Everything You Must Know About Food Testing

The human body reacts differently to food ingredients- while many promote healthy living, there are others who trigger reactions that in certain cases require medical intervention. Food sensitivity testing has become increasingly popular to understand our bodies better, and identify the food agents that don’t suit it. These tests are designed to identify potential intolerances and sensitivities related to the immune system’s reaction to certain food antigens, which could be contributing to a variety of symptoms or health problems. Awareness about what’s best for our body goes a long way in making informed dietary choices and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Types of Food Sensitivity Testing

There are several methods for food sensitivity testing, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages:

  • Blood tests: These are often used to measure the immune system’s response to various foods. The common types of blood tests for checking food sensitivity are:
    • IgE testing: Measures the levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in the blood, which are typically associated with immediate allergic reactions. Some common examples include pollen allergy or insect stings.
    • IgG testing: Measures Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies, which are thought to be associated with delayed food sensitivities and inflammation.
  • Skin prick tests: During this test, a small amount of food extract is applied to the skin and pricked with a needle to introduce it beneath the surface. If the skin reacts with redness or swelling, it may indicate sensitivity to that food.
  • Elimination diets: This method involves systematically removing specific foods from one’s diet and monitoring the effects on symptoms. Foods are then reintroduced one at a time to determine which may be causing issues.

At-Home Food Sensitivity Test Kits

At-home food sensitivity test kits facilitate a convenient and cost-effective way to assess potential food sensitivities at the comfort of one’s home. These kits generally involve sampling blood or saliva, which is sent to a lab for analysis. There are various types of at-home test kits available, let’s go through some of them.

Types of At-Home Test Kits

  • Fingerstick blood tests: These blood testing kits require individuals to collect a small blood sample from a fingerstick, which is then analyzed for reactions to specific foods.
  • Saliva tests: Some at-home test kits involve collecting a saliva sample, which is then analyzed for specific biomarkers related to food sensitivities.
  • Hair analysis: Although highly debated among experts, few companies claim hair analysis tests can be used to identify food sensitivities. This is done by examining the mineral content and other factors in hair samples.

Companies Providing At-Home Test Kits

There are several companies that offer at-home food sensitivity test kits, each with its own set of features and benefits. Some of the most reputable companies in this space include:

  • Everlywell: Everlywell is a well-known company that offers a variety of at-home health tests, including a Food Sensitivity Test. Their test measures IgG reactivity to 96 common foods and provides personalized results and guidance. The cost for Everlywell’s Food Sensitivity Test is typically around $159.
  • Pinnertest: Pinnertest is a fingerstick blood test that measures IgG reactivity to over 200 different foods. The test kit includes everything needed for sample collection and a prepaid shipping label to send the sample to their lab. Pinnertest generally costs around $390.
  • Viome: Viome offers a Gut Intelligence Test that analyzes the microbiome in a stool sample to provide personalized dietary recommendations. Although this test does not specifically measure food sensitivities, it can help identify which foods may be contributing to digestive issues. Viome’s Gut Intelligence Test typically costs around $399.

General Costs of At-Home Test Kits

The cost of at-home food sensitivity test kits can vary widely, depending on the specific test, the number of foods analyzed, and the company providing the kit. Prices generally range from around $100 to $400 or more, depending on the features and level of detail provided by the test.

It is important to note that some healthcare professionals remain skeptical about the accuracy and reliability of at-home food sensitivity test kits. Before investing in a test, it is recommended to discuss the various options with a qualified healthcare provider to determine the most suitable method for each individual.

How Food Sensitivity Testing Works

Food sensitivity testing helps to identify and breakdown an individual’s immune response to specific foods. The immune system may respond to certain foods with reactions such as inflammation, difficulty in breathing, abdominal pain, and more. Each type of test works differently, and understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each method can help individuals make informed decisions about which approach to opt for.

What Food Sensitivity Testing Can Reveal

By identifying specific food sensitivities, individuals may gain valuable insight into their overall health and well-being. Common symptoms related to food sensitivities include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Skin problems
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Additionally, food sensitivities have been linked to various chronic health conditions, such as:

Some common foods that may cause sensitivities include sugar, caffeine, soy, and gluten. Symptoms can range from mild to severe reactions and may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, mouth sores, or difficulty breathing. Identifying and addressing nutrient deficiencies can also play a crucial role in managing food sensitivities and improving overall health.

Preparing for Food Sensitivity Testing

Before undergoing food sensitivity testing, it is crucial to know what to expect and follow any pre-test instructions provided by your healthcare professional. This may involve avoiding certain foods before the test to ensure accurate results. Additionally, discussing the various testing options with a healthcare professional can help determine the most suitable method for each individual.

Interpreting Food Sensitivity Test Results

After receiving food sensitivity test results, it is essential to understand what they mean and how to proceed. Working with a healthcare professional can help individuals interpret the results, identify potential food sensitivities, and develop a personalized treatment plan. This may involve dietary changes, supplements, or other interventions to manage symptoms and improve overall health.

Insurance coverage for food sensitivity testing, including at-home test kits, varies depending on the provider and plan. It is advisable to check with your insurance provider to determine if these tests are covered and to what extent.


