Food Allergy Vs. Food Sensitivity – Introducing The ALCAT Test

What is the difference between a food sensitivity and a food allergy?

Food sensitivities cause reactions that are slow to develop. The onset of a food sensitivity is often related to repeated exposure to an irritating food over an extended period of time. The problems that arise from food sensitivities may take hours or days to appear after exposure. While food sensitivities are not life threatening, they often produce chronic and debilitating health problems.

Food allergies are immediate and severe reactions to food. When you have a food allergy, your immune system rallies for a fight and produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). Armed for combat, these antibodies release histamines, which can result in hives or airway constriction and respiratory problems. Food allergies can be life threatening.

What does the ALCAT test do?

The ALCAT test helps to identify food sensitivities. If you develop headaches, digestive upset, runny nose, fatigue, joint pain or loss of concentration, you may suffer from food sensitivities. Food sensitivity or intolerance is sometimes responsible for causing chronic inflammation in the body that contributes to ill health.

The acronym ALCAT stands for Antigen Leukocyte Antibody Test. This blood based test measures adverse reactions not only to foods, but also to supplements, herbs, drugs, cosmetics and environmental substances.

How does the ALCAT test work?

  1. Cell Science Systems has grouped foods, drugs and environmental agents together in panels. You choose the panels that include the foods & substances that you are regularly exposed to.
  1. Then, we will order the blood draw for the test. The technician comes either to your home or my office to collect a sample of your blood.
  1. This sample is sent to a lab in Florida where the test is performed. Each agent is individually introduced to your blood. The lab measures the change in both the size and number of leukocytes in response to each agent and learns which foods and substances are causing you problems.
  1. The test will reveal what you are sensitive to and how severe your sensitivities are.
  1. During your next appointment we will review the results. We will help you to interpret them and create a nutritional strategy.

Learn more about food intolerance testing here.

Contact us at Frome Physical Therapy with questions or schedule an appointment online for an ALCAT test.

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*The contents of this article are not meant to be diagnostic or prescriptive.  Always consult a physician before choosing a course of treatment.

Featured Image Credit: orangenaturals.com