April 7, 2012

Differences Between IgE and IgG Testing for Allergies and Sensitivities

Both IgG and IgE blood testing are very important diagnostic tools that can provide an indisputable blueprint for healing. 

Explaining IgE
 IgE (or immunoglobulin E) allergies are immediate responses to a foreign substance that has entered the body. These foreign substances can come from food or inhalation. IgE allergies can cause very serious symptoms like difficulty breathing, swelling, and hives. In even more serious cases IgE reactions can lead to anaphylactic shock. This test measures the blood level of IgE, one of the five subclasses of antibodies. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system that attack antigens, such as bacteria, viruses, and allergens.  IgE antibodies are found in the lungs, skin, and mucous membranes. They are associated mainly with allergic reactions (when the immune system overreacts to environmental antigens such as pollen or pet dander) and parasitic infections.

The IgE test is often performed as part of an initial screen for allergies. Symptoms of allergies may include hives, itchy eyes or nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, tight throat, and trouble breathing. Symptoms may be seasonal (as with allergies due to pollen or molds) or year-round (as with food allergies). They can range from mild to severe, depending on the child and the allergy. IgE levels may also be elevated in children with parasitic infections.

IgE antibodies are primarily associated with allergies. The first time someone is exposed to a foreign substance, like a virus or bacterium, it may take the immune system up to two weeks to make an antibody blueprint and to produce enough of a specific antibody to fight the infection.


Example of a typical IgE response: Suppose a person with a peanut allergy eats a peanut. B cells in the body are exposed to the peanut allergens. B cells begin making IgE antibodies to fight the peanut “infection”. These IgE antibodies were made specifically for defending the body against peanuts. The IgE antibodies bind to the peanut molecules or allergens in the body. 


After the exposure to peanuts, IgE antibodies can also attach themselves to mast cells. There the IgE antibodies wait until the next peanut exposure. When the next peanut exposure occurs the IgE antibodies signal the mast cells to release histamine and other compounds. Histamine and these other compounds are the cause of allergy symptoms like itching and inflammation. All of this usually happens within minutes of ingesting the allergen. IgE allergies are treated with medications that block the release of histamines. 

Explaining IgG

These are antibodies that provide long-term resistance to infections, called Immunoglobulin G (IgG), have a much longer half-life than the traditional IgE allergy. This is where food sensitivities come in because they are much more subtle and most people live with them for years, if not their entire lives. A food sensitivity is an adverse reaction to a food with no antigen-antibody response.


Symptoms, ranging from headache and nausea to seizure and hyperactivity, or simply just fatigue, bloating, mood changes or dark circles under the eyes. They may occur hours or even days after the offending food has been ingested. The degree and severity of symptoms vary greatly because of the genetic makeup of the individual. The complete elimination of IgG positive foods may bring about important improvements in symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, autism, AD (H) D, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and epilepsy as demonstrated in numerous clinical studies. 

Everyone should get IgG tested for food sensitivities so they know what foods work for their body and what foods don't. It's no different than putting the right type of gas in your vehicle. 

 

Checking the health of the lining of your intestines

The IBA (intestinal barrier assessment) test that we run provides a baseline for GI health so we know where to go with your health plan. It lets us know if you have intestinal permeability or “leaky gut syndrome” which means your lining is not tight and therefore is allowing food particles to escape (think of a brick wall with holes in the caulking or mortar). Just a few years of stress, antibiotics, soda, coffee, alcohol and sugar thin the lining of the gut. 


When food particles escape the gut lining, the spleen, which is a major immune organ, has to work overtime to clear them out of the blood stream because they do not belong there. This puts an inordinate burden on your immune function, and over time can be a leading cause of autoimmune disease/disorders (that along with underlying viruses that have gone undetected). 


Testing the mucosal barrier lining of the GI tract is an essential test that provides an enormous amount of health information and more often than not can be the first marker in determining auto-immunity or inflammation. Intestinal permeability more often than not, is the underlying cause of many autoimmune conditions. Not checking GI health with an autoimmune condition, keeps people spending an unnecessary amount of money on lab testing and pharmaceuticals while lowering their quality of life, while healing the intestinal lining heals from the root cause, creating lasting, greater health by improved GI, immune and endocrine function. 



 

 

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Julie B • Tue April 10, 2012
Comment
Thank you for that very helpful information!
Amelia • Thu January 10, 2013
Comment
I have read where IgG is in allergic and non allergic people and that it is a normal response to foods period. So how is this beneficial ? I have also heard that some insurance companies won't pay for IgG food RAST. Aetna being one. Please respond back. Thank you!

