At-Home Food Sensitivity Tests May Not Be the Answer to Your Health Goals

Danielle Keith is a vegan food blogger and health coach.

"I'm always posting recipes, wellness tips," she said.

She tries to live a healthy life herself and told NBC 6 Responds her own health journey made her curious about food sensitivity testing.

"I've suffered from bloating and digestive discomfort for the past few years and I really wanted to explore every avenue," she said.

Danielle is part of a growing number of people who are turning to at-home food sensitivity test kits.

A simple search online yields dozens of results, many from companies saying their tests can help consumers identify which foods they may be sensitive to, so they can then eliminate those foods and see if their symptoms improve.

"There's no test that we can really use to really find what someone may be sensitive to," said Dr. Michelle Pearlman, an assistant professor at the University of Miami's Division of Gastroenterology. She told NBC 6 Responds the fundamental problem with the types of tests you can buy online is that they test for the presence of IgG protein in your blood.

"It's testing for an immune protein when food sensitivity is not an immune response," Dr. Pearlman explained. "If you were to eat asparagus recently and you do that blood test, you may have that protein to asparagus … that doesn't mean that you have a food sensitivity to asparagus, just because you had a positive test result."

The test kit Danielle ordered tested her blood for dozens of foods.

"I fortunately didn't have any foods that came up in the high or in the moderate," Danielle said. "I only had foods that I was mildly sensitive to."

Those food include garlic, pineapple and eggplant, which Danielle said she ate frequently and had no plans to stop eating right away.

"I think you should take everything with a grain of salt," she said. "Just because these things come up on a test doesn't mean you can never eat them again. It just means to be more aware of what might be causing unwanted symptoms."

A company that sells at-home tests told NBC 6 Responds food sensitivity testing is "ordered by tens of thousands of physicians and medical professionals, often at a much higher cost" and that "IgG testing has existed for over 20 years … and is offered by … some of the top hospitals in the country."

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