I’ve known since I was very young that I am lactose intolerant, yes it was that obvious. But even when cutting out dairy, I’ve struggled with inflammation and skin issues ever since I can remember! Perhaps that’s why I’m obsessed with helping others with “all things beauty”, I have been there.
I definitely have food sensitivities, but pin-pointing them has been difficult. I have done an actual gene analysis and I’ve tried eliminating the usual culprits, and dabbled with a vegetarian, and low inflammation diet with some success. I have been wanting to buy a food sensitivity test form Everlywell ever since I saw it on an episode of Shark Tank. I Just wanted a bit more validation, so I finally did it! I know it took me this long…I pricked my finger and sent in my samples with my EverlyWell Food Sensitivity Kit and thought I’d share an honest review with all of you! Oh, and I also thought I’d answer some of the questions that I’ve been getting from all of you.
What’s the difference between food allergies, food sensitivity & food intolerance?
There are three different terms commonly used for adverse reactions to food.
The term food allergy is a potentially life-threatening food reaction that involve immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies of your immune system. These are “true” food allergies.
Food sensitivities and food intolerances generally are not life-threatening but may make you feel bad. And according to PubMed Central, it’s estimated that up to 20% of the world’s population may have a food intolerance.
Let’s dive into this a bit deeper.
When you eat a food you’re allergic to, your immune system responds by activating the IgE antibodies in your blood. Those antibody-food interactions result in the production of a chemical called histamine. Histamine is a type of substance your immune system makes. When immune cells release histamine in your body, you might experience any number of allergy symptoms. (That’s why many over-the-counter allergy medications are known as “antihistamines” – they counteract the allergic effects of histamine.) With food allergies, symptoms usually appear almost as soon as you’ve eaten the trigger food.
An example of a food allergy is an allergy to tree nuts, one of the most common causes of food-related allergic reactions in the world. (Hazelnuts, walnuts, and macadamia nuts are all examples of tree nuts.)
If you’re allergic to a certain food, you can experience a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction whenever you eat that food. That’s because anaphylaxis can occur within minutes of consuming food allergens. Anaphylaxis can result in death because of a dramatic drop in blood pressure – or because of swelling around the person’s airways, which cuts off the body’s supply of air.
A food intolerance can occur if, for example, you don’t have enough of the right enzymes your body needs to break down a particular food. (Enzymes are special proteins in the body that dramatically speed up chemical reactions.)
An example of a food intolerance is lactose intolerance. Lactose is a type of sugar commonly found in cow’s milk. If you’re lactose intolerant, your body doesn’t produce enough lactase – the enzyme that breaks down lactose. So it’s hard for your body to digest lactose effectively, resulting in unpleasant symptoms when you drink a glass of milk or eat dairy products. Food intolerance symptoms commonly include nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.
Unlike food allergies, food intolerances don’t involve an immune system response – they all take place inside the gut before digestion occurs.
A food sensitivity may result from a type of immune system response that’s very different than a food allergy. While not entirely understood, research has shown that people may identify symptom-causing foods using the results of IgG testing along with an elimination diet. IgG antibody reactions against those foods may be normal in some people, but in others it may cause symptoms because of the inflammation the immune reaction produces from those interactions. Food sensitivity symptoms reported by our customers include acne, brain fog, dry and itchy skin – and more.
What’s really interesting about food sensitivities is that symptoms usually don’t appear as soon as you eat the problem food. Instead, you might have symptoms hours or days after eating that food – which can make it hard to connect specific foods to the symptoms you’re experiencing.
What are the symptoms of a food sensitivity?
If you have a sensitivity to a particular food, you might experience one or more adverse reactions several hours or days after eating that food.
- Brain fog
- Dry and itchy skin
- Bloated stomach after eating
- Joint pain
- Depression and mood swings
- Runny nose
What is a food sensitivity test?
IgG antibody reactivity is based on exposure to the food or foods; therefore, individuals who have since eliminated “problematic” foods from their diet may see a lower reactivity than expected.
Your food sensitivity results will tell you how reactive your IgG antibodies are to 96 common foods.
Each food will be rated on a Class scale of 0-3: Class 0 (normal reactivity) to Class 3 (high reactivity). This is a great place to start if you want to dig into your body’s relationship with food.
You will also get:
- Tailored suggestions about what to do next
- Help prioritizing your temporary elimination diet
- Personalized information and education
What will you get with your test?
The kit literally comes with everything that you need! It includes a finger prick tool called a lancet, alcohol wipes, a small card to collect blood on, and a biohazard bag for returning the sample. After washing your hands, and disinfecting your ring finger, hold your finger over the card and drop blood into small circles without touching the paper after using the lancet. And trust me, the finger prick is easy peasy. It’s so quick that you don’t have time to process the puncture (yes, I freaked out about this for days…). It’s super easy and to make it even simpler, there’s a step-by-step video. Once it’s dry, you package it up in a bio-hazard bag, put it back in the original box, place in the provided package with the pre-paid label and drop in the mail! That’s it!
I even did a LIVE unboxing video for all of my beauties. Check it out!
Within a few days, I received an email that my results were ready! I have to say that I love the dashboard. I find it easy to read and everything is easy to understand. You can group by food or reactivity. You can see your exact level and read about each food and things it can be hidden in. You can even share results with someone if you’d like.
I have sensitivities to:
- Cow’s milk
- Egg whites
Milk and gluten were no surprise to me, but egg whites & garlic? Eggs have been a huge source of protein to me as a vegetarian for YEARS. And I just happen to LOVE garlic and ginger. But maybe that’s why I have always struggled?
So I guess my next steps will be to eliminate the 9 foods above and after about six weeks, I can gradually add them in one by one to see if I notice anything. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing is in life, right?
Are these tests really accurate?
If you do a google search, you will see that some think the evidence is lacking to support the use of these tests in diagnosing adverse reactions to foods. Look, I did my research and knew this prior to making my decision to take the test.
Because IgG blood tests have not been proven to identify food sensitivities or allergies, there is a lack of evidence to support making changes based on their findings. The restrictions suggested by IgG test results may lead you to unnecessarily avoid healthy foods. Or, they may prompt individuals with food allergies to include foods that could be harmful to them. So don’t do that…
I however have had such great results with “other alternative” things that some can argue don’t have enough evidence that they work either. So I wanted to see for myself!
If you are like me and are curious as to what your results are, and want to try to eliminate foods to see if it helps, great, then this test would be great for you!
If you think that certain foods are causing health problems, it’s always suggested to:
- Make an appointment with your health care provider and explain your symptoms.
- Find out from your provider if you need a referral to an allergist for further testing.
- Ask your provider how you can learn more about food allergies and food intolerances.
I also want to state that I am NOT a medical professional and everything I wrote about is what I found in my own research and experienced based on my life experiences and is my opinion.
If you are curious, and are looking to order any of their tests here’s a coupon code for 15% off! https://bit.ly/2VlglCV