At-home tests kits to check for food sensitivity

Can an at-home blood test help you determine which meals may be making you feel bloated, sluggish or achy?

Action News had one local woman try out a few testing kits.

Lynne Sheridan has resorted to making a lot of her own food like these gluten-free wraps, after realizing certain ingredients left her feeling, "Tired, then I started having some stomach issues, she said.

Jefferson University Hospital Gastroenterologist Doctor Stephanie Moleski says complaints like this about food sensitivities are becoming more common.

Unlike a food allergy, they're not life-threatening, but they can make you feel lousy.

"They could have bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation. Some patients complain of joint pain, brain fog, fatigue," said Dr. Moleski.

For Lynne, it took a lot of trial and error to figure out which foods were causing problems.

Now, new direct-to-consumer tests like the PinnerTest and EverlyWell's Food Sensitivity Test claim to help people find the culprits faster and right from the comfort of your home.

They cost anywhere from $150 to $400.

We asked Lynne who believes she's identified her triggers to try out two different kits.

All it takes is a finger stick, a few drops of blood, and then the samples are mailed to the labs.

I spoke with Everlywell's medical director via Skype, she says the test measures the body's immune response to 96 different foods, but it's just a starting point.

Dr. Marra Francis. Medical Director, EverlyWell said, "Unfortunately it's not a one to one where it's not like this is positive so that means you automatically have a sensitivity. It's just trying to help people prioritize which foods may be likely to be causing their sensitivities."

Once results are in, then consumers need to do an elimination diet. That's taking foods out and adding them back in one at a time, evaluating how you feel.

That's where Doctor Moleski instructs her patients to start, first with a food diary.

"Where they write down everything they eat, as well as their symptoms," she said.

Then the elimination diet.

As for the at-home tests, she doesn't think they're worth it.

"We just don't have the science to prove that it's accurate," said Dr. Moleski.

Lynne already knows she feels much better not eating gluten, dairy, some nuts, and corn.

As for her results, from Everlywell, they matched up closely showing a mild reaction to milk, cheese, gluten, and some nuts.

PinnerTest shows a reaction to some nuts and a few fish.

Both companies say their products are not meant to diagnose but should be used to give people a guide to begin.

In the end, Lynne says she trusts doing things the old-fashioned way.

"It's really knowing your body and knowing what feels right and what doesn't feel right," she said.

Ali A spokesperson for the PinnerTest lab tells us differences between the two tests could be due to many different factors.

Both companies use labs that are certified.

As always, it's best to talk with your healthcare provider about what's best for you.

Watch the following video with Registered Dietitian Emily Rubin, with Jefferson University Hospital talk about how to do an elimination diet that is commonly used to help to identify food sensitives.
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Video: Registered Dietitian Emily Rubin talks about how to do an elimination diet


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