that can even be life-threatening, sending someone to the hospital because they can’t breathe. You may know a child who has this reaction to peanuts. It’s frightening. There are two tests performed by allergists to diagnose food allergies: IgE blood test, and a skin test, both of which have proven scientific validity. Even so, allergists usually perform a food challenge in the office to confirm the diagnosis. Since allergic responses are fast and furious, the doctor is there to monitor the reaction.
Food intolerances are a different matter. They are milder, but have a cumulative effect of provoking the immune system and increasing inflammation in the body. If you have autoimmune disease, food intolerances exacerbate your symptoms, making them much worse. While there are tests sold to identify food intolerances, they haven’t held up under scientific scrutiny. And because food intolerance reactions are delayed, taking up to 72 hours to appear, a food challenge in a doctor’s office isn’t possible. Instead, an elimination diet (like the AIP) is the recommended route to diagnosis.
A Scientific Look at the Tests
ELISA and ALCAT are both blood tests that claim to identify food intolerances. They look at how your blood responds when exposed to a specific food. ELISA measures IgG antibody reactions. ALCAT measures white blood cell reactions. These sound like plausible theories, right? Antibodies and white blood cells are part of your immune system. If your immune system reacts to a food, that would obviously signify intolerance. Not so fast! The immune system is complex; if it wasn’t we’d have a cure for autoimmunity by now. It turns out that some studies show that an IgG response to a food actually indicates tolerance. And white blood cells constantly change shape and activity anyway, so if they do that in the presence of a food, that doesn’t mean the food was the trigger. Not surprisingly, both tests are notorious for inconsistent results. According to Chris Kresser, some doctors have sent in two blood samples for testing from the same person at the same time on the same day, and received different intolerance reports. That’s why allergists around the world recommend against these tests and recommend an elimination diet like the AIP instead. Here’s a thorough report summarizing the research which has shown these tests are inaccurate.
Elimination-Provocation: The Gold Standard for Testing Food Intolerance
If an elimination diet is the only way to accurately test food intolerance, how does it work? There are two phases: the elimination period (strict AIP) and the reintroduction period (also called provocation.) You follow a strict AIP diet for a minimum of 30 days (some people wait 3-12 months) until you see clear improvement in your autoimmune symptoms. This shows that healing has begun, and you can reintroduce foods one at a time, to test your body for tolerance. This process requires patience, but it’s 100% accurate and individualized to you. It’s where you learn to communicate with your body, and once you have that skill, you have it for life. It may not be easy, but it’s a powerful healing tool.
The Connection Between Leaky Gut and Food Intolerance
Food intolerances are often caused by intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut). Our intestinal lining is vital to our health. It’s designed to let needed nutrients into our bloodsteam, while keeping out everything that’s harmful to our health. Here’s the problem: leaky gut and autoimmune disease go hand in hand. You rarely find one without the other. With leaky gut, our intestinal lining becomes too permeable, letting things into our bloodstream that don’t belong there. Amino acids are a nutrient meant to be allowed through. They are the building blocks of proteins in our food, and the building blocks of cells in our bodies. They’re tiny and wonderful, and we need them. With leaky gut, our bodies let proteins through before they’ve been completely broken down into amino acids. We’re not talking big chunks of food – just molecules bigger than they should be, in a form our body can’t recognize as food. So, the body mounts a defense by activating the immune system and ramping up inflammation. Not a good situation for someone with autoimmune disease.
The Benefits of Doing the Hard Thing
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol doesn’t just identify food intolerances. It reverses autoimmunity, allowing us to reclaim our health and our life. A lab test can’t do that. The AIP has 3 pillars of healing: the foods we remove from our diet which are inflammation triggers, the foods we add to our diet that nourish and heal, and the lifestyle changes we make that balance our hormones and reduce inflammation bodywide. It’s a lot of effort, but the rewards are priceless.
One such reward is that the AIP is designed to heal and seal our gut lining. While food allergies are permanent, food intolerances can be temporary. This is why, over time, many people are able to successfully reintroduce more and more foods.
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy.
I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
~ Art Williams
Thanks for the article. The two Pubmed studies you cited are both done on children. I wonder if they’re relatable to adults? Seems that the burgeoning immune system of children would be very different. As we know, lots of kids outgrow food allergies.
There’s another link in the article that you missed. It’s an overview of many scientific studies on people of all ages:: https://www.mm3admin.co.za/documents/docmanager/8e7be0a4-2b8d-453f-875e-cd1e5132b829/00015032.pdf
I did miss that. Thanks, Eileen. My Cyrex gluten cross reactive test was money well spent 2.5 years ago regardless of false negatives. It started me on the right path (I found The Paleo Mom by googling ‘nut free, egg free paleo :-)). The only downside to the eliminate and test method is that it can make me so very sick for a long time. I’m going to take the new Cyrex Array 10 (released yesterday) that tests 180 real food antigens. The licensed naturopathic doc that I see has been practicing for 20 years and healing leaky gut and autoimmunity the AIP way for that long. I totally trust her and she said Cyrex has been spot on for as long as she’s been using them.
Have you since done the cyrex 10 test ? If positive, are these the foods you need to avoid for the rest of your life ?
if you don’t have any outward symptoms of a food intolerance, how would you know that you actually may be eating foods that are causing inflammation?? wouldn’t you have to do “allergy testing” to see if there are foods causing you internal trouble? should you bother having allergy testing done if you have no obvious sign of food problems?
What about the York test?
Thank you so much for this informative article. I have recently had an ELISA test done and I found the results to be pretty accurate with what I have been already thinkig being problem foods. Many of the foods that signaled reaction are off limits on the AIP, which further proved to me that I need to dive in and just do the AIP instead of jut paleo. I agree with the questions you raise here about accuracy though, and even wth the test done, the plan is to do the strict elimination and then provocation. Your website is very inspiring as well, thank you!
Using a test as a jumping-off point, rather than conclusive results, makes more sense. Best wishes with the AIP, Hilda!
I had the same results from testing as Hilda…”reacted” to dairy, eggs, legumes, cane sugar., and I am celiac.
Just extra confirmation that the AIP is the right route.
Thanks for the article. I’m waiting on the results of a blood test to tell me if I have an autoimmune disease … In the meantime, I had a CYREX test done to confirm food sensitities. My doc tells me the test is completely accurate, and I’ll NEVER be able to eat the foods on my list again without risking further damage to my body. As I’ve been to a few docs over the years, I’ve learned to be cautious when doctors say words like “never;” however, I’m well aware I have plenty of work to do to heal my gut.
Just wondering … Have you ever heard of the Cyrex test? I’ve had two doctors tell me it is the “gold standard” for sensitivity testing.
Hi Tracy. Which test did you get? I think their gluten sensitivity screening is pretty accurate. Their gluten cross-reactive test was shown to only be partially accurate when tested by scientists outside of Cyrex. As for their wide food sensitivity testing, like all such tests, it can have false positives and negatives. The true Gold Standard is an elimination/provocation diet like the AIP. Everything else is guesswork. You are wise to question anyone who says you can “never” eat those foods again. Even if the test was accurate, with the exception of gluten, food sensitivities can often be healed. We may not get all the foods back, but with time and effort, most of us can expand our diets. If you discover you do have an autoimmune disease, I recommend the AIP – both to identify your true intolerances, and to access the healing potential of a nutrient-dense diet.
