It is no surprise that there is lots of misinformation on the Internet, and this includes misinformation about food allergy tests for kids. In this article, we will debunk some information behind 3 common food allergy tests that you may see online.
1. Food Intolerance Blood Tests
One of the most common online tests you will find is a food intolerance blood test. While this is not the best food allergy test for kids, nearly anyone can purchase an at-home food intolerance blood test. If you’re wondering if you should purchase this for your child, then make sure it is indeed right for your child.
Above all, any food allergy testing for kids should be under the discretion and supervision of a doctor. Also, these food intolerance tests need a blood sample (via a finger prick) which can be extremely traumatizing for a child. According to one 2018 study, blood plasma testing is only effective for IgE food allergy testing and has minimal efficacy in testing for food intolerances.
2. Hydrogen Breath Tests
A hydrogen breath test is less invasive than a food intolerance blood test. Specifically, this type of food allergy test for kids analyzes the components of your child’s breath upon exhalation. Based on your child’s breath, a doctor can determine if there is carbohydrate malabsorption.
Depending on which carbohydrate malabsorption your doctor is testing for, your child may undergo very specific hydrogen breath tests (1). During the test, your doctor will prompt your child to consume a carbohydrate solution and then measure the amount of hydrogen found in the breath. Normally, very little hydrogen should be detected. In someone who has carbohydrate malabsorption or small intestine bacterial overgrowth (also known as “SIBO”), the results will show a higher hydrogen concentration. A high hydrogen concentration is indicative of a gastrointestinal issue.
3. Gastric Juice Analysis Tests
Out of all the tests mentioned in this post, the gastric juice analysis test may be the most invasive of the three. The aim of the test is to analyze your gastric juices to determine if there is too much or too little of certain substances.
This test should be a last resort option for food allergy tests for kids because it is rather invasive. While it there is minimal discomfort, inserting a tube through your child’s nose and into the stomach to obtain gastric juices can be a traumatic experience. Despite the invasiveness of the procedure, one study found that the gastric juice analysis test accurately measured a positive challenge when cow’s milk protein is consumed in someone with a cow’s milk allergy.
Food Allergy Testing for Kids: Do Your Research
As your child’s guardian, it is up to you to do your research and ask your doctor any questions you may have. Also, do the work to ensure you are getting information from credible sources online. Above all, if you want to do any allergy testing on your children, make sure your doctor approves.