Food intolerances, food sensitivities, and food allergies represent three distinct types of adverse reactions that can occur after consuming certain foods. Food allergies are the most severe form of reaction, in which the immune system mistakenly identifies a food as harmful and mounts an immediate response that can be life-threatening. Symptoms can range from breathing difficulties and swelling to the potentially fatal condition of anaphylaxis. In contrast, food intolerances involve the inability to properly digest certain foods, leading to symptoms such as loose stools, excessive gas, and bloating. Lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance are examples of common food intolerances. Food sensitivities, on the other hand, are a type of delayed reaction that can manifest as headaches, skin rashes, or joint pain, and their underlying mechanisms are not always well understood. Accurately identifying the specific food that triggers a reaction is crucial for managing food intolerances, sensitivities, and allergies, and preventing potential complications.

Food Allergy Test

When the immune system mistakenly identifies a food component as a foreign substance, it can trigger an immune response known as a food allergy. This immune-mediated reaction leads to the production of antibodies, specifically IgE antibodies, which can cause a range of symptoms varying from mild to potentially life-threatening. These symptoms may include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, hives, tingling in the mouth, swelling of the lips, and diarrhea. In severe cases, a condition called anaphylaxis can occur, characterized by breathing difficulties and dangerously low blood pressure, which can be life-threatening. Genetic factors can contribute to the development of food allergies, affecting a small percentage of the population (1 to 2%), necessitating lifelong avoidance of the offending food.

Food allergies are commonly detected through blood tests that measure the presence of specific antibodies. However, the diagnosis of delayed non-IgE-mediated food allergies can be more challenging, as these types of allergies are not always detectable through currently available tests. As a result, the diagnosis of these allergies often relies on a comprehensive patient history, elimination diets, and in some cases, food challenge tests conducted under medical supervision.

Food Sensitivity Testing

It’s crucial to note that most reactions to problematic foods are typically caused by food sensitivities rather than true food allergies. From an immunological perspective, different antibodies (such as IgG, IgA, and IgM) are produced in response to food sensitivities, and while there is still an element of an immune response, symptoms tend to appear more gradually than in a true allergy. The challenge with food sensitivities lies in the fact that symptoms can take up to 48 hours to manifest after consuming the offending food, making it difficult to pinpoint the specific culprit. Although food sensitivity testing is available and typically measures antibody levels in the blood, there is no universally accepted gold standard to confirm its reliability.

In such cases, an elimination diet that removes common offending foods can be a useful approach, and we have observed a lot more success with this method in our clinical practice. The added benefit of an elimination diet is that it is a cost-effective strategy.

Food Intolerance Test

Food intolerance differs from food sensitivity in that it does not involve an immune response or the production of antibodies. Instead, food intolerance typically manifests as digestive issues, such as gas, bloating, heartburn, or vomiting. Each individual has a threshold that their body can tolerate, and once that threshold is exceeded, symptoms begin to appear. The most common intolerances are to gluten and dairy products, with individual thresholds varying. Enzyme supplements, such as lactase, can be taken to aid in the digestion of the offending food.

If you are experiencing food allergies or sensitivities, the Dublin Centre for Functional Medicine offers expert practitioners who can provide comprehensive food intolerance and allergy testing, as well as personalized treatment options. Our approach involves not only identifying the offending foods but also exploring the underlying causes of food intolerances, such as Candida overgrowth or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

How Are The Tests Performed

The tests are conveniently sent to your home, allowing you to collect the necessary samples through a simple pin-prick method, eliminating the need for a phlebotomist or a visit to a medical facility.


48 Inhalant Panel IgG, IgA & IgG4 (US Biotek Lab – 95 Euro)
Prices Range from 95 Euro to 274 Euro
IgG Food Map With Candida + Yeast – Serum  (Great plains Labotory -275 Euro)