These Food Sensitivity Kits Can Help You Reach Your Health Goals
What we eat can impact our physical and our mental health. Our brains are closely connected to our gastrointestinal (GI) system, each chit-chatting with one another and impacting performance. According to Harvard Health experts, "a troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person's stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression."
Brit + Co social media editor Allison Cimo was experiencing bloating, indigestion, and even irritability regularly and set out to uncover if she had any food sensitivities that may be the culprit. She used the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test to learn that she was highly reactive to foods like egg whites, cottage and mozzarella cheeses, cow's milk, and chia seeds. "This was incredibly helpful in helping me tailor-make a temporary elimination diet for myself. Cutting these foods out of my daily diet helped me reduce my symptoms," she says.
Brit + Co's head of content Alison Ives took note. "I'd never taken a food sensitivity test before despite being diagnosed with a chronic digestive disease — so I was super curious to learn more about any detectable dietary sensitivities. The experience was easy and quick and only took a few weeks," she adds.
I was intrigued. I had visited a food allergist after having several bouts of illness after eating fresh crab meat. He found nothing. I decided to try Viome to test any food sensitivities and learn what foods I should be eating to improve my gut health. A friend who suffers from an autoimmune disease used Viome to learn about her gut's microbiome, which plays a role in your immune system, digestion, mental health, and even aging.
"Many of our customers, prior to testing, report symptoms that include chronic conditions such as depression, anxiety, IBS, and other digestive issues," says Naveen Jain, Viome CEO and Founder. "Healthy looks different on every individual, from both the inside out, and the only way to uncover what someone needs is by looking deep within and understanding how that individual’s body is functioning holistically."
I'm awaiting my results (and I'll update here) but we all agree these kits were easy to do at home (the finger prick is a little intimidating but manageable). "I'm not one to get queasy over blood or anything, but I'd never used a lancet on myself before. The step-by-step instructions made it so simple and way less intimidating," says Allison.
Here are three tests to check out if you want to learn more about the inner workings of your diet and body. (Note: All tests are privacy protected).
The Viome Health Intelligence Test offers up six health scores that determine your recommended food plan, each aimed at improving your gut microbiome health, cellular health, immune system health, mitochondrial health, stress response, and biological aging
"We connect the dots between an individual’s biology and what foods and supplements they need on a molecular level with the help of our amazing scientists, nutritionists, and AI," says Jain.
You'll receive a list of foods categorized into "superfoods," "enjoy foods," "minimize foods," and "avoid foods" with an explanation to support each based on your body’s microbiome. Everyone receives a different list based their test results and questionnaire (which takes into account your food allergies, medications, fitness level, etc). ($299)
Everlywell measures your immune system's IgG (Immunoglobulin G), an antibody, reactivity to 96 foods. Each food is rated from 0 to 3: 0 meaning normal reactivity and 3 meaning high reactivity. The higher the reactivity level the higher the chance that food can be giving you problems. This is good data for trying a temporary elimination diet and then add-back challenge. Everlywell notes that the test is not a food allergy test, nor can it determine lactose intolerance or celiac disease.
"The results did confirm my suspicions," says Alison. "The most reactive food from my test was cow's milk, which appeared as a "moderate" reaction. The test results were simple to read and came with supplemental background information for each. As an example, under my cow's milk reaction, Everlywell explained that this doesn't mean I'm lactose-intolerant altogether, and also offered some hidden sources of cow's milk I might want to avoid if I try an elimination diet. In the months since I got my results I've switched to almond milk exclusively and ensured my ice cream cravings are sated with dairy-free or plant-based options."
Everlywell also offers other tests for fertility, metabolism, sexual health, and more. ($259)
If you are looking to uncover any allergies, this test analyzes the IgE and IgG4 antibody reaction to more than 200 foods that cause the majority of allergies and sensitivities. If it does determine that you may have an allergy, you can then take that information to your doctor to learn more. Cerascreen also offers a free video consultation with a live nutritionist to review your results and receive any recommended dietary or lifestyle changes. ($289)
Have you tried an at-home food sensitivity kit? Share your experience with us @BritandCo!
Learn how to optimize your brain with food in our Teach Me Something Newpodcast with Max Lugavere, a brain health researcher and the New York Times Bestselling author of Genius Foods and The Genius Life.
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Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.