I want to get into food allergy testing. So a lot of you guys have heard of tests like the ALCAT or these IgG tests, like Everlywell has one right now, these food allergy testing kits and how inaccurate they are. I talk about it briefly in my latest book, Body Belief, which this is my copy and you can tell it’s a pretty worn down copy. On page 152. So basically on page 147, I talk about functional medicine and how it can help you and then I talk about how to find the right practitioner for you. And I talk about how to avoid practitioners and I’m just going to read this part because I think it’s really important.
“Avoid working with practitioners that do any of the following: Tell you that diet doesn’t matter. Recommend you buy a dozen supplements before leaving their office. Don’t discuss the benefits of bone broth and healing a leaky gut. Want to put you on a juice cleanse. Don’t listen to you and make you feel powerless.” So those are the practitioners you don’t want to work with.
And then I give you some tests that I think are really useful and can tell us a lot about your health, like a comprehensive blood test, a comprehensive stool test, a urine organic acids test, a CBO test, hormone testing, genetic testing, like the 23 and Me. And then I mention on page 152 of Body Belief, I’m going to read to you directly from there. The test you do not need to do, and which are a waste of your money, are IgG blood tests for food sensitivities, IgE food allergy blood tests, food intolerance testing, heavy metal testing, and leaky gut testing. Because you’re already treating your leaky gut if you’re reading this book. If your doctor pushes you to do these tests, I suggest you find another doctor.
So, let’s get into it. A lot of people want to do the food allergy test because they don’t want to just hardcore change their diet and remove things unless they know that they’re having a response to them. So let’s first define the difference between food allergies and food intolerances. Food allergies are serious and there is allergy testing that is useful for food allergies, but food allergies, real deal food allergies, put you into anaphylaxis and will kill you. It’s a severe allergic reaction. You can’t breathe. It’s a life threatening situation. IgE blood tests and skin tests have proven scientific validity in this scenario. That is not what I am talking to you about today.
I am talking to you about food intolerances. Things like, do I have a gluten intolerance? Do I have a dairy intolerance? Do I have a nightshade intolerance? And food intolerances are different. They’re milder, but they have a cumulative effect and they can provoke the immune system, they can increase inflammation in the body. I have lots of notes. If you see me reading it’s because I did my homework for you guys today. And they can exacerbate symptoms.
So a lot of us have these intolerances and basically over time we become more and more intolerant to certain foods and we become more and more reactive. For me after I gave birth to my son, all of a sudden almonds were a big reaction for me. I tend to have eczema. That’s what I call my red flag symptom, which I talk about red flag symptoms a lot in Body Belief, in my latest book. And I’ll get to that part in a second.
But super duper, and I’m going to share with you guys too, at the end of this call, something that will really help you figure out your red flag symptom list. But super duper important for me was realizing certain foods and that I have an intolerance. So, I can eat almonds twice a week. If I eat more than that, guess what? My eczema comes back. That took me a long time to figure that out.
And the best way to do that, which I’m of course going to tell you all about is, is basically an elimination diet. But a lot of people want to do these food allergy testing and there are sites out there and there’s doctors out there that really push these food sensitivity tests, like, let’s see, the Eliza, the ALCAT, there’s the IgG, the IgE test. And then there’s a couple other names that I want to just cover, the MRT and the LRA.
So the ALCAP stands for Antigen Leukocyte Cellular Antibody Test. MRT is the Mediator Release Test and the LRA is the Lymphocyte Response Essay. These are all called cytotoxic testing. What happens is they take a drop of your blood and they put it on a plate that’s coated with a liquid or dried food extract. And after about 10 minutes, they examine that drop of blood to see any changes in structure or anything at all in the white blood cell. In the size, the structure, and if it disintegrates, things like that, and then they consider that a positive reaction. That you actually have a reaction to this food. So basically they take the droplet of blood. They put it on a slide that has that food on there, and then they see the reaction. That might make sense that that means a lot. However, there are numerous problems with these types of tests.
