An Honest Look at IgG Food Sensitivity Testing
I recently starting seeing a new client who had unnecessarily cut out a tonne of different foods from her diet based 100% off of the results she received from an IgG Food Sensitivity Test. She felt super restricted, frustrated and exhausted with how closely she had to watch her diet. While I’m not against using this test (I offer them myself in my own practice) it’s what we do with that information that makes them useful or just giving us unnecessary uphill battles.
An IgG Food Sensitivity Test is a laboratory blood test done to analyze the amount of IgG antibodies of certain foods in our body. Most people think that if you test high for IgG antibodies of certain foods, you’re sensitive to them and should avoid them like the plague.
The Real Deal
The truth is, IgG antibodies are not necessarily a bad thing. Our body naturally flags foods and other substances all the time to build up a healthy library of antibodies and strengthen our immune system from viruses, harmful bacteria and other pathogens. In fact, IgG antibodies are what’s passed from mother to baby via breastmilk to keep them well while baby’s immune system is still immature. Ideally our body will eventually clear the IgG’s leaving a little bit of their wisdom behind. It isn’t abnormal to have an IgG antibody to a food, but it is abnormal to have a reaction to it. A high scoring on your test does not mean you are for sure reacting to that food.
So they are not necessarily this evil component in our body causing our IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), migraines, rashy skin, gas, bloating or the 100’s of other documented symptoms connected to food sensitivities.
The biggest thing to remember with IgG Sensitivity Testing is that it is not actually a diagnostic test… it is classified as a screening.
''It isn't abnormal to have an IgG Antibody
to food, but it is abnormal to have a
reaction to it..."
So should we even get this test?
Maybe, it’s definitely a conversation to have with a healthcare provider who offers them if you suspect you are reacting to certain foods. I have sometimes seen it be really helpful for narrowing in on potential food sensitivities and I have also had people come to me with more questions than answers afterwards.
If you do choose to get an IgG Food Sensitivity Test remember 2 things…
It’s important to make sure you have a trained healthcare provider who knows what they are looking for to help you interpret the results and give you a clear course of action afterwards.
Before blindly eliminating foods you test positive to be sure to confirm you are actually sensitive to them via an Elimination Diet.
What Do I Think?
Almost always (except in special circumstances) I start with an Elimination diet and 9 times out of ten we can figure it out without an expensive lab test. There are a number of other bonuses to doing it this way as well; like pinpointing other gut inflamers unique to you, moving closer to a diet that encourages you to heal and thrive and getting in tune with truly listening to your body and understanding what it needs to journey back into balance.