Year after year, we see an uptick in the number of people who suffer from a food allergy, or an adverse reaction to a food item. In the most general sense, a food allergy occurs when your immune system reacts to certain foods. This reaction occurs because your body thinks that that food item is a threat to the body. More specifically, food allergies can be broken down into subcategories: An IgE food allergy and an IgG food intolerance. Your body creates thousands of IgE and IgG antibodies to fight off the threat. Different types of antibodies fight off different types of immune system threats.

An IgE food response is what we may commonly think of when we hear the term “food allergy.” This IgE reaction is mediated by the body’s immune system which fights bacteria, viruses and harmful food allergens. Some people suffer immediate and life-threatening reactions to the “Top 8 Allergens.” The top allergens are eggs, milk, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soybeans. If you have an adverse food response, you may suffer from immediate symptoms like a tingling sensation and swelling in the lips, mouth or throat. Also, you may experience severe reactions like difficulty breathing and rashes whenever you eat that food allergen. Again, a food allergy can be a life-threatening event which requires quick action and medical attention. The other type of reaction to food, an IgG response is a food intolerance. An IgG food intolerance is not usually immediate or life-threatening, however, you may experience chronic adverse symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, minor skins rashes, fatigue and headaches. Take this quiz to find out if you have a food intolerance.

If you have an IgE food allergy, the first step is to identify to which foods you are allergic. This is typically done under the supervision of your doctor or registered dietitian. For food allergy testing, your doctor or dietitian will conduct skin testing of many different food allergens and monitor your reactions. Food allergy skin testing rarely results in severe or life-threatening reactions, however, you and your doctor should use caution when administering these tests. Identifying which specific foods give you food allergy symptoms is the key to moving forward in food allergy treatment strategies. For long term treatment, your doctor or registered dietitian will advise you to avoid your food allergy triggers.

Online, you may see products that help you identify IgG food intolerance. These testing kits are usually blood tests that measure the amount of IgG antibodies in your blood from many different foods. Tests at the doctor’s office and these food response testing kits can help you change your diet in accordance to your specific needs. While there are so many different food response testing kits on the market, it is important that you carefully select an online testing kit that is science based and that offers a comprehensive overview of your IgG food intolerance. That being said, a comprehensive test will test many different foods, food additives, herbs and spices.

With your personalized IgG food intolerance testing kits, you will be able to identify problematic foods and make changes to your diet in accordance to your new dietary needs. Some testing packages offer suggestions, online nutrition counseling and recipes to make the dietary changes easier to accomplish. Changing your diet based on your food intolerance and allergy testing results will hopefully result in better health and well-being. For specific and personalized nutrition recommendations, however, make sure you consult a registered dietitian in your area.