So, I’m getting into firstly cytotoxic testing tests, and then I’m going to talk about the IgG and IgE tests and why those are problematic as well. First of all, which is very interesting, these tests, the Eliza, the MRT, the LRA, the ALCAT, have actually never been scientifically proven. In fact, like the ALCAT was banned until the 1980s when they revamped the test and brought it back on the market and some doctors are still using it. But there’s actually no scientific proof that this test has never … It’s never been shown to be clinically relevant. If a food chemical change, this is from Chris Crestor’s website, “If a food chemical changes the size of a white blood cell, we have to show that it actually related to food intolerance to be valid. And as far as we know, that’s never been demonstrated.”
Another issue with these tests is that there are many non food ingredients that are typically used in the cytotoxic testing. So, what else is on that plate? What else could the white blood cells be reacting to? And those could be false positives and false negatives. There’s zero peer reviewed literature on these testing. So that’s another thing, it’s not scientifically based. These tests are not scientifically based, do not waste your money on them. If you have, I apologize and I want you to forgive the doctor who tested them because maybe they did really believe that this test was accurate, but it is inaccurate and you should not be avoiding these foods just on that test alone.
The third and most important thing about these cytotoxic tests is that they’re inconsistent and not reproducible, that you could send the same test and the same results to three different labs and get three different test results. Okay? That’s scary.
Then there’s these IgG and these IgA … Sorry, the IgE is for the actual allergy. IgG and IgA are for the intolerances. This testing is where you’re going to test for antibodies and tissue antigens against certain foods. And the methodology makes sense because basically if you have the food and then you have an elevated IgG antibody against the food, you would think, maybe, that is telling me, “Okay, I have this reaction.” But basically you’re going to have elevated IgGs to pretty much any food that you eat on a regular basis. And that’s not to say you have an allergic reaction to it or that you’re intolerant to it.
So, there’s things to think about like, what specimen are they testing? So, they do either serum, which is your blood, they’ll do saliva or some other fluid. Another thing is antigen purity. By that we mean several foods contain different enzymes that can non specifically specifically react. So basically there’s a lot of potential flaws. There’s a lot of false positives and false negatives in these tests.
Another factor is the lab. And so those tests that you get to do at home, that is really concerning because there’s so much room for error when you are pricking your own finger at home and then sending that stuff in and it’s sitting in the mail for however long and there’s a lot of room for error. So, the lab is super duper important and then also are they testing for raw or cooked antigens because we react differently.
I don’t do great with a raw tomatoes. I do fine with cooked tomatoes. There’s a lot of people I see like that. So, these tests are maybe provoking immune response, but to get an accurate assessment of intolerance, it has to be representative of the type of food you’re actually eating. So, to go back over these things: Food allergy tests, food intolerance tests, are notoriously inaccurate. Again, you can send the same test to three different labs to read the results and you’re going to get varying, significantly varying, recommendations and information based on those lab results. The other thing to really keep in mind is people who are typically doing these tests have leaky gut, which leaky gut is basically when the lining of your gut becomes permeable, it’s not supposed to be, and food and particles and toxins leak out back into your bloodstream and that causes an immune reaction.
People with leaky gut, which is a very large portion of our society, are going to show these reactions much more than someone without leaky gut. So, people with digestive problems typically have leaky gut. Therefore, whatever food you eat on a regular basis is going to be leaking through your gut and show up as a positive on that test and then the first thing people tend to do with these tests, and I’ve seen this, I work with people and they’re like, “No, I can’t have eggs because it came back positive on that test.”
So they get very strict about their diet and they become … What’s the word? There’s a term for it. But when you become super restrictive with certain foods and it’s like a disease manifestation, it becomes a very unhealthy experience.
“I found one time when I went on the autoimmune paleo protocol, most of my allergies greatly decrease, especially seasonally. I think there’s a huge link between food and allergies and our immune system.”
