In a world where customer DNA testing has become mainstream, there is an endless potential to its application. Whereas companies such as 23andMe, MyHeritage and AncestryDNA are well known for genealogy test or finding out heritage, there is an entire branch of customer DNA testing involving genetic test food intolerance and food allergies worth exploring.
What is the difference between food intolerance and food allergies?
These terms are sometimes used interchangeably but their meanings differ. However, insights into either of these conditions can be obtained from dna food allergy test and dna food intolerance test. Food intolerance are usually less severe in nature with symptoms that may or may not be manifest on occasion. If symptoms occur the last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of days.
It is thought that food intolerances are due the body’s reactions to chemical components obtained from the diet during digestion. Many of these organic chemicals are naturally occurring in our diets while others are found as artificial ingredients such as food additives, preservatives, colorings and flavourings. An increase in intake of these triggering chemical components are what causes the onset of food intolerance. Women tend to be more affected typically due to hormone differences since many food chemicals mimic hormones.
Intolerances are subject to change over time and have been associated with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic constipation and other diseases. Symptoms of food intolerance include:
- stomach cramps
A food allergy is an abnormal or adverse overreacting immune response to food after exposure while food intolerance are simply not due to any immune response. These allergies are usually triggered in childhood, they may occur at any age. Allergies tend to be chronic and can exist throughout an entire lifetime. The allergic reaction causes symptoms that vary in severity. These range from itchiness, tongue swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea hives, low blood pressure and trouble breathing. This symptoms spark up within minutes to hours from the time the food is ingested. Daily foods that may cause allergies include
- Milk from cows
- Seafood including shellfish
- Cereals including rice and wheat
It is estimated that 4-8% of people in the developed world have allergies. Men are more at risk than women. The exact figure is not known because some people also believe they have food allergies when they in fact do not. This figure is also projected to be rising. It affects children more often.
A dna food allergy test will test how genes affect the antibody reactions to antigens in different types of food. Other ways to investigate food allergies is through medical history taking, blood tests, elimination diet, oral food challenge or a skin prick test. During the medical history investigation, risk factors are taken into account. These risk factors linked to allergies many be from genetics or related to environmental and lifestyle habits, they include:
- Family history of allergies
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Viral infections
- Air pollution
- Household pets
- Exposure to other children with allergies
- Exposure to smoke and certain chemicals such as cleaning liquids
What is the connection between genetics, food allergies, food sensitivity and food intolerance?
In a study of 2759 people by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, researchers examined about a million genetic markers across the human genome for what kind of genes cause allergies and the combined risk of these genes. They found out that for peanut allergies and risk of coeliac disease, the human leukocyte antigen, HLA-DQ and HLA-DR predisposed about 20% of people in their study. Another study found out that a gene cluster on chromosome 18 involving the serine protease inhibitor (serpin) superfamily immensely contributed to food allergies. It is also estimated that 15-20% of the population may have food intolerance issues that stem in part from genes.
Unlike food intolerance, food sensitivity and food allergies involve the immune system. Food allergies usually involve the IgE antibodies whereas food sensitivity involve IgG and other antibodies. Regardless of the mechanisms by which they occur, all 3 are linked with genetics. One theory about the complex nature of these conditions points of that environmental factors play a key role in triggering the gene interactions.
Food intolerances that a DNA kit can test for
Below are the most common food intolerances and details about how doing a home DNA allergy test may be able to help diagnose it if you believe you’re affected.
Gluten has become a popular topic in recent years. Gluten is a protein found in many cereals such as wheat, barley and rye. Because humans lack the enzymes to breakdown gluten, it leads to a buildup of tiny bits of gluten in the digestive tract and this stimulates the food intolerance. DNA food sensitivity tests enable you to know if you would be better off consuming gluten-free products. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease which is usually mixed up with gluten intolerance. If you have gluten intolerance, it does not mean you have celiac disease though in severe cases celiac disease can eventually lead to gluten intolerance and temporary lactose intolerance.
The CYP1A2 gene which is investigated since this gene influences the body’s sensitivity to caffeine and how the enzymes produced in the liver metabolise it. Some people have a variation in this gene that causes them to be hypersensitive to caffeine. They have jitters and excited behaviour after just a cup of coffee which is a manifestation of gene’s effect.
Lactose intolerance is another popular condition. This is usually caused by the inability of the body to properly digest dairy products since some people lack the enzyme which is capable of breaking down lactose. Dna allergy tests for this looks at genetic markers that are related to this enzyme and its receptor.
Another enzyme deficiency leads to alcohol flushing. The symptom of this is that after alcohol consumption the person’s face reddens. Alcohol flushing might have some correlation with esophageal cancer.
Some people have an inability to digest foods that produce excessive histamines which are found in fermented foods.
Food intolerance DNA test kits
- HomeDNA provides a combined Food and Pet Sensitivity test for 99. The test focuses on mainly gluten, lactose, cow milk protein eggs peanut, histamine, other food triggers and pet dander
- Dynamic DNA labs has a Nutrition DNA test which costs 149. The test claims to examine 43 nutrition traits including metabolic rate, antioxidant levels, eating inhibition, food reactions such as alcohol flush, caffeine metabolism, gluten sensitivity and others.
