Blood tests for food allergies should you be getting them or should you be ignoring them? Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com and this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!” And today we’re going to talk about blood blood testing for food allergies. I in the last episode had talked about removing foods that might be causing an allergic reaction in order to better tolerate pollen that you might be allergic to in the context of seasonal allergies. So it’s a good segue to answer a question in this episode that many people have been asking me for a long time, which is whether we should and how we should if so be using blood tests for food allergies. Now it’s my opinion that these should usually be used as a last resort and oftentimes they’re counterproductive because they provide, they provide a lot of data indicating that a lot of foods should be avoided when we don’t really know the degree to which the person would benefit from removing those foods and trying to remove all of them quickly becomes very impractical. If I were to order one of these tests I would go with Cyrex because I do put trust in the work that they’ve done to make the tests accurate. But when we’re talking about a test like this being accurate we’re talking about, in the context of the laboratory, we’ve done the necessary work to make sure that there aren’t technical errors giving us inaccurate data about what the levels of antibodies for certain foods are in the blood of that individual. This is very different from telling us, will that individual benefit if they remove those foods, and these tests have not been validated against testing for how specific they are and how sensitive they are, meaning altogether how good are they at discriminating between the people who would and wouldn’t benefit from removing those foods in their diet. I also believe that especially if someone is reacting to many foods or shows signs in lab tests of reacting to many foods this is probably more indicative that the person should be fixing an underlying problem than it is that the person should be removing all those foods. In other words, play offense and get to the root of the problem rather than playing defense against each of those foods. Quite often a nutrient could be missing that could be predisposing someone to react to these foods. So I believe that if someone had, first of all if someone has a clean bill of health and doesn’t have any complaints then I would definitely be ignoring tests like this, but if someone has unresolved health problems I think the first thing to do is to work on the nutrition. Fix the missing nutrients and the nutritional imbalances through comprehensive nutritional screening, analyzing the diet, and seeing what can be improved and what can be fixed. Work with a doctor to see if there are any underlying health problems that need to be addressed that medicine is best equipped to deal with. Look at, I would even be looking at amino acids and organic acids to see if there are any metabolic derangements that something could be done about before I would be going to see a large array of different foods that someone might be reacting to, because I think in each step of the way you can deal with an underlying problem that might be manifesting something on top as reactivity to a particular food. Now there are certainly cases where someone has a very specific disease like celiac disease where gluten has to be removed from the diet. Someone may have very specific allergic reactions to foods that cause acute reactions that can impact a person’s ability to breathe, that can be causing hives to break out, acute reactions that are clearly causing symptoms of an allergic or autoimmune nature certainly should be addressed head-on. But when we’re doing blood tests for a large number of foods to see which ones you have antibodies to then I think that’s at the point where you are you’re trying to mine for data to solve problems that you don’t know the answers to. And I believe that, I believe that the root of the problem to unresolved health issues is rarely going to be addressed by removing many different foods from the diet and is usually going to be addressed first by fixing the underlying problems such as nutrient deficiencies and imbalances. And I would work my way up and only after these avenues have been exhausted would I start trying to run blood tests for many different food allergies and even then this information would have to be acted on in a trial-and-error way. In other words if you believe you may have identified food allergies from these tests you don’t assume that you have rather you take that information and you test the hypothesis that you should be removing those foods by trialing a removal of those foods and then you actually test to see what results you get. If you get, if you do feel better you do get those results then you use that information at least for the time being, you will eat a diet that where you’ve removed those foods, and if you don’t get results you go back to the drawing board. The audio of this episode was enhanced and post-processed by Bob Davodian of Taurean Mixing. You can find more of his work at taureanonlinemixing.com This episode is brought to you by: Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet. Everything you could ever need to know to optimize your nutrition all in one place. Easier to find and use than ever before. Get your copy at chrismasterjohnphd.com/cheatsheet. Use the code LITE5 to get five dollars off. That’s all capitals L I T E and the number 5, LITE5 to get five dollars off. This episode is brought to you by Ancestral Supplements. Our Native American ancestors believe that eating the organs from a healthy animal would support the health of the corresponding organ of the individual. Ancestral Supplements has a nose-to-tail product line of grass-fed liver, organs, bone marrow, and more. In the convenience of a capsule. For more information or to buy any of their products go to ancestralsupplements.com. All right, I hope you found this useful. Signing off this is Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com. This has been Chris Masterjohn Lite. And I will see you in the next episode.