100%. That’s exactly what I’m going to head to next. So, do I think food intolerance are present? Absolutely. I just don’t think allergy testing is the way to go about figuring them out. The allergy tests are extremely inaccurate. We cannot reproduce the results, different labs get different answers. So, it’s a very inaccurate way to go about it. The only true way and believe me I was a research scientist before I became an acupuncturist and before I became an author, and so I do my research greatly. When I did my research for body belief, which is all about healing autoimmune conditions and healing leaky gut, I talked to the best doctors, the best of the best, the ones I love, I respect, I admire, and I said, “Is there any food allergy testing that you’d recommend up there?”
The answer across the board is no. The answer across the board to figuring out what food intolerances you have is to do an elimination diet, a strict elimination diet, which I have completely mapped out for you in body belief. Basically this is an autoimmune paleo diet and I have seen radical changes in my clients when they follow this diet, whether women are trying to conceive and they have autoimmune conditions, or don’t know they have an autoimmune condition but they’re not getting pregnant, they have unexplained fertility challenges. They have things like endometriosis or polycystic ovaries, or they have Hashimoto’s, which is a really common autoimmune condition that many, many, many women have. Crohn’s, colitis. There’s so many autoimmune conditions that are impacting, they impact women 75% more than men.
And these food allergy tests are not going to help us figure out how to treat that illness. What’s going to help you figure out, even seasonal allergies, or habitual miscarriages, or just recurring brain fog, or inability to lose weight, is an elimination diet. That’s what you need to be doing.
“What do you think of nutritional response testing in regards to …” I’m not sure what instructional response testing is. I do think anything that’s testing blood or saliva is going to be inaccurate and not reproducible. I do think Cyrex Labs, if you really, really, really wanted to do a food test, Cyrex has a couple arrays. I think they’re array three and they’re array 10, which some people, Chris Kresser included, who I really respect and admire will use, but only if the patient pushes it. Their first go to across the board is an elimination diet.
And I know someone asked about kinesiology and then this nutritional response testing, both of which I agree. The way we get scientific basis is, is it reproducible? Can you reproduce that again and again in your clinic with the same exact results? Can three different clinicians reproduce that with the same exact results? That’s what gives us the validity. And so when it comes to these intolerance testing, there’s lots of data out for here too. I wanted to read this to you.
The Canadian society of allergy and clinical immunology concluded there was no research support using these tests to diagnose or predict adverse reactions to food. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology found the same thing, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, again found the same thing.
Yeah. So muscle testing again, I think it works for some people. And I think it’s very curious and I don’t know enough about it to really state its validity. I would just say, is it reproducible? And to me, still the gold standard needs to be an elimination diet. That’s where I start with everyone.
A more recent review on allergy management and diagnosis, food specific immunoglobulin, IgG testing, is being increasingly used to identify food sensitivities. It’s making the presence of exposure and tolerance to food. However, they’re not accurate and they give a lot of false positives. This was done on children. One review of 120 kids found that 80 to 100% of all foods that IgE test flagged could safely be reintroduced into their diets. Another study looked at over 700 oral food challenges where a person eats a small amount and found that only 19% of people reacted.
It’s important for people to appreciate that an IgE test is synonymous with a diagnosis. So IgE, absolutely for allergies. But IgG, IGA, and any of these cytotoxic testing, you’re not able to reproduce the results and they just don’t hold the validity that we would expect them to hold.
So again, the number one thing, I think, and I know the muscle testing just came up in a question … “I’m 46 and trying to conceive.” The one thing I see in women who are older and trying to conceive is you’ve got to reduce inflammation and that definitely means reducing food intolerances. Following this diet is one of the best things a woman, I think over really the age of 43, and she’s been trying, and she’s tried everything. Follow this elimination diet. Follow the whole protocol in here, because there’s a mindset approach in here as well, can radically shift and improve your fertility, lower inflammation in your body, make your body more susceptible to pregnancy.
