A Complete Guide to Food Allergy Tests & Intolerance Tests: Your Questions Answered
Have you ever had a question about what food allergy and intolerance tests are and what they find out about your health? Or, have you ever eaten something and felt off afterwards, and wanted to know whether you have an allergy or intolerance to that food? This article is a comprehensive guide to the food allergy and intolerance tests that you can purchase online from UK Meds. We will provide you with a clear understanding of these tests and the conditions that they discover, as well as signs of allergies or intolerances that you can look out for.
What is a food intolerance?
According to BBC Good Food (2023), a food intolerance is an adverse reaction to certain foods, impacting approximately 15-20% of the population. This condition primarily affects the digestive system, and the symptoms' type and severity are directly influenced by the quantity of food consumed. Typically, these symptoms manifest a few hours after eating. It is important to note that a food intolerance is different to a food allergy.It should also be stated that food intolerances are more common than allergies, and can vary widely from person to person. Typically, a food intolerance occurs when the digestive system struggles to process certain foods, leading to discomfort or other adverse reactions.
What is a food allergy?
A food allergy is an adverse immune system response to a particular food. When someone with a food allergy consumes the allergen, the immune system reacts by releasing chemicals, triggering symptoms that can range from mild to severe. According to BBC Good Food (2023), the reaction occurs swiftly, often within 10-20 minutes, though it can extend to up to 2 hours. For individuals with an immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated food allergy, even tiny amounts of the triggering food can lead to a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. Unlike intolerances, an allergic reaction involves the immune system's rapid responses.
What are the signs of a food intolerance?
According to information provided by the NHS (2022), the signs of food intolerance cover a range of different symptoms. Some of the most common signs of food intolerance include:
It should be noted that the signs of intolerance can vary from person to person and that symptoms can manifest in different ways. Some people may experience other signs including headaches, fatigue, nausea, constipation, joint pain and rashes.
What are the signs of a food allergy?
As per information from the NHS (2023), the signs of a food allergy can manifest in various parts of the body simultaneously. Common symptoms include:
Itchy skin or hives
Swelling of the lips, face and eyes
Respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing or breathlessness
In some cases, other symptoms may present themselves, including:
Nausea or vomiting
It should be noted that these symptoms, or others that you may experience, can occur immediately after you have consumed a food you are allergic to, or they can occur a few days later.
What is a food allergy test used for?
A food allergy test is used to identify specific foods that may trigger allergic reactions in individuals. An example of an effective food allergy test is the yorktest Food & Environmental Allergy Test. This test not only tests for allergies for a wide number of food allergens but also environmental allergens such as pet hair, tree pollens and more. For food specifically, the test will pinpoint allergens to allow people to tailor their diets to avoid allergic reactions. This will not only prevent symptoms of allergic reactions but also potentially severe or life-threatening reactions.
What is a food intolerance test used for?
A food intolerance test is used to identify substances or ingredients in food that an individual may have difficulty digesting. Our recommended food intolerance test is the yorktest Premium Food Intolerance Test and the yorktest Junior Food Intolerance Test which is specially designed for young people. Both of these tests are useful for finding foods that you may possibly be intolerant to so that you can avoid them, thus avoiding any potential symptoms. Both of these tests can be used to find intolerances for over 200 food and drink ingredients.
Is testing for a food allergy dependent on the type of allergic reaction?
Yes, the type of allergic reaction can significantly impact the approach to testing for a food allergy. According to Allergy UK (2021), allergic reactions can be classified into two main categories: immediate or IgE-mediated reactions and delayed or non-IgE-mediated reactions. Immediate reactions, occurring within minutes of exposure, often involve the skin with symptoms like rashes, hives, and swelling. On the other hand, delayed reactions, which manifest hours after exposure, commonly affect the gastrointestinal system, resulting in symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, and flatulence.
If you have an immediate reaction (IgE-mediated reaction) or a delayed reaction (non-IgE-mediated reaction) that results in severe symptoms, you may need to be tested by your doctor to identify the specific allergen as soon as possible. If your symptoms are not severe, a yorktest Food & Environmental Allergy Test is a great way to get to the root of the problem.
What are conventional ways to test for a food allergy or food intolerance?
As per information provided by the Association of UK Dietitians (2021), there are several conventional methods to test for food allergies and intolerances. These include:
Skin Prick Tests: A small amount of diluted allergen is applied to your skin, followed by a gentle prick. If a swollen lump or 'weal' appears, along with a detailed clinical history, it may indicate a food allergy.
Blood Tests: Tests that involve using a blood sample which is analysed to measure IgE antibodies of suspected food in the blood. Results can indicate allergies to specific foods
Food Challenges: Involves oral ingestion of increasing amounts of the suspected food under medical supervision. People are monitored to see if they experience any symptoms. This type of test should only be done under the supervision of a medical professional.
Food Exclusion and Reintroduction: Suspected food(s) are eliminated from diet, and symptoms are observed and recorded. If symptoms improve, the food is reintroduced to assess for symptom recurrence.
Which food allergy tests and food intolerance tests are available at UK Meds?
At UK Meds, we offer a number of food intolerance and allergy tests that you can purchase online. The tests for food allergies and intolerances that we provide are:
yorktest Premium Food Intolerance Test - Tests for food intolerances
yorktest Food Environmental Allergy Test - Tests for food and environmental allergies
yorktest Junior Food Intolerance Test - Tests for food intolerances in young people
yorktest Food Allergy Intolerance Bundle - Bundle of the premium food intolerance test and the food allergy test
You can purchase the above yorktest products online from UK Meds with full support from yorktest and their team. You can also purchase health tests by yorktest for issues such as stress, thyroid gland issues and inflammation.
Scott is an experienced and professional content writer who works exclusively for UK Meds.