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Announcing Viome’s New Food Sensitivity Intelligence Test

Jul 31, 2019

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Viome's Food Sensitivity Intelligence Test allows you to really hone in your personalized nutrition plan – so you can get the most out of each bite. This test is available as an add-on test when you order your Gut Intelligence Test. 


Why Should I Take a Food Sensitivity Test? 

Reducing inflammation levels in the body is arguably one of the best things you can do for your overall wellness. Food sensitivities can raise inflammation levels. If you continue to eat the foods your body has a sensitivity to, you could be contributing to inflammatory processes throughout the body. 

Because symptoms range from subtle to severe, food sensitivities are often overlooked and misdiagnosed. Not to mention, it can be frustrating, inconvenient, and time-consuming to go on an elimination diet on its own. Elimination diets are a powerful tool you can use to pinpoint your ideal diet, and food sensitivity testing can help you have a more precise approach. 

 One quick note: Our tests are not meant to replace the guidance of a doctor. They are a tool on your journey to optimal health and wellness. Viome’s testing doesn’t diagnose any disease or condition. Nor does it replace professional medical advice or treatments. We recommend seeking the support of a physician or other qualified healthcare professional alongside your Viome testing.


A Food That’s Good for Your Microbiome Right Now May Also Be a Food You’re Sensitive To

Your food recommendations are derived based on our analytical engine’s personalized assessment of your Gut Intelligence sample data and the information we received from you while taking into account the food’s nutritional profile. 

Foods that you are sensitive to are determined by an IgG immune response in your bloodstream. Our Gut Intelligence test does not assess for systemic immune responses. A food found on your superfoods or enjoy lists may have important macronutrients and micronutrients which are beneficial for your microbiome, but for the time being, this food may need to be reconsidered due to a possible sensitivity. This way, your Food Sensitivity results can be used in conjunction with your Gut Intelligence recommendations to personalize your food choices and promote overall wellness while balancing your microbiome.


What Happens When You Have a Food Sensitivity?

How reactive your body is to a particular food on a cellular level might not equate to the symptoms you experience day-to-day. For example, you may find out you’re highly sensitive to casein, a protein in dairy. Maybe you get your results and think, “That’s so strange! I drink cream in my coffee every morning, enjoy cheese just about every day, and I don’t feel that bad.” This is because a food sensitivity may not always contribute to obvious symptoms. Although, it is possible that when you cut dairy from your diet, you suddenly notice that you feel better. Maybe your skin clears up, and you don’t get stomach aches quite as often. This is just one example of many possibilities. Each human body is wonderfully unique, and the way in which your body handles different foods is part of this uniqueness.

Food sensitivities are very personal, and so there isn’t a universally established amount of time you should remove a certain food from your diet once you find out you have a sensitivity. Instead, it’s a good idea to consider the magnitude of your body’s response to a particular food (High, Medium, Low, or No Sensitivity Detected in your Viome results), and adjust accordingly. 

If you are highly sensitive to casein, you might find that you feel much better when you completely remove all dairy products from your diet. If you have medium sensitivity to casein, you may find that eliminating dairy for a few weeks or months while your gut has a chance to heal is highly beneficial. 

However, just because you don’t experience symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have a food sensitivity. When your body creates antibodies to a food, eating that food causes an inflammatory response in the body. We’ll discuss what happens on a cellular level shortly, but first, let’s look at symptoms that are an immediate sign you should consider a food sensitivity test. 


18 Symptoms That Suggest You Should Consider a Food Sensitivity Test

 The following are symptoms that indicate a food sensitivity test may be beneficial:

  1. Abdominal pain

  2. Gas

  3. Bloating

  4. Acid reflux

  5. Constipation or diarrhea

  6. Unexplained weight loss or gain

  7. Nausea

  8. Vomiting

  9. Fatigue

  10. Headaches

  11. Brain fog

  12. Weakness and general malaise

  13. Skin issues – such as redness, itchiness, or rashes

  14. Skin conditions – such as eczema, rosacea, acne or psoriasis

  15. Asthma or asthma-like symptoms – wheezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing

  16. Joint pain

  17. Muscle pain or stiffness

  18. Behavioral and mood issues

Even if you don’t have these symptoms, you still may want to consider having a food sensitivity test done because everyone’s body reacts differently. It is possible to be asymptomatic but still have a sensitivity to certain foods.

 

The Difference Between a Food Sensitivity, Food Allergies, & a Food Intolerance

These three phrases are often used interchangeably and incorrectly. Let’s examine the actual definitions and what each means for you:

Food Sensitivity: 

  • Food sensitivity reactions are Immunoglobulins A (IgA), M (IgM), and G (IgG)-mediated immune system responses causing inflammation of the gastrointestinal lining.1

  • Symptom onset can occur rapidly or up to 48-72 hours after trigger exposure. Common symptoms include upset stomach, gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Symptoms can also include any of the 18 symptoms listed above.

  • Common culprits include gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs.

  • Food sensitivity reactions differ in severity. Symptoms can occur when trigger foods are eaten regularly, in large amounts, but they don’t always occur. 

Food Allergies: 

  • Viome doesn’t provide food allergy testing. 