Pregnancy is also an immune response. And so sometimes what’s happening is the body is having an overreaction to the pregnancy and not allowing it to happen. And so what you need to do is regulate your immune system, lower inflammation in your body, and that will allow … And then also when you remove foods that you are intolerant to, that you cannot properly digest and absorb, you get more bang for your buck from the foods that you eat, because your body can actually now take them in, digest them, and absorb them.
And then your body gets all the nutrients it needs because many of us who are eating foods that we can’t digest. And so if you have symptoms like skin rashes, the little patchy, prickly things over here, you get eczema, psoriasis, you have brain fog, you have headaches on a regular basis. You get seasonal allergies. I have a red flag symptom checklist that I’m going to share with you guys. And I want you to check this out. So you can go over. You go to Aimeeraupp.com/redflags. Download that symptom checklist. If you check off more than, I’d say five on that list, even three, chances are you have some food intolerances and the best approach is an elimination diet like I have outlined in body belief.
So, those food intolerance tests, I just got to say it one last time, are bullshit. I would not use them. I would do an elimination diet. But if you are walking around with again, seasonal allergies, brain fog, fatigue, inability to lose weight, you’re having fertility challenges. You have an autoimmune condition that you know of and you’re still suffering. What else? Muscle aches, headaches, skin issues, sinus issues. Did I say that already?
Chances are you have intolerances to foods that you’re eating on a regular basis. Getting the food intolerance testing is not going to be the way to go. I do not recommend it whatsoever. And again, I talked with many legitimate, well-researched doctors and they all say the same thing. The elimination diet is the way to go. The autoimmune paleo approach is what I typically recommend.
In Body Belief, it is an autoimmune paleo elimination diet, with some Chinese medicine tweaks, and then of course my favorite part about this book is not just the diet, but the mindset aspect to making our body less hostile and less likely to attack because our thoughts and our mindset have a lot to do with that. But we’re not really talking about that today. But if you want to find out if you have any red flags that could indicate food intolerances and or potential auto-immunity brewing in your body, head over to AimeeRaupp.com/redflags. Download that checklist. See how many you come back with. Again, if you have five or more, I highly, highly, highly recommend doing the elimination diet I have outlined in Body Belief. That will make such a huge difference in your health across the board. And for those of you that are watching here and you’re trying to conceive, because that’s how you found me because I’m known in many parts as a fertility expert, I cannot say enough about an elimination diet and how it will positively impact your fertility.
I would start first with an elimination diet and then see how your health transforms. I walk you through 12 weeks of an elimination diet in here. And we do a purify phase, which is a completely clean diet for 11 days, where you’re just eating the basics, the bare minimums for 11 days. You feel amazing and you are eating. So, you are feeling nourished and energetic and your body is really balancing out. And then you slowly reintroduce foods. And that’s how you learn your reaction.
So, I walk you through that 12 weeks of that in Body Belief. Plus there’s the mindset stuff, which I think we could all benefit from. But that is the way to do it. And I know it’s hard and I know we’d just like the quick answer. We would just like the blood test to tell you whether or not you can’t ever eat gluten or almonds again. But the truth is with intolerances, you could still have a little bit of those foods. Good quality of course. If you’re having gluten, I only recommend that it’d be fermented and or sprouted and it has to be organic, non GMO. You can have it in moderation and you probably shouldn’t have a reaction, especially after you go through an elimination diet where you heal your leaky gut, then you can have these foods again and you won’t have such a reaction.
So, to understand that sometimes these food intolerance testing, then people just eliminate them for the rest of their lives. And they say, “Oh, I could never eat bananas. I just can’t ever eat them again.” And that’s not true if you work on healing your gut, which has been the premise of Chinese medicine for thousands of years, it’s not just this trendy new bone broth craze that we’re living in right now, Chinese medicine has been talking about digestion as the cornerstone of health for thousands of years.