Can you heal gluten sensitivity after a long diet? Also when ones suffer from a autoimmune disease? Thanks for your answer.
What kind of ‘doctors’ told you this?
[…] allergy tests often provide false positives – Chicago Tribune Why Food Intolerance Testing Doesn’t Work | Autoimmune Paleo op: for right now, add way more gelatin than you think you "should". it will go a very […]
[…] I do realize that there is a fair amount of criticism about the reliability of these tests, I do believe that the results are a great guideline to get a […]
Thank you for this. Do you have any information on the accuracy of the MRT? (Mediator ReleaseTest) I am working with a LEAP certified nutritionist who uses the MRT & I am scheduled to have blood drawn for this test tomorrow.
I did the LEAP MRT test last month. So far, I do believe it has been helpful. I have a unique situation, though – a combination of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and IBS-C as a result of some type of hemolytic e-coli infection and a yeast overgrowth (both found by Genova Diagnostics CDSA 2.0). I stuck faithfully to AIP elimination diet for several months, but was still having digestive problems! LEAP MRT showed that my body was sensitive to some AIP-legal foods such as beef and coconut, and eating the ‘lowest’-reactive foods for the most part has been helpful with my IBS-C. So far, what I’ve found the test doesn’t predict, though, is what other types of reactions I might get from a food, even those on the ‘lower’-reactive lists. For example, cucumber and shrimp (also both AIP legal) are on my lower (not lowest)-reactive list and both ‘fog’ me – I don’t know if this is because eating the really low-reactive foods has calmed the inflammation so much that the next level-foods affect me that way; it’s really mysterious, but it’s a process and a place to start and for me to help my IBS-C. So far, as long as I am eating my lowest reactive foods and avoiding the others, I am able to go to the bathroom comfortably. But, due to my AIP knowledge, I’ve been really careful on my low-reactive list before trying any nightshades, nuts, etc. Basically, I try to keep the AIP principles in mind and sort of combine them with what the test told me. I also had Spectracell Micronutrient Testing done through my nutritionist and am taking supplements to correct deficiencies–this has already made a huge difference in my overall energy and feeling of well-being. I think AIP is great, but I also think sometimes these tests can pick up on the little idiosyncracies in our bodies that AIP alone cannot (beef, coconut, even watermelon!!!). These tests have helped me, and I would do them again! According to the research that I was given, LEAP MRT is also 90% reproducible as compared to the ALCAT which was only 60%. Again, it’s not everything, and AIP is still really important, but I did find the LEAP MRT to be helpful.
Jenny, it sounds like you are reviewing the MRT results very thoughtfully, with self-experimentation to confirm or void the results, which is very wise. Our bodies really do know best. I do want to comment on the 90% statistic that is often shared on MRT websites. That was a study done in Poland 18 years ago that isn’t available in English, so unfortunately, we have no way of knowing if it was a quality study or not. There hasn’t been another study with those results since.
I was wondering your thoughts on this one as well. I had it done in November and after already going through leaky gut healing and a 4 month round of AIP with successful food reintroduction. I was surprised to see a long list of foods I wouldn’t have considered (cinnamon, oregano, mint, orange, strawberry, coconut, vanilla, and more) and only took it in the first place because I was having a bad reaction to some estrogen/progesterone support my naturopath had me on so he wanted to see if there was a weird ingredient trigger..
I did the MRT (mediator release test) and LEAP diet for 9-10 months — it was AMAZING. I did this under the guidance of a Registered Dietician. i had NO IDEA that a side-effect would be — GOODBYE DIGESTION problems/pains etc. What is funny, is that during this time — which really I was 97%-100% compliant — I would say really more like 99.9% compliant — except for the 3 day rotation in phase six — I stuck to the foods but not the rotation — I’m telling you that digestively speaking I felt great! I met another woman who lives near me who is doing this. She is doing it for other reasons so we talk — & when she is on the diet – no diahrhea — when she’s off the diet — hello problems — so it has really been amazing. Please note that under the care of a dietician, we’re able to determine — the “other” foods that are showing symptoms that didn’t show up on the test. So for example rule #1 — NO SOY NO COW MILK and NO GLUTEN for autoimmune — across the board. So no matter what the test says — this is the rule so those foods are out (but not cheese for example, as the molecules are different than the molecules in a glass of cow milk, unless of course, cheese is a problem for you on test). SO… This explained why I just couldn’t feel good on AIP — because CHICKEN was my HIGHEST reaction!! That meant no chicken products for me… There were other things too that are on the AIP that are allowed such as avocados — which I have loved and eaten all my life… Yet — hello, no avocados for me to start – due to tyrosine issues. No foods 3 days or older because of tyrosine issues — and on and on — I must MUST say – that this MRT/LEAP testing UNDER THE GUIDANCE of a SKILLED REGISTERED DIETICIAN is simply amazing. Now the time is here in which I’m testing some of my foods of highest sensitivity — WANTING them to work out… Hello digestive ache… (not always but sometimes) I even tried gluten free oats – I used to eat these nearly every morning with blueberries and cinnamon — but yikes wow — not for me. Quinoa — Yikes ouch not for me… So on and so forth. As soon as I ate oats — hello phlegm… Hello not feeling so great. I eat nearly all “WHOLE FOODS” and have been doing so for nearly the entire year (and on and off for years before this) and once again — the MRT/LEAP test (updated ALCAT) is just amazing. It is also a NEWER test just of recent years — so something mentioned about a 19 year old Poland study below — is not related to the current MRT test. Sensitivity testing this way? YES DEFINITELY! AMAZING!
What if you have a histamine intolerance? Many of the AIP approved foods are problems for those with this particular issue. I was told by a nutritionist, that while the AIP elimination is a start, it doesn’t necessarily remove all problem foods since i have the histamine issues. They said that the MRT test would help determine exactly what I should eliminate for the elimination phase. What are your thoughts on this?
I’ve got a form of histamine intolerance, and I layer those modifications with AIP. I don’t believe there is a test you can do to figure out which foods cause you a histamine reaction, but usually you will know the culprits after eating them–for me it’s cured or smoked meats canned fish, and fermented fish. The other “high histamine” foods don’t seem to bother me.
I suggest doing an additional histamine elimination for a week or so and then reintroducing those foods in order to assess tolerance. You don’t need to avoid these foods for very long, maybe a week or two so it is a much quicker process than treating them like regular AIP reintroductions. Hope it helps!
Thanks! I will definitely try that out to see if it helps. I definitely seemed overwhelming to remove the histamine foods as that made the list even smaller. Thanks for getting back to me.
Like Hilda, I’m debating on doing the blood testing as a starting point for elimination and provocation testing. I’ve been reacting to many of my meals, and I haven’t been able to track down the cuprit(s), despite keeping a detailed food journal. There hasn’t been a single food family in common with my problem meals. I’m experiencing chest congestion, coughing, and runny nose within 1 hour of eating, which takes up to 3 hours to clear up. AIP alone hasn’t cleared up all my problems, so I’m suspecting I may be reacting to food(s) allowed on AIP. I’m not sure what my best options are at this point. Thanks for writing this article. It’s important to understand the tests’ limitations.
