More people than ever struggle with daily allergies and intolerance/sensitivities. From simple food choices, genetic disposition, or “luck of the draw”, everyone and parents especially are having to educate themselves on the world of food intolerances, food sensitivities and classic food allergies. The science behind it all is IgE antibody testing to detect raised IgE levels from a blood sample indicating an allergy.
What is IgE testing for allergies?
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) tests are a process in which a small amount of blood is taken and analysed for raise levels of the IgE antibody. When IgE is present and raised, it means that the body is producing it in reaction to a related allergy, sensitivity or intolerance. The amount of this antibody in your system is what will determine how strong the sensitivity is to the item that you are either eating or coming in contact with.
IgE is present in your blood as the body reacts against a trigger item that it determines to be dangerous. When a person is predisposed to be allergic or intolerant to an item, the reaction will be bigger and stronger. If IgE is present and raised in the blood sample, it means that the body is, in fact attacking the perceived allergen as a defence.
How does IgE antibody testing work?
There a number of different types of IgE tests available. The two main tests split into are: total IgE testing and specific IgE testing. Total IgE an assessment of blood and in its total amounts in your body. This is often used to determine if a person has the potential to be sensitive to certain food allergens.
A specific IgE test is when the levels of this antibody are tested against certain food allergens or sensitivities that are known to cause reactions. This can also be done with other allergens such as molds or grasses.
There are also IgE-mediated reactions (flushing, difficulty breathing, wheezing and anaphylaxis and non-IgE-mediated reactions (rashes and other “topical” reactions). You can also have mixed reactions. A prime example of a mixed allergy is a “contact” allergy that create a reaction on touch, and a reaction when ingested.
Why is IgE testing important?
Since IgE testing is designed to assist with the diagnosis of allergies and intolerances, its use has become more important when combined with an elimination diet and medical advice from a general practitioner. It can help identify symptoms, and the reason for the severity of the reactions.
In terms of the science, IgE tests return a higher repeatability rate and are more reliable than other tests available.
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