Food Allergy Testing

Food Allergy Testing

More than 50 million people in the United States have allergies. Finding out what you are allergic to is an important first step to effective allergy treatment. Today allergy tests are more convenient and accurate than ever before. When combined with a detailed medical history, allergy testing can identify the specific things that trigger your allergic reactions.


Antibody Assessment FAQ

What is a Food Allergy

A food allergy is one type of Adverse Food Reaction that is mediated by the immune system. An adverse food reaction may comprise any symptom following the intake of a food. Symptoms may be any perceptible change in how we feel and/or function.
A symptom may present, for example, as a rash, achy joints, or fatigue. Adverse food reactions are classified into three subgroups; toxic, psychological, and non-toxic reactions. A toxic food reaction is commonly known as food poisoning and is a result of contaminants in the food. Psychological reactions or food aversion is related to a former ill experience and is largely psychosomatic in nature. A non-toxic food reaction is further divided into immune- (i.e.: allergy), and non-immune-mediated groups. Non-immune-mediated reactions, or food intolerance, can mimic allergic inflammation and may occur from food additives, pharmacological compounds, or enzymatic deficiency (i.e.: lactose intolerance). Immune-mediated reactions, or food allergies, are divided into IgE- and non-IgE reactions. The latter of which involve antibodies other than IgE, immune complexes and cell-mediated events. Below is a simple diagram to put this into visual perspective as defined by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI).
US BioTek Laboratories’ FOODStats ELISA quantifies immune-mediated adverse reactions to foods.

What is an Anaphylactic Food Reaction?

An anaphylactic reaction to an ingested food is a life-threatening condition that causes swelling and constriction of the airways. It is an IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reaction and occurs immediately after the ingestion of ,the culpable food. This condition requires immediate medical attention. US BioTek antibody assessments do not identify anaphylaxis. Low allergen-IgE on a patient’s test report cannot justify secondary exposure to a food suspect of inducing anaphylaxis as it may prove fatal.

What is an Allergen

A food that causes an allergic reaction is known as a food allergen. An inhalant such as ragweed that causes allergic rhinitis is known as an inhalant allergen, or aeroallergen. Allergens are almost always proteins but not all proteins are allergens. Foods such as milk, chocolate, strawberries and wheat may be allergenic for some individuals but not all. Inhalants such as kitty dander and dust mites may also be allergenic for some and not all. Predisposing factors and symptoms may vary from person to person.
An inflammatory reaction is fundamental to an allergic response. The classic manifestations of an inflammatory reaction are to varying degrees:

Redness – caused by dilation of blood vessels in the tissues.
Heat – caused by increase in blood flow in the tissues.
Swelling – caused by increased permeability of blood vessels in the tissues.
Pain – caused by congestion in the tissues.

What Promotes an Allergy?

The underlying reasons for allergies vary from person to person. Possibilities may include loss of tolerance from stress, trauma or underlying disease, genetic predisposition, compromised microbial gut flora, and poor immune function.

Are There any Food Restrictions Prior to Testing?

No. It is advised to maintain usual dietary habits, consuming a variety of foods when possible. Prolonged dietary restrictions may show low serological values. It is strongly advised to avoid any food that may have potentially resulted in a previous adverse reaction or anaphylaxis. Secondary exposure to these foods may prove fatal.

Are There any Medication Restrictions Prior to Testing?

Immunosuppressive drugs such as oral or intranasal corticosteroids (prednisone, beclomethasone, fluticasone, triamcinolone), and topical cortisone suspensions and creams, may affect test results. The suggested time period to abstain from these is 4 weeks. However, the dosage, route, half-life of medication, and duration of administration on systemic immune response, can vary on its effects. The practitioner must weigh in these variables with the current health status of the patient.

What is an Allergic Cross-Reaction?

Cross-reactivity is an important consideration in allergy assessment. When the immune system mounts a response to a protein of similar moiety to a known allergen, adverse reactions may occur. This is especially evident between pollen, fruits and vegetables. Sensitivity to latex for example shows extensive cross-reactivity with certain foods, including banana, avocado and mango which may lead to clinical allergic reactions. Natural rubber latex is a common ingredient found in many products including balloons, appliance cords, hearing aids, swimwear, condoms, rubber bands, and medical and dental s,,upplies such as masks, gloves, syringes, catheters and bandages.

What are the Age Restrictions for Testing?

There is no under age limit. US BioTek’s antibody assays are suitable for 6 months of age and older. Our food-specific IgA panel is not suitable for breast-fed infants.

US BioTek Laboratories

A Worldwide Leader in Specialty Medical Testing