A couple things I would look into in your situation–doing a trial of a low-histamine or low-FODMAP approach, in addition to AIP, for a week or two to see if it changes anything. Especially the runny nose sounds like histamine, so I would be interested to see if anything changed there. If it does, then I would get tested for SIBO, which causes symptoms when FODMAPs are eaten and can also be an underlying cause of histamine intolerance. Or if you want to skip the trial and error, you can just ask your doctor for a lactulose breath test to see if you have SIBO.
Additionally, a comprehensive stool test would be a good bet to pinpoint a root cause if you are not feeling better on AIP. Hope it helps!
Question: I’ve done strict AIP for 6 months. SOMETHING is STILL bothering me!! How do I find out of MEATS I eat consistently are problematic without risking being too low in protein if I remove chicken, pork and beef from my diet for 30 days?? I was thinking ALCAT might help me figure out what AIP compliant foods I might be struggling with!! Any help is appreciated!! 🙂
While some people do react to different proteins, it is not especially common. What is more likely is an underlying cause in the gut–pathogenic bacteria, overgrowth of yeast, parasites, etc. I would recommend finding a functional medicine doc to get some comprehensive gut testing to rule those things out before doing something as drastic as removing all proteins. A LOT of food reactions can be caused by imbalances in the gut.
Hey Mickey, Given your restorative approach to healing, I’m wondering whether you choose to treat parasites as per your naturopathic friends e.g. fairly harsh herbal protocols. Do you think these are a necessary evil or do you think that parasites are a side-effect of other imbalances?
Hi Josh! I was actually treated by a naturopath for my parasite, who prescribed a prescription medication to take care of them (and she was right–I only took two doses, two weeks apart and they were gone). She thought the herbal protocol would be harder on my system. This is when it is really helpful to have a qualified practitioner to help make those conventional vs. natural medical decisions. Hope it helps!
I already commented above asking your thoughts also on the MRT test, but I also was wondering if you know the date of the South Africa Allergy Position Statement? Science is definitely not my strong suit and it’s overwhelming trying to read through both sides of the arguments and know what information to trust. That position report is very intriguing, but their most current source was from 2007. I wonder what’s changed in the research since then unless this paper was written recently. I imagine some science works slow while others advance quickly. I’m not sure where allergy research falls in that 🙂
Stacy, one of the reasons these tests are often inaccurate is that there are countless ways a body can have an inflammatory response to a food. There is no test that covers all the reactions. Simultaneously, these tests measure response in a lab environment and try to draw a correlation with what’s happening in your body. Your body is a totally different (and more complex) environment, hence the “false positives.” I know you said above that you took the MRT test and it had some surprising results. You can test those results yourself by doing elimination/provocation on that list. Remove those foods from your diet for 30 days, and then reintroduce them one at a time, following the same careful steps you followed with AIP reintroductions. You can trust your body to tell you if you really need to avoid those foods. My guess is that you’ll be able to reintroduce many of them successfully.
I concur with these theories. I have a child with an anaphylactic response to most of a food type, and even in the traditional western, non-functional med world, the only way they say to be sure is to do a food challenge after a long period of abstinence. Also, a family member worked for years in pediatric food allergy research, and it’s common knowledge that if you took 6 random people off the street and tested their blood for an allergy to almonds, 5 would come back with RAST markers in their blood for an allergy, but never have symptoms when consuming the food.
Thanks for sharing, Sabina!
Cyrex Labs has recently released a 180 food panel. Array 10. Your statements are in direct opposition to Dr. Aristo Voljdani’s.
Some of our best functional medicine doctors really respect his work. I know every time I hear him speak, I am very impressed with his research. I think through his work we are getting closer to healing autoimmune disease. I want to bring up an point he made in one of the lectures I listened too. I am so sorry I do not remember the specific protien and the details of the study (mice vs human) BUT, he said that people/mice who had antibodies to this one protein, developed a condition where their own tissue was destroyed through pure molecular mimicry. The protein and the protein in their bodies were so similar that antibodies to the protein alone were just as damaging as an autoantibody to the tissue. This is highly significant. I believe it was in his lecture in the Autoimmune Summit by Amy Meyers that he spoke about this study.
I beleive the idea of ‘never’ consuming a food again is a very hard thing to confront. I do not know if Cyrex’s Array 10 is 100% accurate, and exactly what antibody reactions to foods mean for us, BUT, I do beleive that Cyrex Labs are the best antibody testing lab we have and I am going to do Array 10. I know that I am way better off after cutting out the foods I reacted to on the gluten cross-reactivity panel. I also think that we can have immune reactivity to foods without feeling overt symptoms from them. Making the our current ‘gold standard’ very, very weak. I am all for the AIP and have eaten this way for nearly 2 years. I am also anxiously awaitng my lactulose breath test and rechecking on all other gut pathogens. But I am definitely doing Cyrex’s Array 10 and hoping for better health, longevity and lasting remission.
Heather, you are right that Cyrex is a well-respected lab in the functional medicine community. That doesn’t make it infallible, though. For example, when an outside lab tried to confirm Cyrex’s gluten cross-reactivity results, it found that only 1/2 the list of foods on the array had the potential to cross-react, and most of those were grains and dairy, which are automatically eliminated on paleo anyway. When it comes to the Array 10, there hasn’t yet been an outside lab testing those results. If you feel you need more information than an elimination diet has provided, by all means, follow your instincts. You are the expert on your own body. My recommendation, though, is to use such a test as a starting point for further exploration, rather than putting your faith in it completely. I don’t recommend avoiding a food for life based on a lab test.
Thank you for your reply Eileen. Yeah, I do feel like I need to confirm some suspected intolerances. I also want to make sure the food I am eating regularly is not causing me problems. I like the idea of further exploration, to see how I feel/function after cutting out the foods I have antibodies/immune reactivity to.. I certainly do not relish cutting my diet down further. I guess I am hoping I really can eat coconut after all, and which nuts are healthy for me and I want to find out if bananas are strange for me solely because of a blood sugar reason or do I have acutal immune reactivity to them….I have a lot of questions….and hoping Array 10 will help guide me in the right direction. I will keep a skeptical view of it all, but to date, Cyrex Labs has done right by me. I realize I probably have a big positive bias towards them, so I thank you for your point of view and will keep it in mind as I proceed.
My understanding is that Array 4 is for both Cross Reactivity AND Food Sensitivity. In fact – that is what the panel is called. It isn’t just called a Cross Reactivity panel! It doesn’t claim that all of the foods on the panel are cross reacting with gluten! Just those down to yeast. Therefore it isn’t surprising at all that an outside lab also found this.
I don’t imagine that Cyrex Array 10 or Array 4 are 100% correct but I think it is now time for us all to start being clearer about the differences between Array 10 and older methods of IgG food intolerance testing so that the info we are spreading out to our community is accurate and up-to-date.
Chris Kresser is held up as a leading authority several times in this article, but the page on his site that is linked to is from 2012, before Array 10 came out. Array 10 is mentioned positively in at least two different articles on his site from 2015. There may well be more. I also read somewhere recently that he uses Array 10 but does think that there should be more research done into it……I can’t remember where I read that now. So it isn’t as though he is completely endorsing it.
