Food sensitivities and allergies are more than just a nuisance. They can significantly impact your quality of life. If you experience bloating, cramping, rashes, or nausea after eating certain foods, you may have a food sensitivity or allergy. The onset of reactions to these foods may be delayed for several hours or longer. Therefore, narrowing down what is causing them may be difficult.
Understanding the difference between food allergies and sensitivities and identifying specific triggers may lead to a healthier lifestyle. Fortunately, Optimum Direct Care is here to help. At Optimum Direct Care, we partner with Vibrant America to offer specialized testing and help you uncover the root causes of your symptoms.
Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivities
Food allergies are immune system reactions mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE). These reactions can be severe and even life-threatening. Symptoms may include hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis. Common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and dairy.
Food sensitivity, on the other hand, is mediated by immunoglobulin G (IgG) or immunoglobulin A (IgA). These reactions are typically milder and may lead to symptoms like bloating, headaches, fatigue, or joint pain. Sensitivities can be more challenging to diagnose as symptoms may be delayed for hours after eating certain foods.
Food Sensitivity Testing at Optimum Direct Care
It’s essential to note that we do not perform skin testing for food sensitivities or allergies at Optimum Direct Care. Skin testing is typically done at an allergy office or ENT, and it involves pricking the skin with small amounts of allergens to observe reactions. Instead, we partner with Vibrant America, a specialty lab known for its innovative testing methods. Vibrant America offers two different panels, allowing us to test for sensitivities to common foods. We also have the ability to test for intestinal permeability, commonly known as leaky gut.
In many cases, blood testing is performed to follow up on a skin test that reveals a possible food allergy. A small blood sample is drawn and sent to a lab for analysis. Specifically, a pathologist will check the blood for IgE antibodies, which are produced by the body’s immune system in response to an allergy-causing substance. If there are IgE antibodies to a particular food in the blood, an allergy is likely.
Additionally, if the skin and blood testing results are unclear, a more comprehensive test known as an elimination diet and oral challenge may be considered. As the gold standard for identifying food sensitivity, this test involves completely avoiding certain foods, then reincorporating each eliminated food – one by one – into the diet and watching for a reaction.
The Importance of Accurate Food Sensitivity Testing
Accurate testing for food sensitivities and allergies is vital for several reasons. It can help you understand why certain foods are causing symptoms and how to avoid them. It can also help manage your symptoms and protect you from more serious reactions. Moreover, understanding your unique sensitivities and allergies allows for the creation of personalized diet plans that can alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being. Food sensitivity and allergies don’t have to control your life. With the right testing and guidance, you can take charge of your health and enjoy a more comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle.
Stay Informed With Optimum Direct Care
At Optimum Direct Care, we are committed to providing personalized care that meets your unique needs. Our partnership with Vibrant America ensures you receive state-of-the-art testing for food sensitivities and allergies. With accurate results and specialized guidance, we can help you identify the triggers that are causing your symptoms and provide practical ways to manage them. Contact us today to learn more and get started on a journey to better health.