© Sarah Beesley (MHD Hons, Advanced Certificate in Herbal Medicine, Integrative Natural Health Practitioner)
The following information is not intended to diagnose any condition or to replace the advice of your doctor.
Where ever there are allergy problems be they skin, respiratory or digestive related, identifying an removing the substances causing inflammation is a very important part of treatment. There are a number of testing techniques available but many of them provide a narrow view of what is going on. You may already have had a skin prick test or blood test (RAST) done and still be feeling like the foods you suspect upset your body have not been adequately identified. This is usually because the test used has tested for only a small range of things, or it has tested part of the immune response, not all of it.
Most people (including many doctors) don’t understand that skin prick testing for example, is not necessarily the best way to check for intolerances because it picks up only IgE mediated immune responses. The majority of food or substance intolerances are generally mediated by IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies. A possible gluten intolerance can be detected in the blood by specifically looking at IgG and IgA levels, but it will never show in a skin prick test which tests only for IgE. Blood testing for allergens can be helpful and accurate but the list of items tested for is often very small and many intolerances go undetected as a result.
Intolerances are often accumulative or delayed reactions rather than instant, which is another reason why testing only for IgE antibodies is not the most effective means of detection. Most IgE reactions will show within a 12 hour period because they are histamine based, whereas the other reaction types may take up to 36 hours to show as a symptom.
The most accurate way of confirming the presence of an intolerance is through avoidance and then re-challenge. However, this can in itself present a problem because it is hard to remove all possible culprits at the same time, and sometimes it can be a reaction to a combination of foods or substances that creates the symptom picture. Electromagnetic testing provides the most comprehensive testing picture possible. However results can vary depending upon the expertise of the tester.
EAV testing is still a relatively new science and there are few studies “proving” that it works; hence you may find many people sceptical as to its value. I was myself when I was first introduced to it. For this reason I ran some samples from people with known allergen issues to check the accuracy of the test and the tester, prior to taking it on in my clinic. We have used the same tester now for over 8 years with consistently excellent results.
I have had many validations of this test over this time in ways that could not have been predicted, including the test correlating closely with less comprehensive allergy testing from other sources. I have had approximately a 90 – 95% success rate with those who have used it and the number of referrals I get for the test is evidence of that.
Intolerances to foods and substances can show in many different ways. In one person it may show as repeat ear infections, a tingly mouth, mucous in the throat, asthma or eczema. In someone else it may present as a bowel problem, mood disorder, headaches, stomach migraine, fatigue, low immunity, acne or something else. It all depends on where the weakest tissue is in that person and where the inflammation and congestion are greatest.
Most people who experience a direct cause and effect with food intolerances will find these usually have a genetic base to them. Other food intolerances may be transient – a result of over-exposure, yeast infections and/or a compromised digestive system. Correcting the digestion and avoiding the offender for a few months may be enough to improve tolerance.
Once a food or substance has been an issue however, it is usually wise to avoid over exposure to it in the future by limiting the number of times you use it in a week to one or two exposures.
What is Involved and What Does the Test Cost?
During the test, a sample of your hair is tested against more than 90 different foods, food chemicals, environmental substances, worms and 3 strains of microbe. (See below for more details). The machine used reads the record in your hair as to how your tissues are reacting to the tested substances and foods.
For casual patients the standard test costs $195.00 and this includes a comprehensive set of instructions on how to substitute the foods and body products etc… that may show up. Foods and substances outside of the standard list below can be tested for at an additional $5.00 per special item if you provide us with appropriately packaged samples. For clinic patients the cost is $129 +$5.00 per additional item to be tested.
Some examples we have been given include various baby formulas, swimming pool water, mouldy bark chips, specific hair products, work related chemicals (solvents, printer’s inks etc…), specific creams, specific animal hairs.
If you suspect something to be a problem, GET IT TESTED.
How to Proceed
Print off the Food and Chemical Sensitivity Test Form and follow the instruction on it for taking a hair sample. Send us the completed form, your hair sample plus any special items to be tested and the correct payment for the test. We will contact you to let you know we have received your sample. Most results take approximately 4 weeks from the date we receive your samples.
All testing must be paid for prior to the test being run.
Items Included in the Standard Test
Dairy products (Cow’s milk origin), egg, wheat, gluten, oats, rye barley, rice, corn, soy milk, soy sauce, miso,apple, apricot, avocado, banana, date, grapefruit, grapes, kiwifruit, lemon, mango, nectarine, orange, pawpaw, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, prune, strawberry, tomato, beetroot, broad bean, brocolli, brussel sprout, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumber, garlic, lettuce, mushroom, onion, peas, potato, pumpkin, almond, brazil nut, cashew, coconut, hazel nut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pistachio, sesame, walnut, bacon, beef, chicken, lamb, pork, cod, herring, plaice, sardine, crab, lobster, mussel, oyster, shrimp, chocolate, brown sugar, honey, stevia, lactose, white sugar, baker’s yeast, brewer’s yeast, marmite, vegemite, black pepper, chili powder, salt, vinegar, coffee, coke, tea, beer, brandy, gin, sherry, whiskey, wine, MSG, food colourings, nitrate preservatives, sulphite preservatives, aspartame, saccharine, pollens, cat fur, dog hair, horse hair, goat hair, sheeps wool, feathers, dusts, petrol, diesel, LPG gas, cigarette smoke, Round-up, 2 4-5-T, detergent, salicylic acid, pyrethrum, mercury amalgam, mould, Strep bacteria, Staph bacteria, Mixed Candida yeast strains, Giardia, Threadworm.
Optional Extras (at no additional charge)
Buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, chickpea flour, tapioca, legumes, chia seed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, cocoa powder, carob powder, kelp, karengo, mixed baby formulas, baby shampoo and baby soaps, slippery elm, psyllium, ginger, nettle, chamomile, black cohosh, echinacea, golden seal, milk thistle, withania, ginkgo, laundry powders, dish washing powders, soaps, rubber gloves, latex gloves, lanolin, flouride, rabbit hair, guinea pig hair, silicon, titanium, formaldehyde, round worm.
Please note: If you require any of the optional extras listed above, please itemise them on your test form, otherwise they will not be included.