People are using Array 10 (often in combination with Array 4) and if they have had this test then they have questions – for example what do they do if they are reacting to lots of fruits and meats but not any legumes or dairy? It would be great to be able to support these people as well and answer the questions that come up for them. I know I would really appreciate being able to read more about that.
I wholeheartedly agree with this post. I have a very dramatic story of healing through this type of elimination diet that you write about.. I got the ALCAT test done and after following their menu protocol became the sickest (almost died) from the leaky gut that I had and the foods I was still ingesting because they tested “safe” for me with ALCAT. It was incredible once I removed the foods how, within two days, my symptoms began to go away. I have Hashimotos and eliminating trigger foods (for MY body), repairing my gut, and reintroduction was the key to healing – not food sensitivity testing that I had through ALCAT. Following their recommendation actually made me far worse. You can read about my complete (with pictures) health and healing journey with Hashimotos, Asthma, Sever Eczema and Miscarriages here: https://feastingonjoy.com/about/my-health-journey/
Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Jenn!
You’re welcome. I love share in hopes to help people too. Thank you for your hard work Eileen and Mickey!
This thread is starting to fill with questions about other brands of food intolerance testing, such as York, MRT, and the Cyrex array 10. My guess is there will be dozens more added by the time this discussion is complete. We understand the appeal of believing there is a test out there that works – one that we have simply haven’t yet mentioned – that will provide you with accurate answers. I’m sorry – the science simply doesn’t support it. As I said above in another comment, there are countless ways a body can have an inflammatory response to a food. There is no test that covers all the reactions. Simultaneously, these tests measure responses in a lab environment and try to draw a correlation with what’s happening in your body. Your body is a totally different (and more complex) environment, hence the “false positives.” Our recommendation remains the same – do an elimination diet correctly (with very careful reintroductions), and trust your body to tell you which foods are inflammatory for you. If you’ve done the AIP, and are looking for more information, you can try one of these tests above, but then follow it with an elimination protocol to test those results.
P.S. I also support Mickey’s advice above that other tests might prove much more useful when you’ve hit a roadblock – such as tests for gut dysbiosis, SIBO, nutrient deficiencies, a comprehensive blood panel, urine organic acids test, MTHFR, etc. There are many conditions that can affect our inflammation levels, and our ability to tolerate foods. The tests I just listed help uncover the root cause.
So – if somebody has already invested in Array 10 and it suggests that they are reacting to lots of meats and fruits, are you advising that they ignore these results and do the normal AIP programme instead?
Great article. Also, what are your thoughts on Kinesiology as a valid form testing? Kinesiologists have been testing me for food sensitivities and I’m unsure about the ‘science’ behind it.
Hi Lisa. When they’ve done blind trials on muscle testing, it was found to be no more accurate than random guessing.
Hi Eileen, Mickey and Angie,
Great post and lots of good discussion. I’d like to share my experience with food testing.
I have taken different IGG food tests over the years and decided at one point I would never do it again, due to the inaccuracies of the testing. I relented recently during a prolonged exacerbation of “IBS” symptoms. The most highly reactive food was potato. (This is before I went AIP) I had already suspected potato wasn’t a good food, but was still eating it in gluten free foods. Cutting this food out made a big difference. Also, the foods I was eating all the time had become more reactive for me, including chicken and olive oil (AIP approved). The only way to know if the test results were accurate was to do an elimination/provocation challenge on my own; sure enough chicken and olive oil cause immediate GI distress. The bottom line is, these tests can be helpful, but I agree that elimination/challenge is the most accurate way to determine food sensitivities even if you decide to take an IGG test.
Now that I’m 26 days into AIP and have had some positive results working with both the IGG test and AIP. Some days are very hard because of all the restrictions. Also, I was eating too low carb in the beginning and this was stressful on my body and caused rapid, unwanted weight loss which set me back quite a bit. In spite of the set back, I can see that healing is taking place and a number of symptoms have improved. AIP is a good starting place, but each person’s ideal diet will be a little different.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Claire – both the positives and the negatives. The one advice I have (which it sounds like you are already working on) is being sure you eat enough while combining the AIP with IGG testing. It’s so easy to get undernourished when our diet is very restricted. Expand your diet as soon as you can, and in the meantime, focus heavily on nutrient density.
Thanks for this information source and all your helpful advice.
I have been on (and still am) on an elimination diet and am also on a rotation diet because there are so few foods I can eat (only some vegetables and oils). I am reactive to all proteins (plant & animal), beans, all grains (including wheat , corn, rice, etc.), dairy, nuts, seed, fructose (under 15 g/meal is tolerated), soy, and caffeine. I was diagnosed with IBS-C 16 yrs ago (intolerant to caffeine , beads, cabbage) then wheat, dairy, soy etc. progressively starting 4 yrs ago. I have not eaten protein for 3 months. An MD friend of mine said I will starve to death without protein. I have been to several doctors and Mayo Clinic found nothing wrong with me.
Is there a couple of functional doctors or naturopaths in the Chicagoland area you could recommend?
You should find an acupuncturist who knows NAET. Check out http://www.naet.com. NAET helps you overcome food sensitivities one food at a time. It helped me when I was becoming sensitive/reactive to many foods. Maybe get treated for eggs first since it is so nutritious or maybe a meat that you are craving the most. After you can tolerate more foods then maybe you can do a gut healing diet such as AIP or gaps.
Through elimination, I’ve discovered my daughter is at least sensitive to gluten, milk, salicylates, sulfites, corn and potatoes. She’s had a worsening rash for a 1 1/2 years that I am just now gaining ground on after figuring out the sulfite issue. I have celiac, no gallbladder, and have been treating autoimmune symptoms for eight years which autoimmune paleo has really helped the last year. I also tested positive for h. Pylori and imagine she has it. The only thing that doesn’t make her react is grass-fed beef and venison. I’m still nursing her and my younger daughter, who seems to have at least a dairy sensitivity (which I don’t eat on purpose, but I have to try everything because there’s almost nothing we can eat.), so I can’t eat much either. Has anyone run across any of this? We’re taking mastic gum with success but she doesn’t take it consistently. I’ve been to a dermatologist – very unhelpful- and a functional doctor, also unhelpful. I’ve rad h. Pylori can cause widespread food sensitivities.
I am sorry to hear of you and your daughter’s food sensitivities–boy that can be a challenge with multiple family members! I have successfully treated H. Pylori myself under the care of a doctor using Mastic Gum. It took a long time, maybe three months of twice daily doses. I didn’t notice a change in my food allergies post treating it–I had already been on AIP for awhile at that point. Hope my experience helps somehow!
I think there really is no one answer to health. And AIP isn’t for everyone either. I think everyone has to find their own way down their path to health. I have tried multiple diets and most failed because I hadn’t yet found the key list of foods I was intolerant to. May of these diets, including AIP and GAPS recommended I eat food that was actually causing a problem for me which I later determined through an intolerance test.. So, I believe that there is a place for these intolerance tests, which have been pretty accurate for my son and I, in combination with a diet like AIP or in working with a naturopath to heal your body in additional ways. To say the intolerance tests are not worthwhile, doesn’t seem fair. There is a place for them. While they may not be accurate all the time, neither is true of IgE allergy testing. It’s best to eliminate the intolerant foods from your diet and then reintroduce them slowly to see which ones were accurate and which were not. My son and I were able to uncover many foods that had been causing trouble for us via an intolerance test that we never would have figured out on our own – foods like bananas, black pepper, olives/olive oil, etc.
