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About Food Sensitivities

If you’re like most people, you haven’t given much thought to food sensitivity. Maybe you regularly pop drugstore or prescription meds in an effort to alleviate the symptoms without ever considering the cause. In many cases, the cause for these and other ailments is a food sensitivity. Most people never suspect that something they eat is causing migraines, brain fog, digestive issues (bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation), weight gain, as well as other less serious issues such as dark circles under the eyes, rosacea and more.

Thanks to modern life, things like stress, GMOs, gluten, artificial food additives, and medications are causing our small intestines to loosen up faster than ever, producing inflammation and immune response. Under normal circumstances, the immune system protects the body from the harmful effects of invading elements such as viruses, bacteria, and toxins. However, when imbalances occur, it can often over-react to benign substances such as food.

As digestion and gastrointestinal health decline through poor diet, digestive issues, or aging, we become more and more vulnerable to this phenomenon. Foods do not break down properly in our stomach and undigested proteins make their way into the bloodstream. Because these particles do not belong there, the immune system mounts a response and develops antibodies to combat them. The next time you eat that food, your body actually recognizes it as a foreign invader and attacks, resulting in harmful symptoms. More importantly, the longer you continue to unknowingly consume this food, the more frequent and prolonged the reaction becomes.

Living Young Center logo in St. Pete, Palm Harbor, and Seminole

We offer the most advanced and accurate
Food Sensitivity Testing available

Here are 10 reasons why our labs can offer you the most advanced and accurate results:

1. Raw and Cooked

Our lab tests for Immune reactivity to raw and cooked food proteins. This reflects how foods are most commonly eaten. This is necessary because when food is heated or cooked, its protein structure changes. The foods being assessed should best duplicate what patients eat.

2. Cross-Reactive, Pan-Antigen Isolates

Specific food antigens are known to cross-react with human tissues. If a person makes antibodies to these specific food antigens, and the person has barrier permeability, those antibodies to the specific food antigen can begin attacking human tissue. This can result in tissue damage, autoimmune reactivity, and eventually autoimmune disease. Some cross-reactive food antigens include gliadin, casein, food aquaporin, shrimp tropomyosin, and fish parvalbumin. Pan-antigens are proteins that are common among multiple sources. Examples of pan-antigens include shrimp tropomyosin, fish parvalbumin and hevein found in latex and some fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Tropomyosin is found in a variety of fish and crustaceans, which has been shown to cross-react with human tropomyosin. Fish parvalbumin is found in a variety of fish species and is known to cross-react with human parvalbumin.

3. Multiple Food Protein Interactions

When food proteins are combined during processing, the antigenicity of the individual food proteins can change. In other words, a patient may not react to fresh dill or raw cucumber, but when dill is processed with cucumbers for making pickles, the patient may react to the dill pickle. Real-world diets include combined foods; some are obvious like imitation crab, while some are hidden as in the case of meat glue. Imitation crab is made up of Alaska pollock (MSC-Certified), water, pea starch, sugar, sorbitol, modified tapioca starch, king crab meat, natural and artificial flavor, extracts of crab, oyster, lobster, scallop, shrimp, and fish (salmon, anchovy, and cutlass fish), refined fish oil (anchovy, sardine), sea salt, rice wine (rice water, koji, yeast, salt), hydrolyzed soy and whey proteins, autolyzed yeast extract, potassium chloride, sodium inosinate and guanylate sodium pyrophosphate, carmine, paprika, artificial color added.

4. Large Gum Molecules

Gums (xantham gum, gum arabic, guar gum) are in many foods, especially gluten-free and dairy-free processed products. They can also be found in soups, juices, jams, salad dressings, soy products, dairy products such as milk and yogurt, and others. Gums are large molecules (200,000-5,000,000 Daltons) and parts of their molecules have the same molecule sequences as other food proteins; this is known as molecular mimicry. These can cross-react with other food proteins, causing an immune reaction in the patient.

5. Binding Isolates (Lectins and Agglutinins)

Lectins are glycoproteins that bind carbohydrates, and agglutinins bind cells together. Lectins and agglutinins are found in about 30% of foods. Lectin is only one among hundreds of proteins found in beans, so it is normally not possible to accurately measure the lectin antibody when it is mixed with many other proteins. However, by using purified lectins, the most antigenic protein in beans, peanuts, etc., the testing becomes the most accurate and specific method to detect antibodies to these inflammatory food antigens. This test includes lentil and pea lectins, as well as, beans, soybean, and peanut agglutinins.

