It turns out that there are no 100 percent reliable tests for food sensitivities at this time. But continuing to pursue the theory that there is a link between what foods my immune system is sensitive to and my health, I went to see a woman recommended by my acupuncturist for food sensitivity testing using Meridian Stress Assessment (MSA).
There are various types of food reactions, including:
- Fixed allergy—will react to that substance always, even a very tiny exposure.
- Cumulative allergy—will only react to a specific food when I have ingested enough of it to exceed my allergy threshold for that specific food.
- Variable allergy—may react at certain times when eating a food, but tolerate it well on other occasions. For example, I might react to specific foods only when certain pollens are in the air or during a particular phase of my menstrual cycle.
An MSA tests my cells’ ability to conduct the electricity of various foods. The equipment measures how much electricity passes through my meridian pathway when the food’s electrical signature is applied at an acupuncture point. Then, after a food is avoided for a time and reintroduced, there may be no response if the sensitivity is cumulative or variable.
I tried to find out how a specific food’s electrical signature was identified in order to be input into the machine, but just kept coming back to “proprietary software.” So failing that, I read some of the research, based on double-blind studies, where MSA accuracy was compared with that of older, more established food allergy testing techniques. The MSA results were totally comparable to skin testing, food challenges and RAST (and related) tests.
OK, so it is good enough for my purpose: to identify the more recognizable food sensitivities, the “low-hanging fruit” and begin to cut them out of my diet.
The test showed that I am sensitive to the usual suspects like wheat, eggs, dairy, sugar and peanuts. But some of the surprises were sensitivity to rice, chicken, salt and olive oil, and no sensitivity to yeast and pork, for example. And now that I am home and reviewing the test results, I’m already compiling a list of additional things I want her to test for: alcohol, for one!