[…] false negatives, and that I should just eat more leafy greens and I’d be fine. In fact, other people online (whose opinions I respect) agree. However, in my case, I was having catastrophic issues with food […]
[…] AIP/Paleo world was hailing the benefits of coconut oil. Once my symptoms abated and I started food reintroductions, I tested plain shredded coconut first. NO reaction. Hallelujah! Then coconut oil. All good! Long […]
[…] AIP/Paleo world was hailing the benefits of coconut oil. Once my symptoms abated and I started food reintroductions, I tested plain shredded coconut first. NO reaction. Hallelujah! Then coconut oil. All good! Long […]
This article means well but is a bit deceptive. I looked at the study you cited and it mainly talks about ALCAT. I spent some time in the industry and my experience and those of others including medical doctors and naturopaths has been the same as the paper cited…its not a very good test. After talking to numerous doctors, its my understanding that many don’t believe in food intolerance testing because they don’t understand the testing itself. Many fall for marketing gimmicks vs. real science. Another factor is the labs they are using don’t really understand the food testing and offer it is an ala carte item and offer much research behind their methods.. My consensus is there are too many bogus tests out there being used by doctors therefore know one believes in it. It is not the testing itself, its the labs,
The elimination diet and idea I great in theory… However what about when I’m doing it with a 3yr old. She can’t very well tell me how she feels after every different food. I did the strict elimination thing for about 8 weeks and it hard to keep up. We are not being as strict any more and I’m not sure I knotice a difference. Would the testing not give me a starting point on which foods to really watch an affect for?
I agree this is very difficult to do with a child, I would definitely seek out advice from an experienced doctor or practitioner on this one. Good luck!
Interesting to read a reasoned criticism of fake tests like ALCAT, etc., while pushing the “leaky gut” myth. It is not a diagnosis recognized by the medical community. Intestinal permeability is a real condition that does occur with a lot of autoimmune disorders, but like candida before it, “leaky gut” is simply a catch-all fake condition used to sell diets and protocols, and often expensive supplements and books. A real doctor can test for and treat intestinal permeability, but the notion that lupus, psoriasis, and MS can be cured with diet is dangerous advice. Please inform your readers that “leaky gut” is not actually a recognized medical condition, and there are no peer-reviewed studies showing its existence.
I’d suggest you search “intestinal permeability” (aka leaky gut) on pubmed and let me know how many studies you find! 😉
If you don’t think MS is food related, check out Terry Wahls.
I have Hashi’s. I have dermatitis herpetiformis. I have Sjogrens symptoms at times. I have been eating paleo plus dairy for a long time and having gut issues just since March of this year. I love butter and whipping cream and never could have given those up without getting the results from the Cyrex Labs Array 4 test (my nutritionist suggested it). Now I am learning all I can about AIP, but the test results told me dairy is out as well as all of the ingredients used in gluten free flours including tapioca and oats and sorghum and rice. I am so glad I took the test because it gave me the reason to drop these foods out of my diet! (My inner child is stubborn and wants a reason for everything!)
I have similar symptoms/conditions as you. I just got back from Mayo Clinic and had negative blood tests for Sjogren’s Syndrome although I have 90% of the symptoms (I couldn’t get anyone to test me for the metabolic disorders). Were you ever tested for Sjogren’s antibodies?
I have had gerd, esophagitis, duodenal ulcers, larngitis, chronic gastritis and was on heavy dose of nexium for a decade. Now am diagnosed with candida albicans antibodies and multiple allergies based on Immupro300 test. I dont have anything that I could eat due to allergies and candida diet. I feel weak and not eating. Even raw veg juice is a problem. My lips remain swollen for my months! Please advise!
Sorry to hear about your issues, but your query is best addressed by a medical professional familiar with treating your issues. Hoping you can seek out the help you need and start feeling better soon!
[…] Why Food Intolerance Testing Doesn’t Work […]
I have been suffering from alopecia areata since last Sep. and have lost almost half of my hair in the span of a few months.
For me it came out of nowhere, as growing up I have never felt that I was allergic to any foods and ate basically anything (I have to admit as it had no apparent consequence at the time, I wasn’t a healthy eater)
After been to many Dermatologist, they could not offer any treatment that could cure this condition. Thankfully I found your blog and info on AIP and autoimmune disease. Everything I have started the AIP diet since 3 weeks ago. I am happy that AA has triggered the motivation for healthy eating!
However, as I never felt any discomfort when eating any common sensitive foods before, and I’m tested negative for gluten sensitivities in a blood test in Denmark, I have no idea what is going to happen when I reintroduce foods. Or as so far there is no significant change yet, I am kinda worried if I would be secretly sensitive to things allowed on AIP like coconut..
Hence, I am hoping to do a food sensitivity test to aid my AIP diet so I have some idea what could be the problem that never occurred to me.
I am moving to Princeton from Copenhagen Denmark next week.
I did a search on https://www.naturopathic.org/AF_MemberDirectory.asp?version=1
But it shows no Naturopathic Physicians in the area of autoimmune disease in the Princeton area.
Is there any IgG test you would recommend or what is the best search term or way to find a Dr. that know about AIP approach instead of just prescribing creams?
Thank you 🙂
Hey Lolo! Happy you found us here. We don’t recommend IgG testing for sensitivities, just the autoimmune protocol, as it is the best way to pinpoint food allergies and sensitivities. Have you seen Stella’s site, https://wholeearthlife.wordpress.com/? She has alopecia and has had great success using AIP, I would recommend connecting with her! Primaldocs.com and paleophysiciansnetwork.com are great resources for finding practitioners in the US.
Wishing you a safe move and good luck on your health journey.
I’ve had IgG testing an an effort to try and find out what’s causing my head to toe “eczema.” It suddenly appeared 9 months ago, with no history of allergies or skin issues. The IgG didn’t have any flags at all, and I already eat very clean. Would an elimination diet be futile after the negative result? Eliminating until symptoms are gone would be difficult to keep up if there’s never improvement, and this rash is seriously unsettling for me.
I’m a big fan of the AIP diet, but I think you are selling food sensitivity testing short. I have used the cyrex tests, very successfully in my practice and with my family. The array 2 lets you know if you have intestinal permeability – leaky gut. The array 4 is great if you have a gluten intolerance to test for cross-reactivity with other foods. And the array 10 tests for autoimmune reactions to over 100 foods, both cooked and raw. For anyone with food intolerances and leaky gut, cyrex can help provide a roadmap of what to eat and what not to eat. Done in combination with the AIP can be a very effective combination. Plus, you can re-test later to monitor what has changed.