6. Tissue-Bound Artificial Food Colors

Artificial food colorings are used extensively in foods, and humans are regularly exposed to them by ingestion. These chemical colorants form adducts (bonds or “bridges”) with proteins in humans; therefore, measuring the antibodies to these colorants will indicate whether or not they are responsible for a patient’s immune or autoimmune reaction. A patient may not react to a particular food; however, they may react to the food once its protein is bound with an artificial colorant. It is important to note that we are talking about food proteins binding to artificial food colorants, and vice-versa. The binding of artificial colorants to a food protein may increase the food’s antigenicity and ability to cause an enhanced immune reaction in patients.

7. Amplified Antigenic Proteins and Peptides

This test includes specific proteins and peptides that are within the entire food proteins. Examples include shrimp tropomyosin and shrimp protein, cashew vicilin and cashew proteins, pineapple bromelain and pineapple proteins, and rice endochitinase and rice proteins. These antigens are highly purified recombinant proteins (proteins made via biomolecular engineering) and synthetic peptides (short chains of amino acids). By targeting specific antigens within the entire food proteins, this test increases the sensitivity and specificity for food immune reactivity.

8. Oleosins

This test tests for oleosins, which are the oil proteins found in seeds and nuts. Some patients may not have a reaction to the proteins in seeds or nuts such as sesame, peanuts, and others; however, they may react to the protein oil in a seed or nut. This is why a patient may react to both peanut and peanut oleosins, or may have a reaction only to peanut oleosins. In the latter case testing only for peanut and not peanut oleosins would give a false negative.

9. Meat Glue

I know what you are thinking! What is meat glue?? Meat glue, also known as transglutaminase or thrombian, is a powder used in the food manufacturing industry to adhere smaller pieces of meat to make one large fillet, or to turn flakes of white fish into imitation crab meat, or from chicken scraps into nuggets. It is also used to thicken some milks, yogurts, and egg whites. According to the packaging label on meat glue, there is also maltodextrin and sodium caseinate with transglutaminase.

10. Dual Antibody Detection System

Because both IgG and IgA isotypes are involved in the immune response, this test measures IgG and IgA antibodies for each food item. Clinically, IgA is an indication of the mucosal immune response, and IgG is an indication of the circulatory immune response. By measuring both, this ensures and enhances the detection of food immune reactivity.

Is it a Food Sensitivity, or a Food Allergy?

Food sensitivities and food allergies are two different things. Reactions to a food sensitivity are usually delayed, taking hours or even days to present themselves. These reactions are non-life threatening and can be eliminated once the offending food is removed from the diet. On the other hand, food allergies produce almost immediate reactions, ranging in severity from skin rash and hives to anaphylaxis. Food allergies can be fatal. In some cases, ingesting or even touching a small amount of an allergen such as peanuts can produce an intense reaction.

Food allergies are easier to detect than food sensitivities. A simple, inexpensive skin prick test performed in a doctor’s office test yields immediate and reliable results about allergies. Not so with food sensitivities. In fact, many physicians don’t even take into account food sensitivity as an underlying cause of many common complaints patients have.

Getting Tested

Taking a Food Sensitivity Test at LivingYoung Center will accurately and quickly pinpoint your intolerances to food, additives or chemicals and save you valuable time and effort in the process. This is a simple, minimally invasive blood test that can determine precisely which items are causing the inflammation leading to any symptoms you may have. Results are presented in an easy-to-understand format that “scores” your sensitivity.

Once you know if a food sensitivity is causing your symptoms, you are well on your way to feeling your best. We are pleased to offer this test as just one more way for help you keep living young. The blood draw takes just a couple of minutes in either of our two locations.

What if I live out of town? Can I still do this test?

Absolutely! We have draw centers that we work with across the US and in some areas mobile phlebotomist that can come to you. First step is to purchase the test online, once we receive your order we will call you to get you set up for your labs. You may also call us directly.

Order test online – Once the order is placed we will contact you to discuss your convenient options to have your blood drawn, in office, or at a local draw center (not available in New York, Rhode Island, Maryland, or New Jersey). We will also create a patient portal where you can easily submit your medical history to us.

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