If you search for food intolerance tests online, you may be confused by the controversy between medical professionals and allergy testing companies. You may find some sources that say food intolerance testing is the best way to determine food intolerances. However, other sources may tell you that there is no definitive benefit. So, who should you believe?
In this article, we will look at what the experts say about food intolerance testing. Also, we will discuss a few studies, specifically in regards to people who suffer from migraines. After reviewing some of the data, we will also help you figure out how to move forward with food allergy testing, even if the nutrition field is not completely ready. If you’re like many people with a food intolerance, then chances are you want relief from your symptoms as soon as possible!
What do the experts say about food intolerance tests?
The truth is that while there is some research being conducted with food intolerance tests, more research is needed for experts to stand behind them as valid and accurate methods to diagnosing food intolerances. Currently there is no specific food intolerance test that is backed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology and Food Allergy Research and Education. The biggest issue with food intolerance tests is their lack of consistent validity and reliability (1).
Current Research Behind Food Intolerance Tests
Even though big organizations do not support the efficacy of food intolerance tests, there is research being done. It is this current food intolerance research that will eventually help change or create applicable nutrition practice guidelines. Let’s take a look at some of the research behind food intolerance tests, particularly for those who suffer from migraines:
#1: Food intolerances may help relieve migraines (in the short term)
One 2011 study showed that participants who underwent a food intolerance test, and who made dietary changes based on their results, experienced fewer headaches in the first month. However, their frequency of headaches did not improve during the following 12-week period.
#2: Food elimination diets may be helpful for those with migraines and irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can affect various aspects of a person’s quality of life. In one study, researchers trialed elimination diets on their participants who had both migraine headaches and IBS. According to the results, participants who successfully completed elimination diets showed improvements in both their migraine disorder and IBS.
How to Analyze the Food Intolerance Research
If you are someone who is concerned that they have a food intolerance, then you may be wanting answers as soon as possible. While food intolerance tests may not be totally accurate and the research is currently underway, you probably want relief from your symptoms now! There are things you can do now to help you relieve certain symptoms.
- Contact a Registered Dietitian, particularly one who specializes in food allergies. How do you know if someone is a Registered Dietitian? Be sure to look for credentials like “RD” or “RDN” beside their name. You may have a Registered Dietitian in your healthcare network. Also, some services may be covered by insurance.
- Keep a detailed food and symptom journal. This information will help your healthcare team recognize trends in the food you eat and the symptoms you experience.
- Ask your doctor if food intolerance testing is available and which is right for you.
The bottom line to food intolerance testing is that it should always be conducted under the supervision of a doctor, even if you are able to purchase it online.