My son started having eczema on his hands around age 3.At the time he was gluten free bc I have celiac,and we thought about the elimination diet.So,we started with dairy for a couple of weeks without any improvement,on the contrary his eczema was getting worse.We tried eggs ,tomatoes,eggplants (he was getting a bit red around his mouth) and so on.Time passed (about 1 1/2 year) and his eczema was getting worse,he was getting anxious,impatient ,sometimes violent.We finally found and md that was curing his patients with food and supplements,but mostly food.He did this test where over 300 foods were involved and my son tested highly sensitive to many foods like chicken,salmon,tilapia,eggs,tomatoes,eggplants,honey,apricots,chickpeas,cocoa,apples,pecans and a few more.At the beginning we laughed at this as we didn’t believe it,but gave it a shot.We eliminated all this foods from his diet and in 4 days (yes,4) his eczema was gone.We had tears in our eyes
His mood was back to normal,the sweet little boy that he was before.I know that the test is accurate bc every time he eats a small amount of any of those foods,his eczema is back between his finger,moving up his hands.His mood again changes (he becomes mean),his fingers are very itchy and he gets his dark cicles.
For us it would have been almost impossible to find all these foods.I don’t know which test he did but I’m so thankful for having my son eczema free and healthy (he almost never gets sick,like maybe once a year where there would be no antibiotics nor otc pills ).
That’s a great success story! I (and I’m sure a lot of other readers) would like to know the name of the blood test that tested for 300 foods and the type of MD (maybe name and geographic location too!) you sought for help. Could you call the doctor’s office and get the name of the blood test?
If you read the article above, you’ll see why we don’t recommend these tests as a replacement for doing the elimination diet. They can be helpful for some folks at pinpointing triggers, but they don’t test all foods in every way the immune system can react to them.
I’d like to know the name of the test as well for 300-foods.
Ann, what is the 300 food sensitivity test that helped your son? And what is the name and location of the doctor? Your reply will be so helpful and greatly appreciated!
I have a question. If leaky gut means our intestines are too permeable and allow things into our blood stream that should not be there, how is it that there are no blood tests to detect those foreign bodies in the blood? In the entire body of scientific research not once have food particles been detected in blood. In any case presumably this would lead to a most serious sepsis.
It is such a seductive idea and I really want to believe it’s true. However, not only does this theory lack any scientific proof but it also lacks any slight indication from medical research anywhere that it might be true.
Btw I am not questioning that people get better when they change their diet. I know there is great power in functional nutrition.
Hi Duncan! Yes there are many studies, and even medical tests that can check for leaky gut. I recommend checking out the book The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, which has over 2,000 scientific references.
[…] eggs, as well as lost several other food sensitivities. There are several articles discussing the inefficiency of food sensitivity testing via bloodwork, which is another reason why NAET is a great option. If this option doesn’t […]
Ive been AIP for 35 days. If I get the array #4 done, will I get accurate results since I haven’t consumed any of the foods being tested for over a month?
Elimination and reintroduction is the best way to tell if you are sensitive to a food. There isn’t really a way to tell if elimination for a month is going to trigger a result on the test before you do it.
[…] remove all wheat and eliminate things you’d never identify without an MRT – though you also need more than just food intolerance testing, as this excellent Autoimmune Wellness guest post points out (click that […]
Great info, but I wish the article ended by saying “While food allergies CAN be permanent” vs “food allergies ARE permanent.” Because they aren’t always permanent. I’ve had regular food allergy testing (and food allergies) for over 20 years. Over time, many allergies subsided or went away completely, and occasionally new ones appeared. I have very few IgE food allergies now.
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s over ten years ago, eventually had thyroid cancer and had my thyroid removed. More recently, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease just out of the blue. I have had a terrible time and in addition, have started having all sorts of severe reactions to foods, including hives and swelling of my throat. I can’t even touch flour. I am not really sure exactly what all foods cause the reactions which are always followed by days of a migraine. One doctor has ordered extensive allergy testing that I have scheduled. The allergist called and said my deductible has not been met and I need to be prepared to pay up to $2500 for the tests! A second doctor has suggested the food elimination diet. I have been leery because of the severity of my reactions and the sudden onset. Is this the best way for me to find out what is going on with my body or should I bite the bullet and pay for the lab testing and do both?
Hi Tanya! You can see from the above article and comments that we don’t recommend food allergy testing for most folks, but we always recommend that you don’t listen to us over the advice of your doctor. If you are having serious food reactions, and they believe this is the best approach for you right now, it may be something to consider. The elimination diet is a much more affordable option, but if you are in a medical situation where you don’t have the time, I could see why a doctor would advise in this case. Hope you find some resolution and start feeling better soon!
What do you recommend when you have been on AIP for over 2 1/2 years and you are stuck at trying to reintroduce foods with no success?? Pototoes have been my only success so far.
(Hashimotos & Fibromyalgia)
What is your recommendation for testing food sensitivity of a 4 year old who cannot accurately communicate when foods cause a reaction? My daughter gets sick (vomiting with no fever or other symptoms) fairly regularly. It is not immediately after consuming a particular food (often happens in the morning) but I understand some reactions happen after the food has entered the digestive track. Does a food allergy skin prick test show results for sensitivities or just allergic reactions?
I totally understand how difficult it can be to assess food allergies with small children. To be honest, your best bet would be to consult with a practitioner who is both knowledgable about the testing options and elimination diets that can help you decide on the best course of action. Wishing you and your daughter luck sorting things out!
I have a question for you. So i have done a cyrex blood test for gluten and cross reactive foods through my chiropractor. I have also just completed whole30 and am re-introducing foods. I have been told to discontinue all dairy and grains as of right now. So far I have noticed some mood and bloating affects while re-introducing post whole30 but otherwise I have not been experiencing any major affect of foods, such as dairy. With such mild affects do I discontinue a food group or eat it occasionally knowing the mild affects I may have? Or is there a larger form of deterioration going on behind the scenes that I am unaware of? Curious if you could help me to clarify the seriousness of this when I have such mild reactions to food groups I have been told to discontinue. Thank you!
Hi Rebecca! I do think that what you describe as mild effects signify a food reaction, and it is always up to you, but I personally would not eat those foods for maximum health and healing.
Hi, I have a question regarding your description of leaky gut, as it relates to IgG testing. You say that with leaky gut, larger proteins are getting into the blood stream before being properly digested into smaller particles. Is it ever normal or healthy, then, to have proteins such as casein or gluten in the blood stream, or would these be indicators of leaky gut and digestive abnormality? It seems that, if IgGs are “tagging” things like casein and gluten that show up in a food sensitivity profile, this test is at least indicative of digestive problems, even if it is not necessarily indicative of a specific food sensitivity. Is this correct?
I ask because I do not have negative symptoms when eating dairy or gluten, but these two showed up as “moderate” and “high” reactions on an IgG panel I had done recently. I am wondering if there is any value in these results, if they are telling me that these proteins are not being digested as they should. Or can it be normal to have casein and gluten (and other proteins such as the ones tested on the IgG test) floating around in the blood? If this is abnormal, is it wise to discontinue eating casein and gluten, though I am asymptomatic when eating them? Thank you!
You are correct that if you have an igG response to a food that yes your immune system is working correctly; but at the same time doesn’t that prove the leaky gut theory? It is getting into your bloodstream and your body is fighting it off with an antibody. This means it is causing inflammation in your body.
