Allergy testing has become increasingly popular over the years, in fact we see a lot of people at Elan Medical Skin Clinic who claim that they have been diagnosed with certain food intolerances. But how reliable are these tests?
The medicines regulator (MHRA) has said there is no scientific basis for tests widely available in health food shops and pharmacies that claim to show food intolerances. In fact the MHRA found that there was “no scientifically valid test to diagnose food intolerance”. Many of the tests confirm the presence of IgG antibodies, which show only that a food has been eaten at some stage, not that someone is intolerant of it!
The MHRA said that attempting to self-diagnose a food intolerance or allergy using a test kit alone could potentially result in a delay in identifying or treating other medical conditions. It added that there was a clear distinction between food intolerance and food allergies, which can be potentially life-threatening.
So what should I do if I think my child has a food allergy?