  • Food allergies should be overseen and managed by an experienced physician.

  • Allergic reactions are immediate immune system responses mediated by Immunoglobulin E (IgE).2

  • Common symptoms include difficulty breathing, rash, itching, hives, and swelling of the throat, face, and tongue, which can be severe and life threatening.3

  • Common culprits include nuts, shellfish, and fruit.

  • Allergic reactions can be triggered by tiny exposures and occur every time there is an exposure.

Food Intolerance: 

  • Viome doesn’t provide food intolerance testing. 

  • An intolerance is when you don’t have the necessary enzymes to breakdown particular foods.4

  • A common example of this is lactose intolerance, where a person doesn’t have the enzyme lactase needed to digest dairy properly. This results in uncomfortable digestive symptoms. 

  • Another common intolerance is histamine intolerance, where a person lacks the diamine oxidase (DAO) enzyme needed to properly break down histamines. High histamine foods include cured meats, preserved foods, wine, and cheese.

 

Understanding Immunoglobulin G (IgG)

Antibodies are proteins your immune system creates to sound the alarm and attack when something that appears as foreign (antigens) enters the body. This reaction is meant to protect you, but in the case of food sensitivities, it can be frustrating. 

When examining food sensitivity, the primary antibody taken into consideration is Immunoglobulin G (IgG). Immunoglobulins A (IgA) and M (IgM) also play a role, but for testing purposes, however, IgA is very expensive, has a shorter half-life, and IgM has limited data supporting its clinical utility – so most testing examines IgG antibodies. 

Equipped with the right information, you can minimize the impact of food sensitivity reactions in your life. Knowing where these antibodies originate in the body, their half-lives, and what symptoms they may contribute towards creates a better understanding of what’s happening inside your body. 

Immunoglobulin G (IgG):

  • This antibody is produced by nearly every cell in the body and is the most abundant in serum – the protein-rich part of your blood. IgG antibodies can cross membranes readily, including the placenta.

  • The half-life of IgG antibodies is much longer than other antibodies, and they vary by person. This means the presence of IgG antibodies suggest there may be an ongoing exposure and/or sensitivity.

  • Elevated levels of IgG antibodies indicate food exposure is occurring in the bloodstream. You might be wondering… “How can there be food exposure in my bloodstream?” This is a sign of intestinal permeability, more commonly known as “leaky gut.”

  • Intestinal permeability can allow for some components of food or metabolic byproducts that would normally stay in the gut to cross the intestinal barrier and enter the bloodstream where they may trigger an IgG immune response.  

  • IgG antibodies can contribute to systemic inflammation as well as related symptoms – such as brain fog, headaches, fatigue, mood disorders, and skin issues. 

  • It’s important to note that if you have already eliminated a trigger food from your diet, there may not be antibodies present on your test. For example, if you are sensitive to gluten and have eliminated it from your diet, you may not show a gluten sensitivity on your test results.

 

 What to Expect with a Viome Food Sensitivity Test

Viome’s Food Sensitivity Intelligence test is a minimal blood test that requires a few pricks of the finger. Your food sensitivity results show you which foods your body is currently sensitive to and to what degree. Each food is classified into either High, Medium, Low, or No Sensitivity Detected. 

This test accurately detects subtle levels of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream. As mentioned above, IgG antibodies are created by the body in response to a trigger, which can include food. There needs to be an ongoing presence of a trigger for IgG antibodies to be present. So, if you’ve eliminated a food you’re sensitive to or don’t eat certain foods very often, those foods may show up as a Low or No Sensitivity Detected in your Viome test results.

  

Which Foods Are Included in Viome’s Food Sensitivity Intelligence Test?

Viome’s Food Sensitivity Intelligence test measures your body’s IgG response to 40 common foods. You’ll receive your Food Sensitivity Intelligence results in your Viome app. Foods tested include:

  1. Almond

  2. Apple

  3. Baker's yeast

  4. Banana

  5. Beef

  6. Bell pepper

  7. Blueberry

  8. Broccoli 

  9. Cacao

  10. Cashew

  11. Chicken

  12. Chicken egg

  13. Chickpea

  14. Cinnamon

  15. Coffee

  16. Corn

  17. Cow casein

  18. Cow milk

  19. Cow whey

  20. Cucumber

  21. Garlic

  22. Ginger

  23. Gluten

  24. Grape

  25. Kale

  26. Oat

  27. Onion

  28. Orange

  29. Pork

  30. Potato

  31. Red wine

  32. Rice

  33. Salmon

  34. Sesame

  35. Shrimp

  36. Soybean

  37. Strawberry

  38. Tomato

  39. Tuna 

  40. Wheat

 

10 Most Common Food Sensitivities

 

Among the general population, some sensitivities are more common than others. Here are the top 10 most common food sensitivities:

1.     Gluten

2.     Dairy

3.     Eggs

4.     Soy

5.     Corn

6.     Nightshades (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes)

7.     Citrus

8.     Yeast

9.     Gluten-free grains

10.  Legumes

 Gluten and dairy are by far the two most common sensitivities.

 

Resources:


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5004213/ 

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16782524

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4414527/ 

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695393/ 

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685801/ 

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