Thank you. I think what your doing here is wonderful. Unfortunately, I live in Massachusetts; “the land of BigPharma”, a place where competing ideologies are very unwelcome. Food in its natural form cannot be patented, and is therefore, the arch enemy of the patented, highly-profitable medical solution. I have a 4yr degree in Nutrition from Umass but most of my knowledge was gained via self directed study and research. I agree that leaky gut is the master disease, and that healing the gut is paramount to curing the endless list of symptoms, and so-called diseases we suddenly get labeled with. And to restoring one’s health, including most food intolerances. Giving a name to your symptoms, ie..”fibromyalgia” opens a menu of legalized drugs. The booming “illness industry” would have us all believe that we inherited faulty genetics and that we need to pop pills to bail us out. I believe the body is an incredible healing machine, and when it gets the right nutrients, and we avoid the many sources of toxins, it heals itself automatically. Unfortunately, too many of us, Americans, eat for pleasure, where flavor rules. Marketing is a very powerful force, and many vested interests are competing for our taste buds. Anyway, I look forward to receiving your newsletter, and looking at your AIP guide, blogs, etc.
Thanks for joining us Jim – I 100% agree with you that the body is an incredible healing machine. Wishing you luck!
Hi there. Thank you for this article. Chris Kresser published an article a few months after this one where he changed his mind about the accuracy of the IgG test, now that there have been some studies done. Here is the article: https://chriskresser.com/are-food-intolerance-tests-accurate/
I don’t know if you did a follow up article or not, but I hope you take the time to read it.
The problem with elimination diets is that you have to eat something 🙂 How do we know that the foods we’re assuming are safe for us, really are? This is where food testing can be a huge help. If you look into the MRT, you’ll see that it goes hand & hand with the LEAP protocol which is an elimination diet that starts with eating your least reactive foods. I’ve spoken to several dietitians that work with this test & have been blown away by the healing they’ve personally witnessed. If you order the test directly from Oxford lab, the cost is $325, a drop in the bucket compared to what many naturopaths charge for IgE testing, etc. Seeing several in the paleo community (including Chris Kresser) poo-poo these tests which many have found to be incredibly helpful makes me question their true intentions.
Your article is extremely misleading and misinformed. It simply is irresponsible to post such a piece “never do this” or “never do that”, when you know very well diseases such as psoriasis are different for everyone – there is no one “key” to open the lock for everyone. So to undoubtedly rule out something by infactually stating “don’t do this”, is irresponsible. Plus, still today, there are leading medical facilities across the country doing exactly what you’ve described is useless (specifically, IGG testing and eliminating the top 4 sensitive foods for 3 months). At the least, I believe your article needs a new headline and needs to be updated. I appreciate your thoughts and input, and see you appreciate openness, so I hope my comment doesn’t just get denied or disapproved.
Hey Ken! No decline or disapproval here, but respectfully disagree. I’m not the author of the article, but I stand by Eileen’s great research and can add my experience walking hundreds of folks though the process of elimination and reintroduction and seeing many folks go through this kind of testing. We are not making any kind of prescription here, we leave that for folks to make with their medical teams, but we do want people to know that food allergy testing does not, in our experience, replace the work of elimination and reintroduction, which is the gold standard for pinpointing food allergies and sensitivities.
Hi, I could really use some help. My 2-year-old just had IgG blood testing for food sensitivities in attempt to uncover additional foods (we already figured out dairy, gluten, and almonds based on her instant and consistent reactivity) contributing to her eczema, which started when she was 4 months and exclusively breastfed. My issue is that her test results indicate high reactivity to ALL mammalian and fish proteins!!! The only safe foods, according to this test, would be shellfish and bivalves. I am having a very difficult time reconciling the diet I need (AIP) to have to heal my leaky gut and autoimmune with her super exclusionary diet – this is relevant because I am still breastfeeding her, so anything I eat she can potentially react too. I suspect she has leaky gut too and would rather have her on the AIP with me if she can tolerate the proteins. Note- previously, her diet has always been higher in protein and fresh fruits and veggies but also some “organic” convenience foods. I have been cleaning up our diets and attempted to follow her prescribed foods list but already saw some negative effects in myself within a few days of being so severely restricted in proteins, despite spending $150 on seafood proteins.
I have Hashimotos and have been treating with diet and lifestyle (poorly since having 2 children) and 60mg Armour Thyroid since October of 2013. I have used AIP in the past when initially diagnosed, with great results even though I somewhat half-assed it (to be fair I was severely underslept with a 5-month-old and milk supply issues at the time). Over past few years I have semi fallen off the AIP/paleo wagon; I continued to exclude gluten and regular consumption of grains (although I couldn’t seem to give up my gluten-free cookies while also suffering sleep deprivation), included multiple variety of ferments, probiotics, FCLO, and occasional offal and bone broth, but fell into bad habits when we renovated our kitchen and I had nothing but a toaster oven for 4 months (while pregnant with the affected child).
Do you think normal AIP would be safe to try with her and see if we can heal our guts together?
Hey Jessica! I would love to help more here, but this is much to complex to troubleshoot in the comment section. Have you thought about hiring a coach to help you personalize and make a game plan? We have over 100 AIP Certified Coaches here -> https://aipcertified.com/coach-directory. Hope you find some answers soon!
I have been scouring the internet trying to figure out what to do for my baby who is 9 months old and has recently been diagnosed with FPIES. Since the route of an elimination diet would be difficult because of his age and inability to tell me how he feels, which one of these tests do you feel would he the most helpful given our situation?
Replying for Eileen here – we aren’t medical practitioners, just well educated bloggers and nutritional therapy practitioners. Your best bet is to work with a doctor who can help guide you with your baby. Wishing you luck!
I too have suffered from many symptoms of food intolerance. After getting the MRT test and following the LEAP immuno calm protocol my results were life changing. My thoughts are different things work for different people. I am happy when anyone gets the results they are after. Yes, an elimination reintroduction diet is hard, but when you have felt poorly for so long, it was nice to know exactly what specific foods were reactive and inflammatory for me. I was also given a systematic plan for reintroduction. So, best of luck to all with testing, elimination, and reintroduction, whichever route you take.
I just did the Alletess food sensitivity test (184 foods) and it said I’m sensitive to 55 foods and borderline for another 40. That’s more than half the foods tested! The reason I did this instead of an elimination diet was that I have Hashimoto’s without the standard symptoms. My main symptom is severe insomnia, and I don’t even know if it’s related to this. I’ve never noticed problems with the foods avoided on AIP. But if I avoid 55-95 foods because of the IgG test, plus the ones to avoid on AIP, there’s not much left to eat other than meat, fish, and a few fruits and vegetables. (And I’m about to be tested for candida. If that’s positive, fruits are out, too.) Oh, and I’m underweight and on this diet I’m liable to become dangerously underweight. So now I have no idea what to do.
The part where I struggle is that the AIP seems like it is subjective to whether or not I can tell if the foods bother me. Some of the symptoms that come from food intolerances can come from so many other things. I have done mostly paleo and a little AIP but haven’t done the strict elimination period yet. Is it obvious what foods I need to cut out after a strict elimination?
