Actionable Insights From An Expert On Food Intolerance Testing - Test Your Intolerance

My name is Kate Knowler, and I’m a nutritional therapist in London. I’ve used food intolerance testing with my clients for the past 16 years in my clinic, and here are some actionable insights I would recommend following whether you’re considering doing a food intolerance test or have already done one:

Before food intolerance testing:

As much as possible, I would advise that you eat your normal diet in the days leading up to food intolerance testing. This will ensure your test provides the most accurate result. If you are currently experimenting with avoiding certain foods to reduce symptoms, you may find that those foods show lower levels of antibodies than if you were eating them regularly.

Prepare for your test by being well hydrated for 1-2 days prior to test day and being warm on the day of your test. Swinging your arms, jumping around, and going for a brisk walk can all help to increase blood flow when you do your food intolerance testing.

During the test:

Use the alcohol wipe to clean the tip of the ring finger of your non-dominant hand for 30 seconds (yes, this feels like a long time!) and allow it to dry before using the lancet to prick the finger. The skin on this finger may be thinner than the other fingers as we tend to use this fingerless when typing, on the phone, etc. I would also suggest you use the lancet on the side of your finger rather than the central pad of the finger, as I find this tends to hurt less.

If the blood flow slows down mid-test, apply pressure and a clean plaster to that finger, and then repeat the process on the middle finger of your non-dominant hand, using a new lancet.

Once you have completed the blood sample, make sure that you complete all the paperwork correctly and place everything into the envelope provided, ready to send back to the lab. When posting, I recommend upgrading from a first-class stamp and using the Royal Mail recorded delivery service for overnight delivery, insurance, and tracking.

After the test:

Your finger may feel a little bit sore for 24 hours after food intolerance testing, but this should ease relatively quickly. If yours is particularly painful or is weeping after 24 hours, you may want to speak with a medical professional to check that there is no infection.

Interpreting your Results:

When you first open your report – don’t panic! There may be several IgG intolerance results, but you should first consider any that are higher than 49.99 units/mL. These will be highlighted in red and labelled as HIGH intolerances.

Even if you eat food regularly and have never noticed any symptoms, if it is in red, you should remove it from your diet for at least 1 month before reintroducing it to evaluate your symptoms with and without that food. If you have multiple foods to remove from your diet, it can be tricky to know which foods improve or exacerbate your symptoms – a staggered reintroduction of one food per week can help with identifying trigger foods after your elimination period.

What Your Test Might Mean

If your results suggest you may have a cow dairy intolerance but not goat or sheep dairy intolerance, then you could try goat, sheep and maybe even buffalo dairy products – this includes their cheeses and yoghurts. Dairy-free milk alternatives are also an option but you may need to seek help from a nutritional therapist in order to avoid the risk of a calcium deficiency. Some people can digest the A2 protein in cow dairy more easily than the A1 protein, so once your symptoms have settled, you may want to try some A2 protein milk, e.g. Jersey/Guernsey cow milk.

If you have a wheat intolerance, you may not need to avoid all gluten products. However, if you have a wheat intolerance together with a barley and a rye intolerance, then it may be recommended for you to avoid all gluten products. However, please note that wheat/gluten intolerance is not the same as coeliac disease, which is an autoimmune disease where the body reacts negatively to gluten found in wheat, barley and rye (and in oats by contamination).

Reintroducing Foods – when and how?

It is important not to avoid foods unnecessarily for too long, and likewise, it is important not to reintroduce them too soon. I usually recommend avoiding high-intolerant foods for one month before reintroducing one food every seven days while evaluating symptoms. For example, when reintroducing both cow dairy and wheat, I would suggest:Guide To Reintroducing Dairy Items Back Into Your Diet

  • Week 1: reintroduce cow butter.
  • Week 2: reintroduce cow yoghurt.
  • Week 3: reintroduce cow cheese.
  • Week 4: reintroduce cow milk.
  • Week 5: reintroduce other dairy products, e.g. cream, milk chocolate, ice cream, etc (all in moderation!)
  • Week 6: reintroduce sourdough wheat bread.
  • Week 7: reintroduce wheat-based breakfast cereal and so on..

Reintroducing foods slowly allows you to establish which foods are causing your symptoms. As soon as you notice a symptom you should remove that food until your symptoms settle, then wait a further month before trying to reintroduce it. In the meantime, you can continue with introducing other foods once your symptoms have resettled.

If you have removed your HIGH intolerant foods and are still experiencing symptoms, or your report returned with zero HIGH intolerant foods, you may need to speak with a nutritional therapist to explore other possible causes of your symptoms, such as gastrointestinal dysbiosis and insufficient digestive function.

We hope that you found this guide helpful – remeber if you’re looking to complete an intolerance test