Millie,LVN,RN student
Christa • Sat January 12, 2013
Comment
Hi Amelia,
You are right that food sensitivity testing is not covered on the majority of food panels. Our take is that the body should NOT build up antibodies in response to food and when it does, the immune system is being taxed. Even if those foods are not true sensitivities, it is an indication that food particles/antigens (to oversimplify it) are unnecessarily adding to the burden of the spleen to clear out inappropriate matters from the blood stream - which is an indication of weak intestinal barrier.
Dee • Mon February 25, 2013
Comment
Food-specific IgG4 does not indicate (imminent) food allergy or intolerance, but rather a physiological response of the immune system after exposition to food components. Therefore, testing of IgG4 to foods is considered as irrelevant for the laboratory work-up of food allergy or intolerance and should not be performed in case of food-related complaints. Skin testing (IgE response) still is the best way to detect food allergies and sensitivities.
Dee • Mon February 25, 2013
Comment
above comment documented in;
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1398-9995.2004.00495.x/full

Issue Allergy
Volume 59, Issue 8, pages 806–808, August 2004
erica • Mon April 22, 2013
Comment
if i had an iGg test and found about 35 foods that are triggers, do i still need to get an IgE? WOuld there be some foods that are positive IgE but not IgG?
Christa • Mon April 29, 2013
Comment
Hi Erica,

You shouldn't need IgE testing after IgG because IgE food sensitivities develop within 4 hours after eating the food, so you would likely already know about them. Here is a link to an article about that to help clarify. Thank you for reading our blogs.
DR. S. A. I. KHAN • Tue August 27, 2013
Comment
VERY HELPFUL INFORMATION FOR NON DOCTORS WHO ARE CARRYING STUDIES.
Mom • Mon January 27, 2014
Comment
We had IgG finger test completed,the results showed almost no reactions, yet behavior, grades, sinus, improved when off gluten and dairy. So confusing, as no reaction to gluten. Could it be that the body was clean from these, therefore it didn't even show up.
We have an appointment scheduled to review results, however I feel a bit ignorant and would like to understand the questions to ask, when I go to the appointment
Thank you for educating the public.
Mrs.mahendra • Sun February 02, 2014
Comment
My immiunoglobulin E test
Results. Serum IgE level. 1234.00 IU/mL
Can you comment?
Birdee • Thu February 06, 2014
Comment
What levels should we take seriously? If your scoring units for IgE and IgG are low or mild levels is this enough to remove them from your diet? Thanks for your wonderful explanation.
Christa • Fri February 07, 2014
Comment
Hi Birdee - if it is not too restrictive I would remove them from your diet for 90 days. As we heal the gut, sensitivities can change, so at that point you might be able to add them back in. Make sure to add them back in one at a time and note how you feel.
Traci K. • Tue February 11, 2014
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How is the IBA administered?
Christa • Mon February 17, 2014
Comment
Hi Traci - The BioHealth 304 lab can be used to check intestinal barrier function. This only requires a single saliva sample.
Elizabeth May • Fri February 21, 2014
Comment
Do you have a test preference. I've dealt with two different practitioners – one says cyrex is the only way to go and the other says alcat. Very confusing.
Daniela • Thu February 27, 2014
Comment
Christa, how do you get the testing for leaky gut?
Christa • Fri February 28, 2014
Comment
Hi Daniela! Thanks for the great question. Anyone with leaky gut should be tested for food sensitivities, not food allergies, but sensitivities. All of our referral partners would be able to order those tests for you. I included the list here:

Marc Sklar, Reproductive Wellness Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine

Marc and I have successfully teamed up on several cases of women struggling with infertility, PCOS, and other tough hormonal imbalances. Marc runs many of the same tests that we used to run (including neurotransmitter testing) and follows a similar process. He is wonderful at getting to the root cause, cares deeply, and is a great, supportive practitioner. He is also familiar with the MTHFR genetic mutation and knows how to treat it successfully. Marc has two locations in San Diego and one in Temecula but also works remotely worldwide. He does not focus as much on diet as a nutritionist would, so perhaps working concurrently with him and a nutritionist would be a good approach.

Jeanne Rubin, East West Healing and Performance

Jeanne’s specialties are with thyroid and adrenal disorders resulting from metabolic devastation caused by prolonged, chronic stress. She used to run labs and use supplements, but her practice no longer involves either except for perhaps a few minor supplements. I have worked with her myself as a private client and benefited greatly. She is well versed in many long-term and severe health issues and how to reverse them. Jeanne addresses the whole person and meets people where they are. In that way, she is a wonderful counselor. Her program requires extreme personal accountability with food and an almost single focus on healing for at least the first month, but the benefits will be felt if you are caught in that tired-but-wired, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and insomnia cycle.

Jeanne is a big fan of Ray Peat’s work and embraces the dietary theory of “animals, roots, and fruits” to stabilize the body which, in turn, shuts off the stress response to incite full healing. She counsels remotely via Skype within the context of a six-month program.

