immune immunoglobulins

An immunoglobulin test measures the level of certain immunoglobulins, or antibodies, in the blood. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to fight antigens, such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Immunoglobulins act as antibodies. It is important to understand the differences between several types of immunoglobulins within the body and when to test for them. This includes immunoglobulins IgE, IgA and IgG. They are a class of proteins produced by the immune system in response to foreign antibodies such as food antigens.

IgE

For an IgE reaction to occur in the body it occurs immediately after exposure to the allergen – being the food or inhalant. The early phase reaction usually occurs within 15 minutes of exposure to the allergen. The late phase reaction may then occur 4-6 hours later and persist for days with increased inflammation. Being immediate, this type of reaction is referred to as a Type 1 immediate hypersensitivity. Reactions within this category can be anaphylactic. Due to this hypersensitive reaction IgE is associated mainly with common allergic reactions such as pollen or pet fur. IgE is found in the lungs, skin and mucous membranes.

IgG

This is a slower responding reaction. The allergic reaction can occur hours to days after exposure to the allergen – being the food or inhalant. It is often referred to as a delayed sensitivity reaction. IgG is the most abundant type of antibody. It is found in all body fluids and protects against bacterial and viral infections.

Food sensitivities can cause a wide range of symptoms and disorders. The foods that cause these delayed reactions are often hard to diagnose because of the time between consumption and the physical reaction. The IgG food allergy test offers a useful tool for detecting the foods causing this response. The results are patient specific and provide an easy, precise and effective starting point for dietary manipulation.

IgG testing is a useful guide for practitioners to structure an elimination diet for many chronic health conditions. The foods that cause these delayed reactions are often hard to diagnose. This is due to the time between consumption and the physical reaction. The IgG food allergy test offers a useful tool for detecting the foods causing this response. The results are patient specific and provide an easy, precise and effective starting point for dietary manipulation.

When doing an IgG test, it is recommended to eat a large variety of foods in the two weeks prior to testing. Include as many of the foods that are being tested in the specific allergy panel you have chosen. Be aware that if foods are not included in the diet during this time, false negative results may be obtained as recent exposure to these foods may be required for antibodies to be present in the blood.

It is recommended that IgG allergy testing is only performed for infants greater than 18 months of age.

IgG & IgE

There is a Western food panel that tests both IgG and IgE. It is a useful test in assessing both immediate and delayed reactions of 96 general western foods (also available as an extensive 144 food panel). This type of testing is useful as it eliminates the broad process of ‘trial and error of eliminating offending foods’. Additionally, it provides a detailed report for identifying offending foods and a rotation diet based on the test results. The main antigen test kits here at Darling Health are through NutriPATH. As a company NutriPATH run tests in duplicates to ensure accurate and meaningful results are provided to the patient for optimal health.

IgA

Is found in high concentrations in the mucous membranes, particularly those lining the respiratory passages and gastrointestinal tract, as well as in saliva and tears. IgA antibodies are produced in the greatest quantity in a day. This is one of the most important antibodies as it is the bodies’ first line of defence against viruses and bacteria.

Testing for IgA antibodies against specific foods may be raised when the lining of the intestinal tract or the mucous membrane become inflamed or damaged. Elevated IgA to specific foods can be a sign of damage to the mucous membranes in the gut. Individuals with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, or even those with suspected leaky gut may benefit from testing IgA food reactions. The IgA antibody test can be completed through a variety of consumed food panels such as the general western foods, vegetarian foods and asian foods.

Conditions

  • Asthma or wheezing
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Eczema and skin conditions (hives, rashes)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritable Bowel, diarrhoea and abdominal cramping
  • Leaky Gut and abdominal bloating
  • Fluid Retention and swelling
  • Mood disorders and behavioural problems (ADD/ADHD)

There are also Immunoglobulin D (IgD) and Immunoglobulin M (IgM), however these two immunoglobulins are not often tested. There is further testing available where IgA, IgG, and IgM are often measured together. That way, important information about immune system function especially relating to infection or autoimmune disease can be gathered.