Everything you always wanted to know about food intolerance, allergies and ImuPro testing
What symptoms might I be suffering from if I have a food intolerance?
IgG mediated food intolerance leads to underlying inflammation in the body. This can manifest in a range of symptoms: gastrointestinal complaints (IBS, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps), headaches/migraines, fibromyalgia, joint pain, arthritis, skin conditions, chronic weight problems, difficulty concentrating, depression, anxiety, and many more.
What if I have been on a restricted diet before the test?
You may find that foods you haven’t strictly eaten for a long a period of time do not show up on the ImuPro test, however this generally applies to situations where the food has been avoided for at least 1 year.
This just means your body is no longer producing IgG antibodies toward the proteins in that food, so it is no longer causing you inflammation. This is really what you want to happen, it means your intolerance levels have lowered (or are lowering) – which is the way the body works with food intolerances. It does not mean the test is inaccurate or not giving a true reflection of your intolerances.
Once you stop eating an offending food, after a while your body will stop producing IgG antibodies towards it and your existing IgG levels will start to lower and eventually disappear. It can take months, or sometimes years, for all existing IgG levels to an offending food to disappear entirely and this is why we recommend avoiding foods with elevated IgG levels for a minimum of 5 weeks to 1 year (depending on the outcome of your provocation phase). So, some of the foods you have been avoiding may still come up in the test (they may just be a mild elevation), or they may not come up at all if your IgG antibody levels have disappeared. In this case we would recommend you rotate these foods every 4 days to prevent developing another intolerance.
We often have people ask us if they should start eating previously avoided foods again prior to testing, in order to get an ‘accurate result’. There really is no point bringing those foods back into your diet for a certain result, and as you can see it can take months to increase your IgG antibodies to a level that is detectable by ImuPro. The best thing to do is to take the test now and you will get a snapshot of where you are currently at with all of your intolerance levels, and can then adjust your diet accordingly.
Is there any need to be re-tested down the track?
No, this is not normally necessary. Even if a retest does not detect particular antibodies, this does not mean that you can recommence eating foods or additives to which an intolerance was detected.
The immune system has a memory and reactivates the production of antibodies when it comes in contact with a food or additive to which it previously had a reaction.
However, the production of antibodies is generally reduced through implementing dietary changes to cut out offending foods.
The test would only need to be repeated if the symptoms re-occur, although this is unlikely if you are keeping to your diet and rotation plan instructions.
If the test is repeated, we recommend at least a two year wait between tests.
How reliable is the ImuPro test?
The reliability of the test is proven by over 100,000 performed tests with a satisfaction score of over 90%.
The test is performed using the ELISA method which is a well-established standard procedure in laboratory analysis.
Our results are reliable and reproducible and are checked through regular quality controls in labs across different countries.
Will my blood serum sample be spoilt during transit?
No. Your blood sample will be specially prepared by pathology (a process called “centrifuging”). This process ensures that the clear liquid serum is separated from the blood solids. The serum is what we require for testing and is stable at room temperature for up to 7 days. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months without being spoilt.
My general practitioner performed a standard allergy test on me. Why does the result not correspond to the result of the ImuPro Test?
The ImuPro test detects food intolerance responses which may occur between 8 and 72 hours after the consumption of the offending food or additive. These food intolerances are mediated by a build-up of IgG antibodies in the blood.
Standard allergy tests (like the skin prick/scratch test) are designed to detect immediate reactions to ingested food. Classic Type I (IgE) allergies are different to the IgG intolerances (delayed onset Type 3 allergy) that the ImuPro test is looking for.
Will the ImuPro test detect if I am intolerant to salycilates or amines in foods?
The ImuPro test looks for IgG intolerances only. Salycilate and amine intolerance are not IgG mediated and therefore will not be picked up by the ImuPro test.
What is the difference between IgG and IgE?
IgG stands for “Immunoglobulin G”. Immunoglobulins are the antibodies found in your blood. They are used by the immune system to identify and neutralise foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses. Everybody has IgG antibodies in their blood but occasionally these antibodies can start to react against foods (usually when the body is overloaded with the same foods). This is what can cause food allergies or delayed-onset food allergies (food intolerance).