And again, for anyone on the trying to conceive journey, I think it’s a really important place to go to if you haven’t already. Especially if you’re trying the standard fertility diet, which is like, “Okay, I’m not doing gluten and dairy and I’m cutting back on my sugar. Now what? Still not getting pregnant.”
Well, guess what? You probably need to do a much stricter diet. And that’s what I tend to move my girls into is the diet in the Body Belief program. And I cannot tell you how impactful and transformative it has been for women with long standing fertility challenges. It has completely changed the game. Women get pregnant naturally after 20 failed fertility treatments. That’s just one case. So, to think about these approaches, that elimination diet is hands down the most important way for you to figure out exactly what your body loves to be nourished with and what your body does not love to be nourished-
Over to Aimeeraupp.com/redflags, download that list, and even for anybody trying to conceive or anybody who feels generally really healthy, I still recommend that you check out that list because you might be having these little lingering symptoms hanging around that don’t need to be there and are completely a result of foods.
Let’s see, any other questions on here? “Still reading Yes, You Can Get Pregnant.” Good for you. That’s my second book. That’s my fertility book. Here you go, guys. Yes, You Can Get Pregnant. So anyone have any questions or comments on this topic? Let’s see. “What do you think of kinesiology?” Okay. I already answered that. “Ditto. Raw tomatoes give me acid reflux but cooked are fine.”
“I found once I went to autoimmune paleo, most of my allergies greatly decreased.” I agree. Let’s see.
“I have rosacea dermatitis allergies.” So you are the perfect case for this, Nadia. Is it Nadia? Nada Alice. You need to get this book and follow the protocol in it. You are the perfect case for this. You need to get it. I have a group of women in my elite fertility coaching program, that we are week six of this elimination diet. Two of them have significant rosacea and dermatitis. Both are cleared. Cleared. Skin is amazing and they’ll both be pregnant soon.
Let’s see who else is on here. “Just bought the book. Very excited. If you don’t eat meat, but eat fish, will this elimination diet work?” Yes. I’d still love for you to do the bone broth, but you can get by with just eating fish absolutely. I’d still recommend the broth.
“I’ve been doing autoimmune paleo for quite some time.” Good for you. “Can you have food intolerances and not have any symptoms?” Maybe. It depends on what symptoms. I would recommend download the red flag symptom list and see, because I have a lot of what you would think are not symptoms on there that actually are symptoms. But yes, you could have food intolerances and not have any symptoms. But if you’re trying to, say, get pregnant and it’s not happening. That’s a symptom. Fertility challenges is a symptom, whether or not your doctor tells you that. But it is. It’s a symptom. And so if you’ve tried everything and nothing is working, then doing an elimination diet is absolutely important.
“Has made a big difference, but still getting strictures from EE.” Yeah, that makes sense, Kate. I think it can take some time in the more severe cases. I’ve seen cases where you have to stay in that elimination phase for six months to a year, and then the symptoms will start to go away. But keep playing around. Cooked versus raw foods, how much of one thing are you eating? Supplements, look at your supplements. Sometimes supplements can be triggering. What’s the list I just mentioned? So, that’s my red flag symptom list. Go to Aimeeraupp.com/redflags. Download it now.
“Does diet differ from Yes and Body Belief?” Yes and Body Belief are different. Yes. So this is a good starting point. If this isn’t working, this is where you have to go. Does that make sense? Or if you have an autoimmune condition like endometriosis or Hashimoto’s, this is where you should go.
“Fine with broth.” Good. Yay. So, broth and fish. You can totally rock it. Oh, you guys are great. Okay. So that’s all. That’s all I got for you. If you guys have questions, head over to Aimeeraupp.com. You can find all the ways you could work with me there. Check out my books there. I have an awesome fertility quiz there. I have a fertility starter kit there for you that’s free. So many awesome free tools for you guys and head over to aimeeraupp.com/redflags and download that symptom list and see how many you have. And then I really encourage you to do an elimination diet and let it change your life. Love you guys.