Hey Jenna! Yes, a period of strict elimination really helps magnify those responses. We also recommend detailed food and symptom journaling during reintroduction to help you pinpoint. This can be a tricky phase, but it is really worthwhile!
Love ya’ll but this is where you guys lose me. I have been recommending IgG testing 8 years with phenomenal results. I love AIP but at the end of the day…testing often becomes necessary. And it definitely works.
That is fine if you find testing helpful in your practice, but I respectfully disagree. My experience is that while food allergy testing can add information, I find it unhelpful for getting my clients to commit to an elimination diet, and I find it to miss many triggers that are found by elimination and provocation. Not to mention the expense – I’d rather have folks spend that money on real, nourishing food and learn to cook. I think if this type of testing is used, it is best done in the troubleshooting stage and not before starting elimination.
Hi. My 14 month old son has severe eczema and for the past 12 months I have been trying to get to the bottom of it. I have him on the AIP diet with the highest quality, organic produce I can buy and he still has symptoms. I have also addressed other lifestyle factors, including household products, washing detergent, etc, etc. My question is – as much as I am in favor of the AIP diet, it’s difficult to know if he is reacting to an AIP food or if his eczema is due to something not food related. I did an ELISA/ACT test on myself last year which tested for 512 items. Some of the items I was reacting to were AIP, including gelatin, lemon and raspberry. I followed the recommendations of the test strictly and my own symptoms improved within 1 week. I was eating mostly Paleo before doing the test. I continued to follow the recommendations for 6 months and my symptoms never returned. I wanted to find a reliable food sensitivity test to do additional testing on my son, and that is how I came across this post. Any insights you can offer are much appreciated. Thank you.
Hi Kathryn! We recommend not using food sensitivity testing instead of trying an elimination diet, but if you’ve already implemented some dietary changes and don’t see results, you could definitely try to see if the information gathered from a food sensitivity test helps reach a breakthrough. Just know that sometimes the information isn’t as actionable or clinically significant as the test makers imply. Hoping for healing for your son!
Hi Mickey + Eileen,
First off, I thank you ladies for making this information available to us and for all of the work you do. I’ve just begun AIP in hopes to remedy some long-standing ailments, and your resources are greatly appreciated!
I’d like to run my scenario past you to see if you can point me in the right direction. Firstly, I do not believe that I have an autoimmune disease, but I have had the following nagging symptoms for quite some time: face and body acne (though not cystic, I’ve had this most of my life and I’m now 30); congested upon waking and runny nose shortly thereafter (longstanding for years, and was always congested upon waking as a kid); dark circles under eyes; energy ebbs and flows (especially drained if I’ve exerted myself in some sort of laborious activity, like running or circuit training, if only for 30 minutes or less); low sex drive; gluten intolerance (I get headaches, puffy, and horribly bloated if I eat it); can sleep 9-10 hours per night most nights if it weren’t for my alarm.
I suspect that some of my issues are adrenal related (I’m also an NTP but am not practicing currently!), though I am almost 100% certain that I have dysbiosis of some kind and leaky gut. I have followed a Primal/gluten-free diet (grain-free in our home, gluten-free when out with occasional treats) for over 4 years now and have only splurged for the occasional sourdough. I had chronic sinus infections when I was a kid growing up and once I adopted this new way of eating I’ve not had any since, though I know my gut has undergone a lot of havoc with all of the antibiotics I was prescribed for both the sinus infections and acne. As of last summer, I’m no longer on BC (was on the Mirena IUD for 7 years but periods resumed within the first month being off) and do not take any medications.
I am wondering if AIP is the direction to go. It seems like the only logical option to me, but I wonder if histamine testing would also be advised (I do notice my ears get itchy from time to time but honestly haven’t pinpointed the foods… am going to pay more attention to this). I think further gut testing (like the GI MAP) would prove to be really beneficial to help me target the root cause there without shooting in the dark. And I’m hesitant to try MRT based on the recommendations here and those I’ve found elsewhere. As I said, I don’t have an autoimmune disease that I am aware of, but I don’t want things to progress to the point that I am susceptible to developing one. I would greatly appreciate any feedback you may have. Thank you so much for listening, I appreciate you and your time!
Hi Danielle! Thank you for the thoughtful questions and I’m sorry you are in a tricky spot. To be honest, it is super hard to answer these types of questions because one, we aren’t medical providers and this can be medical territory, and two, it really is hard to dig into the best thing to do in the health coaching realm without a full history. I do think if you suspect food sensitivities play a part, a protocol like AIP, aimed at discovering any of them and increasing nutrient density may teach you something. I would also seek further testing for thyroid, HPA-axis dysfunction and gut issues with a qualified practitioner. We have a listing of AIP Certified Coaches we’ve trained at this site: http://aipcertified.com. A good practitioner will be able to take all your history and see which next step might be most productive for you, and if you need help implementing or customizing an AIP or other elimination diet, that would be smart too! Hope it helps and wishing you luck on your healing journey.
Thank you so much for getting back to me and your recommendations. I knew this was definitely a fully-loaded question, so this is the direction I was hoping to get, as I was leaning this way. I have contacted a fellow NTP that has had experience with AIP herself and other clients, so I am going to go this route and also have GI MAP testing done. May I ask why you would also potentially test thyroid? Is is the low libido? I also think stress could be playing a factor there, but curious as to why you may test for thyroid and if the low sex drive was the standout. HPA-axis dysregulation is no surprise as well as the gut issues, so thanks for affirming my assumptions for potential dysfunctional areas to consider.
Thank you again, I greatly appreciate all you do and the work you put out for the world! You and Angie are truly a blessing to this community!
Hi Danielle, some of the symptoms you mention above can certainly be caused by hypothyroidism – not only low libido, but needing excessive amounts of sleep, easily fatigued, etc. Wishing you luck in troubleshooting!
Thank you so much for this input! I will pass along this information, too, just to make sure we troubleshoot it all. Grateful for you, thanks again!
Hey.I’m very newly diagnosed with Hashimoto.I have over 400 antibody.I have no symptoms(unless my PVCs are related,they started abt 3 years ago)..no crazy food sensitivity ,except occasional bloating but nothing to complain about.Ive been eating healthy ,exercising ,my weight is perfect.I don’t get it.
Ive been reading like crazy and is controversial.
I know I am cooking an autoimmune disease and I want to prevent it.I am off gluten and sugar as of 1st of Jan 2021.
Where would you start if you were me?I was just looking into testing array4 and 10.How do I come to the root of my TSH raising and my antibodies going through the roof? I don’t want to be sitting waiting for” it” to happen.I want to know what it is and how to prevent it.Any advice?
Hi Victoria! Unfortunately we can’t give medical advice here as we are not doctors. If you are looking for a provider to look over your lab work and make personalized recommendations for diet, I recommend checking out our listing of AIP Certified Coaches: http://aipcertified.com/coaches-directory. Good luck!
Thank you for your article. What do you think of the Cyrex Array 3? Do you feel that it is accurate and reliable? Do you feel that it is possibly a good test to explain why some people feel better without gluten in their diet even if they don’t have Celiac’s disease? Thank you!
Hi Anonymous! No, we don’t recommend food sensitivity testing. Here is a newer article with more information: https://autoimmunewellness.com/can-blood-tests-detect-food-sensitivity/