In summary, food sensitivity testing can be a valuable tool for those seeking to better understand their body’s response to specific foods. By identifying potential sensitivities and working with a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan, individuals may experience improvements in symptoms and overall well-being. As with any medical test, it is essential to discuss the various options and their implications with a qualified healthcare provider before proceeding.


What is the food sensitivity test?

A food sensitivity test is a diagnostic tool used to determine if an individual has any food intolerances, sensitivities, allergies and adverse reaction to specific foods. Such Food allergies may cause symptoms such as digestive issues, skin problems, or fatigue. Food sensitivity tests typically involve measuring the immune system’s response to various food proteins by assessing biomarkers such as immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies or complement component 3d (C3d).

What’s the blood test that is done for food sensitivities?

Blood tests for food sensitivities typically involve measuring levels of specific antibodies, such as immunoglobulin G (IgG), which indicate the immune system’s response to various food proteins. These tests can help identify potential food intolerances or sensitivities by detecting the presence of antibodies against specific food proteins.

What doctor can test for food sensitivities?

A primary care physician or a specialist, such as an allergist or a gastroenterologist, can order food sensitivity tests. These healthcare professionals can evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and dietary habits to determine if food sensitivity testing is appropriate for your situation.

How to read a food sensitivity test?

When reading a food sensitivity test, it’s essential to understand that the results typically indicate the immune system’s response to specific foods:

  • A higher value suggests a stronger reaction to the food in question, potentially indicating a sensitivity or intolerance.
  • A lower value indicates a weaker or no reaction to the food, suggesting that the individual may not be sensitive to it.

However, interpreting food sensitivity test results can be complex, and it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss your results and determine an appropriate course of action.

How accurate are at-home food sensitivity tests?

The accuracy of food sensitivity testing can vary depending on the specific test and methodology used. Some tests, such as those measuring IgG antibodies or C3d, may provide valuable insights, while others may have limited clinical utility. To ensure accurate results, it’s essential to work with a reputable testing provider and consult with a healthcare professional to interpret the results and determine an appropriate course of action.

Will taking azithromycin affect food sensitivity testing?

Azithromycin is an antibiotic, and its impact on food sensitivity testing is not well-established. However, since antibiotics can alter the gut microbiome, it’s possible that taking azithromycin could affect your digestive system and the immune system’s response to food. It is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before undergoing food sensitivity testing if you are currently taking or have recently taken antibiotics.

What is the C3d food sensitivity test?

The C3d food sensitivity test is a diagnostic tool that measures levels of complement component 3d (C3d) in the blood. C3d is a marker of immune system activation, and its presence in response to specific food proteins may indicate a sensitivity or intolerance to that food.

What is considered an IgG food sensitivity test?

An IgG food sensitivity test measures the levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in the blood in response to specific food proteins. These antibodies are produced by the immune system when it recognizes a food protein as potentially harmful. An IgG food sensitivity test can help identify foods that may be causing adverse reactions, such as digestive issues or skin problems, and guide individuals in making dietary adjustments to alleviate their symptoms.

What is LEAP testing for food sensitivities?

LEAP (Lifestyle Eating and Performance) testing is a food sensitivity testing approach that combines a blood test called the Mediator Release Test (MRT) with personalized nutrition counseling. The MRT measures the immune system’s response to various foods by detecting changes in blood components, such as white blood cells and platelets, which are involved in inflammatory reactions. Based on the test results, a registered dietitian can create a customized eating plan to help individuals reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms related to food sensitivities.

How accurate are DNA food sensitivity tests?

DNA food sensitivity tests analyze genetic variations to determine an individual’s predisposition to food sensitivities or intolerances. While these tests can provide insights into potential food-related issues, they do not directly measure the immune system’s response to specific foods. Therefore, DNA food sensitivity tests should not be solely relied upon for diagnosing food sensitivities. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to accurately assess and address food-related symptoms.

Cost & Insurance

How much does food sensitivity testing cost?

The cost of food sensitivity testing can vary depending on the specific test and the healthcare provider or laboratory conducting the test. Prices can range from $100 to over $500, with some comprehensive tests costing more than $1,000. It is important to inquire about the cost of testing with your healthcare provider or testing facility before proceeding.

Does Medicare cover food sensitivity testing?

Depending on the specific test and the individual’s medical necessity, Medicare coverage for food sensitivity testing varies. Generally, Medicare may cover tests that are considered medically necessary for diagnosing or treating a medical condition. It is best to consult with your healthcare provider and Medicare to determine if food sensitivity testing is covered in your specific situation.

Does HSA cover food sensitivity testing?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) can potentially be used to cover the cost of food sensitivity testing if a healthcare provider deems the test medically necessary. It is important to consult with your HSA provider to confirm the eligibility of food sensitivity testing expenses.

Will insurance cover food sensitivity tests?

Insurance coverage for food sensitivity tests varies by plan and provider. Some insurance plans may cover the cost of testing if it is deemed medically necessary by a healthcare professional. To determine if your insurance plan covers food sensitivity testing, consult with your insurance provider and healthcare professional.