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Taking care of your health means having a good idea of what’s going on with it in the first place.  If you are looking at a seeming mess of symptoms and/or reactions and you aren’t sure where to turn, you may find allergy testing or food intolerance testing to offer you the best option for relief.  Both of these conditions can be creating disruptive symptoms not only to your food-related life but your larger life as a whole, so determining what is going on inside of your body is going to be important to make sure that you are doing the best you can to take care of yourself.  Both tests are unique from each other, so make sure that you are getting the right one is going to be important.

Food allergies and allergy testing

The first test to learn about is allergy testing.  There are two types of allergies that can occur in the body, IgE-mediated and non-IgE mediated ones.  Both of these, studies show, can create all sorts of symptoms, including reactions in the skin (such as rashes), stomach discomfort (cramping or vomiting) and respiratory issues (coughing, wheezing, swollen airways) [1].  There is some research to suggest that there might be both genetic and environmental factors that factor I to whether an allergy appears or even disappears throughout childhood, but specialists are still researching this [1].

A food allergy occurs when you eat or drink something and the immune system determines that it is a threat and must be destroyed immediately.  This creates inflammation in your body which can result in any of those kinds of reactions listed above. The severity of it (mild congestion versus a blocked airway) often determines how much of the allergen was ingested as well as how strong your immune system’s reaction is.  Sometimes these are childhood allergies that disappear with time, and sometimes they’re simply there throughout life.

When it comes to diagnosis of allergies, specialists find that it can be complicated by the fact that simply being sensitive to a certain food ingredient doesn’t mean that you are allergic to it [1].  Sometimes a sensitivity is more of an intolerance.  An allergy test can help confirm that.

At Allergy Test Singapore, we offer at-home testing kits where you can simply order a test to your doorstep, follow its instructions for a blood sample, send it off to the lab, and receive the comprehensive test results, directly to your email, in under two weeks from the receipt at the lab.  This will let you know exactly what you are allergic to.

Food intolerances and intolerance testing

A food intolerance is something completely different.  Studies show that symptoms can describe the same way at first, including stomach discomfort and congestion, and even some who feel the need to cough and sneeze, similar to those who have allergies [2].  These intolerances can come at any point in life and they can range (and shift) in severity throughout life as well, often worsening as we age. 

A food intolerance occurs when your body is sensitive to a particular food ingredient.  When that food ingredient comes in, your body doesn’t have the proper digestive enzymes to process it.  As such, digestion is a struggle and create symptoms including stomach pain and congestion, but also migraines and aching joints and even fatigue.  It’s thought that intolerances could be linked to the idea of improper integration of a wide diet as children, but often intolerances can be seemingly random in what they are to, and where they come from.

Scientists have discovered, through case studies, that only a small number of people reporting intolerances actually were found to have those intolerances; instead, they simply had normal digestion or illness or stress symptoms and attributed them to a food intolerance instead [2].  This makes proper testing important.  You can order an at-home test from us and follow the same steps as for an allergy test.  This, however, is a test specifically designed for food intolerances and it will not diagnose food allergies (and vice versa).  The test results will tell you what your body is sensitive to and you can use this to help withdraw that food from your diet.  The diagnosis is thought to be completed, according to specialists, when you no longer have symptoms after completely removing the problem foods [3].

The difficulty in taking a DIY approach

A common thought is that you can just do an elimination diet yourself and simply take out any and every food that causes you discomfort.  Boom, problem solved.  But, it’s not that simple.  In fact, when it came to both intolerances and allergies, many people tested discovered that they had more than one (especially intolerances) [3].  Discovering with 100% accuracy what you are reacting to is very difficult to do on your own.

Need some support?  Feel free to get in touch with our customer service representatives, who are more than happy to help you determine which is right for you.  When in doubt, you can always do both.  Better safe than sorry, right?

References

[1] Sicherer, S.H. and Sampson, H.A., 2010. Food allergy. Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 125(2), pp.S116-S125. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674909012706

[2] Farah, D.A., Calder, I., Benson, L. and MacKenzie, J.F., 1985. Specific food intolerance: its place as a cause of gastrointestinal symptoms. Gut, 26(2), pp.164-168. Available at: https://gut.bmj.com/content/26/2/164.abstract

[3] Minford, A.M., MacDonald, A. and Littlewood, J.M., 1982. Food intolerance and food allergy in children: a review of 68 cases. Archives of disease in childhood, 57(10), pp.742-747.  Available at: https://adc.bmj.com/content/57/10/742.short