IgE mediated allergies are completely separate to IgG mediated intolerances. An IgE allergy is a traditional “true” allergy where symptoms occur immediately, rather than delayed in the case of intolerances.
Your IgE allergies must be taken into account in addition to the ImuPro findings when amending your diet.
What are the most common allergens?
ImuPro studies have shown that milk and dairy products as well as varieties of cereals trigger immunological reactions in a large number of people.
Gluten, egg white, dairy products and brewers/baker’s yeast can cause a high level of intolerance and should be avoided if an intolerance is detected – this is not always easy as theses food types are often hidden in innumerable manufactured products.
My test shows that I react to foods I have never eaten. How can this be possible?
Some foods belong to the same family. For example, potato, aubergine, tomato and tobacco are all members of the nightshade family. Related foods can often produce a similar immunological response.
It is also possible that you react to a food (such as soy), even though you are sure that you have never eaten soy.
This is because soy and its extracts are added to a large number of foods, so you may have consumed soy without your knowledge. Another example is poppy seed, which is frequently contained in drugs as a modified component.
Another possibility is the occurance of a “cross-reaction”. What this means is that the antibodies recognise not only the antigen for which it was originally formed but also other antigens which belong to other food stuffs. This is possible because some foods have identical molecules even though they may not be directly related to each other.
Cross reactions can even occur with environmental allergens which share a similar molecular construction to a certain food.
Should I fast before having my blood sample taken?
Yes. It is required that you do not eat for a minimum of 2 hours prior to having your blood sample taken. We also advise not to eat a fatty meal before your blood is taken as this causes the sample to become lipemic and harder to test.
Some of my symptoms have not gone, even though I followed the ImuPro diet. Why is this?
Some of your symptoms / complaints may be caused by something other than food intolerance. These causes cannot be detected with ImuPro. They include certain defects in the intestinal flora, enzyme defects and hormonal problems (particularly in women). Other sources can be environmental contaminants, heavy metal burden and dental metals.
Will my symptoms get worse initially while my body rids itself of toxins, etc.?
This is very individual. It can happen, but most of the time it doesn’t. We have seen this kind of reaction when people first stop drinking coffee, especially for heavy coffee consumers. They reported an increase in headaches during the first week, but after ten days the headaches completely disappeared.
Does the ImuPro test have any certification?
The ImuPro tests and antigens are manufactured by the German company R-Biopharm under strict quality management ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 systems that have been accredited by the DQS according to the international standards ISO 9001 and EN 46001 (medical devices).
In 2003, the company gained ISO 13485 quality management accreditation. All of the reagents used in the test have CE approval.
Due to the fact that ImuPro tests are processed in more than 30 laboratories worldwide, each run by specialists in this field, we are even able to conduct inter-laboratory trials on a yearly basis to ensure the consistency and quality of each and every step of this test.
What if I have tested positive to Candida albicans?
A Positive Candida reaction in the ImuPro test simply means that traces of Candida have been detected during the ImuPro analysis – it should be followed up by your Doctor with a stool test to confirm if it is still an active infection.
This does not automatically mean that you have a Candida infection, it just means that traces of Candida have been detected in your immune system; it may be an old infection that has been picked up.
I have tested negative to Coeliac disease. Can I still be intolerant to gluten?
Yes, you can definitely test negative to Coeliac but still have what is known as Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity mediated by IgG antibodies, which is what ImuPro will detect.
Will the ImuPro Test tell me if I have fructose intolerance?
Fructose intolerance occurs when the fructose (sugar) in food is not absorbed properly in the small intestine. The undigested fructose is then carried on to colon where it is fermented by the body’s normal bacteria causing the intestine to swell and produce gastro intestinal complaints such as bloating, cramping, gas and diarrhoea. Fructose intolerance is really localised in the gut and does not initiate the release of IgG antibodies, so it cannot be diagnosed with ImuPro.