Emily Potter, NourishMint Wellness

Emily is a clinical nutritionist and holistic health counselor. I have trained her extensively for two years, and she has worked with The Whole Journey seeing private and group clients for 3 years. Emily is great with adrenal fatigue and digestive wellness as well as lifestyle upgrades, slowing down, sustainable stress management, and nutrition for children and babies. She carries two of the same supplement lines that we carried at TWJ and runs Biohealth labwork but not Pharmasan (neurostransmitter testing). She consults in person in Encinitas, CA and via phone and Skype worldwide. Emily’s email is emily@nourishmintwellness.com.

Kim Schuette, Biodynamic Wellness

Kim Schuette is a fantastic, highly knowledgeable practitioner with decades of experience with the most complicated of conditions. Her specialty is digestive health as she is a GAPS diet practitioner, but she is also wonderful with fertility, hormonal imbalances, genetic mutations, and a host of other complicated health disorders. Kim is a big Weston A. Price practitioner, so she wouldn’t be your first choice if you are a vegetarian. Outside of that, I cannot say enough about how lovely, caring, and truly passionate Kim is about helping people heal through nutrient-dense food and lifestyle adjustments. Biodynamic also focuses on the mental and emotional aspects of wellness that affect the physical body. Kim works remotely with clients via Skype and the phone.

Dr. Benjo Masilungan, MD
509 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach CA 92075
(858) 350-4414

Dr. Benjo is a functional medicine doctor and has 25 years of experience with herbs and nutrition therapy. He is a wonderful person to work with as your primary care doctor and a great guide for learning how to do the least damage with pharmaceuticals if you need to be on them. While he is well versed in all health issues, his specialty is functional primary care, endocrinology, Parkinson's, dementia, and MS. He is also familiar with the MTHFR genetic mutation and knows how to treat it successfully with high doses of methylated folate and glutathione IVs. Dr. Benjo's rate is a flat fee of $200/hour. He will accept the transfer of our files and is a very caring practitioner who will spend a solid hour with you each time. He does not, however, work remotely with patients. They must come to his office for in-person visits.

Dr. Jon Dunn, ND

Naturopathic Health Care, Inc.
(760) 341-6502

Dr. Dunn is a caring, competent naturopathic physician who does not embody the quick fix, but he employs rather thoughtful detective work to get to the root of a person's ailment. He empowers his patients to understand what is going on in their body so that they have the skills to keep themselves in balance. He specializes in Individualized Treatment Plans. He has decades of experience and utilizes the integrated use of natural medicines including:

Bio-identical Hormones

Therapeutic Nutrition

Natural Supplements

Botanical Medicine

Homeopathy

Lifestyle Counseling

Cancer Co-management

His practice is located in Palm Desert, but he works remotely with clients via the phone as well.

For an additional list of integrative medical doctors in many specialties, please visit http://thewholejourney.com/twj-resources.
Sandy • Thu March 06, 2014
Comment
Christa,
I found the information on your website very helpful. I have had a both the IgE and IGg tests. Not true allergies but the IGg was crazy. Out of 96 foods tested, 94 showed signs of sensitivity. Luckily I am working with Doctors that will help me. I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis and leaky gut. No surprise to me as I have been telling doctors for over 10 years that I do not feel well. I wish they all knew about your website an took interest in really helping. Thank you for the information. Innovative Medical Solutions, an alternative to traditional doctors, was the only place that actually confirmed that I had issues and is now addressing them with me. Thanks again, Sandy
Christa • Fri March 07, 2014
Comment
Hi Sandy- Thank you for the kind comments and information. So glad you have found practitioners that are listening and getting to the root cause of your issues. Good luck on your journey!
Cathy • Sun March 30, 2014
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You make no comment on NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique). Your thoughts?
Anonymous • Fri April 18, 2014
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Hi, thank you for your thorough explanation. My 3 year old daughter has had eczema on and off since infancy. The last two years it has gotten extremely bad around March. Last year we did NAET and then she was clear for about 8 months, now it's back and worse than ever before. Which test would you recommend, IgG or IgE? She has been off gluten, eggs and dairy for over 2 weeks and we've seen no change, if anything, it's gotten worse. Trying to figure out our next steps. Any input is appreciated. Thank you!
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Terri • Sun June 15, 2014
Comment
When testing for IgE and IgG, is it necessary to be eating the foods you are being tested for?
Is IgG and IgG4 the same?

Are serum blood tests accurate?
Terri • Sun June 15, 2014
Comment
When testing for IgE and IgG, is it necessary to be eating the foods you are being tested for?
Are IgG and IgG4 the same?

Are serum blood tests accurate?
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Comment
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Amber • Sun July 06, 2014
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What does the IBA consist of? I absolutely would love to get this test on my husband. He is allergic to 98 different foods. There are only a handful of foods that he is not allergic to. Sounds to me, this leaky gut could be the reason for so many food allergies. Our doctor said she didn't know what to tell us after the allergy testing. So an answer to his GI problems would be nice!
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