What's the Difference Between Food Allergies and Food Intolerances?
How do I know if I am allergic or intolerant?
Food sensitivities and food intolerances differ from food allergies in that they provoke a different antibody response from your immune system. Allergies to food may cause an almost immediate reaction, such as hives, swelling or anaphylactic shock, which renders them relatively easy to identify. If however you eat a food to which you are intolerant or sensitive, the symptoms are often less obvious and can take several hours, days or even weeks to occur. Additionally, food intolerances can lead to or contribute to any number of health complaints. If you have one food sensitivity, the chances are you have more than one. It can thus be extremely difficult to pinpoint which foods are causing your symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Food Intolerances?
If you have food intolerances, it is likely that your immune system is creating antibodies in response to some of the foods you eat. This antibody immune reactivity may cause gut inflammation, leaky gut, digestive distress, dysbiotic gut bacteria and/or SIBO, which can lead to a state of inflammation throughout your body. You then become vulnerable to any combination of symptoms ranging from IBS, IBD, stomach pain, gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, brain fog, bladder pain, inflammation, skin problems, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, autoimmune disorders or almost any other health complaint.
Sadly, conventional medics often disregard such immune reactivity to food as imaginary or tell you it's Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Yet to those who have food intolerances, the symptoms are very real.
Food Intolerance Testing
Regrettably, many private lab tests for food intolerances are notoriously unreliable - false negatives and false positives are widespread. Such testing has thus acquired a bad reputation, as the medics understandably often do not take these tests seriously. Unfortunately, they are effectively throwing the baby out with the bathwater! Cyrex has moved the goalposts and taken lab testing for food sensitivities / intolerances into a whole new realm.
Cyrex Food Sensitivity Tests
Cyrex Laboratories offer what is arguably the most advanced food intolerance tests available worldwide. They run 3 different panels covering food sensitivities, all of which are mutually exclusive. Their patented Array 3X Wheat & Gluten Test ncludes multiple relevant markers that are never included in other coeliac tests or standard labs; advanced testing techniques provide optimal likelihood of detecting sensitivity to this ubiquitious substance. It is highly recommended that you include this panel, as without it any reactivity to gluten/wheat is often missed. Cyrex Array 4 covers other very common food intolerances, such as various grains, potato and several dairy proteins that are found to be almost as widespread as wheat/gluten reactivity. Array 4 importantly also includes foods that are known to cross-react with gluten. Lastly Array 10 tests for sensitivities or intolerances to a further 180 different food antigens (or 90 if preferred), including multiple food forms (cooked, processed etc).
In addition, Cyrex Array 2 Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen (Leaky Gut test) provides valuable information that helps direct interventions to deal with underlying causes and mechanisms that influence each individual's reactions to food. Array 2 is included in the Gut Food Combo below. It is highly recommended that this test is run alongside any food intolerance testing.
Cyrex Gut Food Combo:
This combination of tests is an ideal starting point for many. The Cyrex Gut-Food Combo includes Array 2, Array 3X and Array 4, thus screening for the most common food sensitivites, together with mechanisms of intestinal barrier breakdown, also known as "leaky gut". Understanding the mechanisms involved in your gut "leakiness" can prove to be a gamechanger in addressing the problem. Cyrex Array 10 is not included in this triad, but can easily be added later to the original blood sample if required.
This Gut-Food Combo triad of tests is currently available with £70 discount* and can be ordered here.
Cyrex Premier Food Sensitivity Triad:
The Cyrex Premier Food Sensitivity Triad includes the group of 3 food intolerance panels, although it is limited to 90 food antigens on Array 10 (rather than 180 as per the Comprehensive Triad below). Please refer to Cyrex Array 10 for list of specific food antigens included. Cyrex Array 2 is not included in this triad but can be added at checkout if you so choose.
This Premier triad of tests is currently available with £90 discount* and can be ordered here.
Cyrex Comprehensive Food Sensitivity Triad
The most comprehensive and reliable method to test for food sensitivities is through running the 3 Cyrex Food Sensitivity panels together - Each panel measures total IgG and IgA antibodies that effectively covers all the bases. This group does not include Cyrex Array 2, which can be added at checkout if you so choose. The Comprensive Triad comprises the following 3 individual food sensitivity panels:
This Comprehensive triad of tests is currently available with £130 discount* and can be ordered here.
If you wish to order any Cyrex tests you may do so here. Cyrex testing services are available to all clients and patients throughout the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe and beyond. Test results will first be sent out by email and should then be discussed in consultation with a Cyrex-experienced clinician. Consultations are not included in the Cyrex test fees. You can complete this form to request a consultation, or email your practitioner directly.
Other Tests for Food Intolerances and Food Allergies
Various other options are also available, including food allergy testing (IgE antibodies) as well as other IgG food panels. Please email us or complete the contact form if you'd like more information on these or any other laboratory tests. If you would value advice as to which tests to select according to your health issues, please consider scheduling a consultation with one of our functional medicine practitioners.
*Combination Cyrex test discounts valid at January 2022