Food intolerance. Those two words paired together evoke a wide spectrum of emotions. Food intolerance can elicit fear, anger, depression, worry, guilt, disbelief, and everything in between. And why wouldn’t they? After all, removing foods from one's diet is life altering.
Food intolerance is widely misunderstood (which is no shock) seeing how confusing they can be. (Equally confusing is how to go about finding out which foods are causing you trouble, but I will get into that later on in this post). If you were to do an internet search asking “what causes food intolerance” you would likely see the following explanation: Food intolerance occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to substances in food you have eaten, triggering symptoms as severe as an allergic reaction or as mild as a sniffle.
This is not entirely untrue. Your immune system definitely has a reaction to a food or foods in question. However, there is more to it than that.
Food intolerance is a neurological error.
Yes, you read that right. Your brain is having a misfire. As such, the body reacts inappropriately to a completely harmless food. This is not the explanation patients typically hear about food intolerance and allergies. Physiological reasons are usually blamed and while it is true that there are physiological reasons which exacerbate food intolerances and food allergies (like poor gut health or a weakened system due to toxic mold exposure), they alone are not to blame. Your brain is. How you ask? Well it all comes down to the nervous system.
Your brain runs your nervous system. Your nervous system is basically in charge of the ensuring your body is working right. This means that the immune system reports to the nervous system which is run by your brain. (Don’t believe me or want waaaay more information than I have room for in this post? Check out BrainFacts.) When your brain misfires and sends the signal that a certain food is the enemy, it places a great stress upon your nervous system and will continue to do so every time you consume that food. This stress manifests as a wide variety of things, namely inflammation.
Inflammation is a destructive beast. It leads to all kinds of bodily issues including allergies and sensitivities, but more importantly it can lead to chronic health issues and disease.
When people think of food intolerances they usually picture things like hives, eczema or other skin conditions, dark circles under the eyes, digestive upset, etc… What they don’t picture is hypothyroidism, depression, ulcerative colitis, schizophrenia, arthritis, and diabetes. Believe it or not, food intolerance can be the true cause of all of the conditions and hundreds more. (Please note that they may not be the only cause. The body is complex and several things can work together to create the perfect storm for a disease to take root).
Put that all together and the short version is: Food intolerance is often the root of illness and disease. Remove the offending food from your diet permanently and your body can begin to heal.
So how do you successfully go about finding out what foods are causing you harm? Key word here – successfully.
You take the RIGHT kind of food intolerance test.
Health practitioners of all kinds have their preferred method of food testing. Some rely on the skin prick test which truly is useless both in my personal experience and through research. When testing for food intolerance and allergies this is by far the most unreliable way to test for them.
Blood tests are the most common way to test for food intolerances. Many of these tests look at both the IgE and the IgG responses to food to determine whether there is a true allergy or “just” an intolerance. Both an allergy and an intolerance can cause mass destruction within the body. They just do so within a different time frame.
A true food allergy (or an IgE) response will happen almost immediately and can be as severe as death. A food intolerance (or IgG) response can take time to manifest. Since the reaction isn’t immediate, food is often overlooked as the root cause of whatever might be ailing a person. This is why testing for food intolerance is so important. You likely have no idea you have them.
Not all blood tests are created equal. I personally have had 9 different labs perform my food testing. Just like all health practitioners have their preferred method of food testing, they all have their favorite lab and way of going about the test.
The standard food intolerance testing will break down permanent food sensitivities and temporary food sensitivities. There is one huge problem with this. Testing for temporary food sensitivities is unreliable. The results can easily be skewed based on what you have and have not been eating a lot of in the time close to when you were tested. So if you went wild and ate a couple of pounds of bananas the week prior to testing, the results could very well show you have a temporary intolerance when in fact you just had gobs of banana proteins in your system at the time of the test and they were interpreted as an intolerance. In addition, many practitioners will ask you to specifically eat a lot of a food you might have been avoiding previously to determine if you are intolerant. This will lead to the same skewed result. If you happen to already suspect that the food causes problems for you then you are stuck dealing with the symptoms it causes while you are gut loading with that food.
So how do you go about finding a reliable blood test for permanent food intolerance? Easy. You order a kit from Pinnertest.
I know, I know. You are shaking your head thinking that there is no way a food intolerance test that you can order yourself and do in the comfort of your own home with just a little finger prick will be accurate and reliable. It’s true. Pinnertest has not only changed the food intolerance testing game but they have taken things to an entirely new level.
Pinnertest employs advanced microarray biotechnology that thoroughly measures IgG antibody levels against the proteins of 200 foods. This progressive technique, the most accurate of its kind, can tell the difference between temporary and permanent food intolerances to identify the exact foods that your system is sensitive towards. In adults, these permanent food intolerances will not change over time. Therefore, you can save a lot of valuable time and money and just get tested once…or one last time if you played the food intolerance testing game for a while.
Please understand that I am not at all downplaying the role a temporary intolerance might have on your well-being. There are certainly bonafide temporary food intolerances. Those can be measured in other ways (like pulse testing or muscle testing).
Back to Pinnertest. With just a few drops of blood dispensed by a basic finger prick, you can be on your way to piecing together some pieces of your health puzzle all from the comfort of your home.
Stop the presses! I have even more news! Pinnertest offers a kit specifically designed for children ages 8 and up. Yes moms and dads you read that right! No more taking your terrified child in for a blood draw in a sterile, unsympathetic environment. No more tears and fear. The fingerprick is barely noticeable. I personally am excited about having this option because my daughter does NOT do well with getting blood drawn. It literally becomes an international incident.
One important thing to note about the Pinnertest Junior testing. It will need to be repeated every few years as children’s food allergies are less permanent than adults. While many will stay, some will disappear. So please know that while this is still the best option on the market, it does have it’s limitations with children. It also should not be used on children under 8.
To learn more about Pinnertest, please check out their extensive website. If you are interested in ordering a kit, please use coupon code RASTAMAMA and you will get $60 off the kit. That is a screaming deal.
Also, please don’t be fooled by other at-home food intolerance testing options. I have vetted them thoroughly and let’s just say that while some may be cheaper, I was not impressed with their technology or the results.
Stay tuned for another post in which I share my results as well as my daughter’s results. Good stuff people. Good stuff!
Remember to use Coupon Code RASTAMAMA for $60 off your test kit!
*Disclosure – Pinnertest sent me two free kits to try so that I could share my experience with my readers. However, I reached out to them as I was going to order the kits anyway and simply had some questions about their testing process and what made it more accurate than others.*