- SmartDNA has the DAO Histamine Intolerance test. The test measures the blood for Diamine Oxidase enzyme and tracks the gene activity to determine histamine intolerance.
- Original Gene also has a Nutrition DNA test which costs 299 but might be on sale on their website for 149
- DNAfit test for Lactose intolerance and coeliac disease predisposition this is included in their Diet Fit package which costs 109 pounds.
Food allergies that a DNA kit can test for
Peanut allergies are usually related with HLA-DQ and HLA-DR genes. It makes sense that people most at risk are those with a family history of peanut allergies. This kind of allergy can be even be fatal since some people are highly allergic and the anaphylaxis reactions that follow are drastic.
Cow Milk Protein
Allergies to cow’s milk start to affect babies when they are being weaned. It affects 6% of children in their first year of life. It is different from lactose intolerance since this stems from the abnormal immune response to proteins found in cow’s milk or such products
Food allergies to eggs are quite common especially in children. The albumin or white part of the egg is the protein that usually culprit that can cause symptoms like stomach ache or skin reactions such as hives. Reintroducing cooked eggs into your daily diet might be possible because 70% of kids outgrow this allergy.
Tree Nut allergies
Tree nuts, including almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios and walnuts. This allergy affects 1% of the American population. Tree nut allergy is typically a lifelong condition and being allergic to one type of tree nut makes you prone to be allergic to another.
These allergies are caused by the bodily response to proteins found in crustaceans and mollusks these include shrimp, prawns, lobster, scallops, squid and crayfish. The main protein trigger is tropomyosin. This allergy also lasts a lifetime. It can be difficult to distinguish a shellfish allergy from reactions to contaminated seafood because the symptoms can be very similar.
These allergies are usually developed in adults. This is different from the shellfish allergies since different proteins are involved. The symptoms of a fish allergy includes vomiting and diarrhoea.
Food allergies involving proteins in soybeans or soybean products affect 0.4% of children under 3 years old. The symptoms from soy allergies are variable and range from itchiness and rashes to breathing difficulties. Parents would be pleased to know that this allergy can be outgrown.
Other food Allergies
There are many lesser known food allergies involving sesame seed, peach, garlic, chamomile and so many others. It is true that any food can potentially cause an allergy. Depending on dna allergy testing accuracy, knowledge on which foods to steer away from would be beneficial.
Food allergy DNA test kits
- SmartDNA has the ImuPro tests. There are different ImuPro tests that check from 90 to 270 individual triggering foods which is an extensive rooster. The ImuPro 90 IgG dna food allergy test costs $319 and has a vegetarian option for the same price. Their ImuPro 270 IgG dna food allergy test costs $649
- Globaltestinglab.com has different variety of dna food allergy test which are lab certified to ISO 9001. There is a Choice 70 Allergy & Intolerance Test which costs $149 and it tests for 35 intolerance items and 35 allergies. Their Prime 110 Allergy & Intolerance Test costs $179 and tests for 75 intolerance items and 35 allergies.
- New life genetics has an Allergy DNA test which costs $118 and this test assesses the genetic predisposition to the development of allergies. It also determines the chances of allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases and atopic dermatitis. The report also entails dietary advice to help prevent the development of allergies.
- Xcode Life has a dna allergy test that costs $20. The test covers genetic predisposition to a range of allergies and sensitivities such as milk, peanuts, eggs, and dust mites amongst others.
How to use a food allergy DNA test kit
- Buy the kit: Order your dna food allergy test or dna food intolerance test online
- Register the kit: Go online to the website of the company and register your kit’s barcode
- Collect the sample: Follow the detailed instructions on how to use the swabs in the collection kit to gather the sample or whether they require a blood or hair sample. Then send the samples to the addressed laboratory.
- Sample analysis: You will receive an email when your samples arrive at the laboratory. The scientists at the company will extract and examine the DNA to analyze the genes
- Receive the report: Many companies send you a unique personalized report after 4-6 weeks after they have received your sample. This usually comes in an email or uploaded to your registered account.
What is the accuracy of food allergy DNA kits?
The accuracy of these tests are not 100% certain. This is a relatively new field in DNA testing and it is improving constantly. That being said, most of the companies claim all their tests are scientifically-based and have laboratory protocols that optimise accuracy.
Before ordering a test make sure to check the company for the studies they use and the science behind their product. Most DNA testing companies have a sample test report so you know the kind of results to expect after testing.
The usual treatment of allergies is to avoid the foods that cause the reaction. An epi-pen is also given to people who have a high risk of severe allergic reactions. Another good prevention method would be to get genetic testing food allergies. This would give insight into the kinds of food allergies a person might have. You can check here for other DNA health tests. https://wordpress-908710-3155610.cloudwaysapps.com/dna-tests/health-dna-test/