There are several food allergy diagnostic tests available which, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), are not scientifically proven and should be avoided.
Unproven allergy tests are potentially risky, possibly leading to a misdiagnosis, unwarranted diet restrictions, unnecessary anxiety, or a false sense of security.
Though there are many “alternative” medical practices that Western science has come to respect, there are also many ill-conceived and deceptive medical practices out there. Before putting your faith in an allergy diagnostic, research the test’s rationale, track record, and the qualifications of practitioners or labs running the tests.
4 Tests: Why They Are NIAID Unapproved
Cytotoxicity Testing. This test focuses on changes in the appearance of blood cells that occur when the cells are exposed to allergens.
White blood cells, extracted from an individual’s blood sample, are placed on a glass slide treated with dried smears of suspected foods. The slide is examined under a microscope for alterations in the white blood cells’ structure.
However, scientists point out that changes to cells following allergen exposure cannot be viewed through a microscope. These alterations can only be seen using an advanced method available in some research laboratories. This means any changes noted by cytotoxicity testing (e.g., presence of bacteria, T cell alterations) are either false, or unrelated to allergies.
Muscle Testing (applied kinesiology). There are studies that support and studies that refute the efficacy of applied kinesiology. The premise of this test is that our muscles become weaker in the presence of a harmful substance, such as an allergen.
To complete this test an individual holds the suspected food or it is brought close to the body. Muscle strength or weakness is then measured by applying pressure to the person’s extended arm.
Our body does posses much innate wisdom and may react energetically to harmful substances. However, the skill, knowledge, experience, and integrity of muscle testing practitioners vary widely, and we humans are susceptible to distraction and suggestion.
Hair Analysis. A hair analysis is offered as a test for food allergy on the premise that an ingested harmful food will be evident in the hair’s mineral content.
Though it is true that much about us can be gleaned from analyzing our hair, established science finds this test suspect for food allergy because our hair grows slowly. Even the hair close to our scalp is several weeks old making hair analysis an irrational choice for determining the current condition of our body.
Electrodermal (vega) Test. A galvanometer is an instrument that measures electric currents. It is used by vega practitioners to measure the body’s resistance to a suspect food. An individual holds the food in one hand while the galvanometer is placed against their skin.
Practitioner’s state that an allergen’s electromagnetic signature will cause increased electrical resistance in the body. However, established science points out that credible research confirming this test does not exist, and the amount of pressure galvanometer technicians apply to the skin affects the instrument’s reading.
Other common allergy tests that are not NIAID recommended are NAET (Nambrudipad’s Allergy Elimination Technique), IgG/AgG4 testing, pulse testing, basophil histamine release/activation, facial thermography, lymphocyte stimulation, gastric juice analysis, provocation neutralization, endoscopic allergen provocation, and mediator release assay (LEAP diet).
Let’s hope that Western medicine will remain open-minded about new or alternative testing methods, and that we consumers will temper our desire for answers with education and wisdom.