- What symptoms might I be suffering from if I have a food intolerance?
Possible Contraindications and Medications
Can children or babies take the test?
Children over 12 months of age can take the ImuPro test provided they have not had a vaccination in the last 9 months.
If the child is younger than 12 months and is showing symptoms, we would recommend to test the mother instead. This is because the IgG antibodies we are measuring are small enough to be passed through the placenta and breast milk to the child. Therefore, until the child's immune system has developed separately - the food intolerances will be the same in mother and child, even if they do not produce obvious symptoms in the mother.
Please let us know if your child has had vaccinations within the last 9 months before proceeding with ImuPro.
Can I have the test done if I am on a restricted diet?
Yes, you can still take the test if you are on a restricted diet.
Whether these restrictions effect your test results is really dependent on how long the diet has been in place. IgG delayed food intolerances are different to traditional IgE immediate allergies as they can develop and change over time depending on your diet and other factors, whereas IgE allergies are likely to remain the same throughout your life.
If you have eliminated a food for a few weeks, this is not likely to influence the results. However, if you have been avoiding a food for many months, it is much more likely that your body is no longer producing IgG antibodies towards this food, and it will not be picked up in our test, or it will show up as a low level reaction. This simply means you have built up a tolerance toward this food - but you will not know if you can safely reintroduce it into your diet until you perform a provocation test.
I am on antibiotics. Will this affect my results?
Provided you are not taking immunosuppresant drugs, your results will not be affected by being on a short course of antibiotics.
A long course of antibiotics can compromise the intestinal flora and may cause a higher number of reactions to be detected. If you are currently taking any medication you should advise the ImuPro team just to be certain.
Can medication affect my test results?
Certain medications can affect the results of the ImuPro test, so if in doubt please check with us. If you have been on a long course of antibiotics it can interfere with the results.
If you are taking, or have taken in the past, a long course of immunosuppressant medication such as cortistone, steroids, prednisone etc, this may also affect the results. Cortisone cream is fine as it is topical and the result is local.
You should let ImuPro know your concerns prior to ordering your test so that can we advise if it will be a problem.
I have a cold and/or temperature. Is it okay to have my ImuPro test?
If you have a temperature we would recommend you wait until after your temperature has gone before having your blood sample drawn. If you have a mild common cold (sore throat, runny nose, etc) but no temperature, it is fine to take the test.
- Can children or babies take the test?
Milk and Dairy Products
Will the ImuPro test detect if I am Lactose intolerant?
No. Lactose intolerance does not initiate the release of IgG antibodies so we can not diagnose this with our blood test. Lactose intolerance is an enzyme deficiency which results in not being able to break down lactose (the sugar in milk) efficiently, which leads to bloating and gas. ImuPro’s IgG tests will identify if you have an intolerance to the proteins in milk (and many other foods), so they are not looking for the same thing. However, they do create similar symptoms and often people eliminate lactose without realising that it is the proteins in cows milk they are reacting to. It is also possible to be intolerant to both lactose and milk proteins.
A patient has reactions to milk. Is it OK for him to take lactose or casein free milk?
No. With ImuPro, we are testing antibodies to specific proteins of the concerned food. Lactose is not tested in our test, because lactose is not a protein but a sugar which cannot lead to antibody production. Lactose intolerance is an enzyme deficiency, either genetic or acquired. It is the inability to digest this sugar. Lactose-free milk contains the same proteins as normal milk. Milk contains up to 30 major proteins.
While casein is the major protein in milk, we don’t differentiate in our test which protein has caused a reaction. We see that when we test milk-positive patients for casein, a significant percentage of them do not react to casein, but to some other ingredients.
So, if the patient consumes casein-free milk, they might be able to tolerate it, but we cannot predict this. It would be best to totally eliminate milk products for the recommended time. After that, the patient should challenge himself, products that he reintroduces.
I have had a reaction to rennet cheese (cow). Does that mean I can have cheese that doesn’t contain rennet?
