Testing for Food Intolerances: EnteroLab
Why did I get tested for food intolerances? Was I unwell? Not that I was aware of. Actually, no one suspected I had food intolerances, least of all me. Ernie was the one with digestive issues. In fact, the main reason I got tested was because he wouldn’t have done it on his own. Here’s how that went down:
Me: I think you have an issue with gluten.
Ernie: What’s gluten?
Me: It’s a protein in wheat and other grains that gives bread texture and of course is in pasta. It can also make you feel crummy.
Me: You get bloated, crampy and gassy when you eat wheat. When you went on Atkins you felt better. Maybe it was because you weren’t eating wheat. Your daughter tested positive for gluten intolerance and the test showed she had a genetic marker from each parent for gluten intolerance. You are one of her parents.
Me: So that means you have some degree of gluten intolerance.
Me: If you do the test you can find out how serious it might be and perhaps figure out how to feel better.
Me: So, if I do the test will you?
Ernie: What’s the test?
Me: We have to collect a poo sample, freeze it and send it to a lab.
Let’s backup a bit. I had sent one of my step daughters to see a Functional Medical Practitioner hoping they might find a more holistic approach to her care rather than treating a symptom. Natural Health Style in Palo Alto, CA. is run by Patricia Baldwin, NP and her husband Davis Baldwin, MD who, by the way, delivered Tess. They had transitioned from a pure OB GYN office to a more encompassing practice focused on all aspects of women’s health several years ago. Bottom line I trusted them.
So when one of daughter Ernie’s daughters tested positive for gluten intolerance with a genetic marker from each parent I decided Ernie needed to get tested and the above conversation occurred. Currently five of our seven daughters do not eat gluten.
The gluten sensitivity and gene panel test we took is administered by EnteroLab * who specialize in the analysis of intestinal samples for food sensitivities. We did Test Panel A+C which is fairly comprehensive covering gluten and several other foods. You do indeed send in a fecal sample. It’s really not as complicated as you might think. It’s the only way to determine if you have elevated intestinal antigliadin IgA which would indicate your body is actively making antibodies because it thinks some of the things you are eating are invaders. This ultimately can compromise your immune system. In my case they recommended I maintain “a strict and permanent gluten free diet.”
The EnteroLab tests also included HLA gene testing which is done with a simple swab from the inside of your mouth. This is the test that revealed I have a gene that predisposes me to gluten sensitivity and celiac sprue. And while not yet approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the test was developed by the American Red Cross.
Prior to the test Natural Health Style had me do an extensive survey about my health consistent with the Functional Medicine approach that covered what I ate, how I felt under various circumstances, how did I feel or react to certain foods etc. Then Patty picked the tests I should have. You can actually order tests yourself and get the results directly. Not inexpensive, but I liked the data, the genetic profile and the guidelines. My results showed that I am intolerant to gluten (as indicated by a genetic marker from one parent and the celiac gene from another), eggs, dietary yeast, casein (dairy) and soy.
There are mixed opinions on the complete accuracy of this test because they haven’t undergone an extensive peer review process. However if you read the information on the Entero Labs site, they provide lots of information that might help you make a decision. The fact that I went through a professional I trusted made my choice much easier.
*If you happen to do a search on Entero Labs vs EnteroLab you will get to an little site with a picture of a puppy and a kitten.That’s not the right site. Visit www.enterolab.com for more information.