Food Allergies/Total IgE
QUESTION: I was thinking of getting my IgE levels tested. What do you make of genova diagnostics? They list plenty of certrificates and accreditation. Yet they also have dodgy gut bacteria and IgG tests.
Can I just test for total IgE instead of food specific IgE reactions? This is cheaper. Will total IgE be high even if I only have a moderate allergy to one allergen?
My doctor hasn't found anything, so I am investigating myself.
ANSWER: I cannot think of any reason to have your total IgE measured. It will tell you nothing apart from the fact that 33% of the human population have high levels and the rest have low. In the first group it shows that if you live in a city or urbanised country, you are at risk of certain diseases (asthma, eczema, nasal and food allergies, etc). Not very specific. You will almost certainly have no problems with it outside cities in the Third World!
Measuring circulating specific IGE, whether to foods or inhalants cannot diagnose any allergy to anything whatsoever. The correlation between such tests and symptoms triggered by double-blind provocation tests is even poorer than with quantitative skin prick tests. The diagnosis of Allergy to such is purely clinical based on the best judgement of a competent physician. Do not trust any commercial organisation or medical private charlatan who tells you otherwise. They are in it for your cash and not your interests.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
Outside of food elimination, I thought IgE tests were used alongside skin prick tests to diagnose food allergy. Is this wrong?
Here is the test I was thinking of purchasing?
I am sure Genova are selling a perfectly valid way of testing for circulating allergen-specific IgE antibody. But the real question is: will that do you any good? Usually in my experience, if it is not related to specific clinical features then it often causes a lot more problems. Over the years, I have seen very many people who have suffered from various forms of malnutrition due to food avoidance based on such tests. Unfortunately proper allergy clinics are rare in the UK. They do exist. I closed my own NHS Allergy Clinic down because the NHS Trust that paid for it, refused to provide the minimum resources required under the relevant UK professional society.
Blame the politicians who are intent on destroying a once great institution - the NHS. Most consultants of my vintage got out because of what was happening. I pity the young doctors who now have to jump to managers who seem devoid of ethics.
However if you wish to get further targeted advice, mark it private and send me your full medical history and why you think food allergy might be involved.