As both forms of cheese still contain the proteins from the cow’s milk used to make the cheese we would advise you not to.
How can I obtain adequate dietary calcium if I show an intolerance to milk and dairy?
While milk and dairy products are a valuable source of calcium, they are not the only ones. Many Asian cultures do not have dairy in their diet yet they do not have a higher frequency of osteoporosis. This is because calcium can be found abundantly in green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, bok choy, kale, spinach as well as dairy substitutes like soy.
High amounts of calcium can also be found in nuts like almonds and culinary herbs such as parsley. Don’t forget that this mineral requires vitamin D (from regular sun exposure) for deposition into bone tissue.
- Will the ImuPro test detect if I am Lactose intolerant?
Foods and Drinks: some things to watch out for
What should I do in case of a sudden craving for a particular food?
It is widely known that there is a link between food intolerances and cravings. Do not give in to food cravings. After three to five days the cravings will subside and are less likely to return.
Can I drink alcohol while following the ImuPro guidelines?
The ImuPro tests do not analyse the beverages themselves, but rather their ingredients, such as grapes, cereals, yeast and malt. If you have increased quantities of IgG antibodies to one of these ingredients, you will have to do completely without the beverages during the avoidance period.
I react to lemon. Do I have to avoid citric acid?
No, you do not since citric acid is a single molecule produced chemically. You have reacted to the proteins contained in lemon.
Is there any link between the intake of omega-3 and intolerances to fish?
No, there is no link between omega-3 fatty acids and reactions to fish. As omega-3 is a fatty acid and separated from the proteins, there are no proteins in omega-3 capsules.
- What should I do in case of a sudden craving for a particular food?
Egg and Yeast
Do you test for yeast?
Yes. Yeast is covered in all ImuPro IgG food intolerance tests. If you have elevated antibodies towards yeast you will need to carefully avoid any foodstuffs containing yeast such as beer, bread, dried or over ripe fruits and fermented products like sauerkraut, yoghurt, kefir and buttermilk.
While many of these foods are touted as healthy and indeed do have many health benefits – they can contribute to inflammation in a person with IgG mediated hypersensitivity and should be avoided accordingly.
Only the ImuPro Complete 270 test will also detect the presence of IgG antibodies in your blood toward Candida albicans – a commensal yeast that can become overgrown and increase the likelihood of developing food intolerances due to its actions on the intestinal lining. If you test positive for Candida albicans with ImuPro, this may indicate a past or present infection which should be confirmed via a stool analysis with your Practitioner.
The test has shown that I am intolerant to yeast, does this mean that I can’t eat bread?
A great alternative to bread containing yeast is sourdough bread. Pure sourdough fermentation is mainly done by lactobaccilli, a bacterial strain, and hardly any yeast. So if the baker doesn’t add yeast on purpose, sourdough bread should not contain yeast.
What should I avoid in case of a reaction to egg protein?
Avoid all products containing egg white. Egg white is contained in quite a number of food products. Egg white proteins may be hidden behind the following naming: yolk egg white, ovalbumin, livetin, albumin, lysozyme, E 1105, globulin, ovomucoid, lecithin, E233. If you have to avoid egg white, you can replace the binding effect by mixing 1 tablespoon of soybean flour with 2 tablespoons of water to a paste. In case of soybean incompatibility, the soybean flour may be replaced by maize flour and potato flour by rice flour. Be aware that wine can contain egg white.
- Do you test for yeast?
Cosmetics and Skin Products
Should I also avoid skin products which contain ingredients that I am intolerant to?
Yes. We know that antigens can also be absorbed by the skin so be sure to read the ingredients of cosmetics, shower gels, hair products and moisturisers, etc to ensure it does not contain anything you are intolerant to.
The skin is a very reactive immune organ, and the experience we have had showed us that products on the skin or even inhaled antigens like lavender have led to symptoms. We also know from our experience in environmental medicine, that if someone reacts to titanium oxide, they have to eliminate all cosmetics and tooth paste containing TiO2.
- Should I also avoid skin products which contain ingredients that I am intolerant to?