Food Intolerance Test

Table of contents

Food Sensitivity tests

Food intolerance tests are divided into two types: those based on breath, such as the breath test, and serological tests, i.e. tests that verify the presence of intolerances through a blood sample.

There are also many other types of tests: from finger pricking to those based on the analysis of the iris of the eyes.

Composition of common foods that cause intolerance, including bread, milk, eggs, nuts and fish.

The breath test

The breath test is the test prescribed to certify lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar found in milk; in the body of those suffering from lactose intolerance, there is an absence or deficiency of lactase. This enzyme divides milk into galactose and glucose, making these two sugars digestible.

Lactose-intolerant people do not digest these two sugars: they arrive whole in the intestine and ferment. The consequences of this fermentation can include digestive problems, bowel pain, diarrhoea, flatulence and a bloated abdomen.

Serological tests

Blood tests, however, are necessary to detect gluten intolerance and celiac disease. This type of test shows specific antibodies in the blood that cause intolerance. When these antibodies are present in the blood, it is necessary to confirm the diagnosis with a duodenum biopsy.

The 108 food test

The 108 food test is carried out by taking a blood sample. As the name suggests, it can detect intolerances to 108 different types of food.

The test detects IgG antibodies produced by the immune system in response to the intake of foods that belong to the main food groups:

  • Cereals and gluten;
  • White and red meats;
  • Legumes, mushrooms, tubers, vegetables;
  • Crustaceans and fish;
  • Fresh and dried fruit;
  • Aromatic herbs and spices;
  • Lactose and yeasts;
  • Theine and caffeine;
  • Honey and eggs.

Food intolerance tests in Italy

In the pharmacy, buying or carrying out a series of tests that detect food intolerances in person is possible.

In most cases, these are accurate kits ready for self-administration, which is enough to take a few drops of blood from the fingertip without other particular needs, such as fasting.

These tests come in several variations and generally test for intolerance of specific groups or varying amounts of elements, for example, 50 to 200 food antigens.

There are also specific tests in the pharmacy for vegans, tests to verify intolerance to sulphites, tests that screen 60 foods, and complete tests on food intolerances.

How do pharmacy food intolerance tests work?

The principle on which these tests are based is the verification of specific antibodies produced by the immune system after ingestion of particular foods.

The Food Intolerance Test

The food intolerance test you can do in the pharmacy is called the Food Intolerance Test. These tests evaluate the reactions of our immune system, in particular the production of IgG antibodies, to contact with food. These tests are carried out through a computerized system and have a 98% repeatability degree.

What is the difference between food allergy and intolerance?

The main difference between intolerances to food allergies lies in the production of different antibodies. The antibodies present in the body due to a food allergy are called IgE (Immunoglobulin E). In contrast, the antibodies produced with food intolerances are called IgG (Immunoglobulin G).

Furthermore, allergies can have mild symptoms but also severe symptoms, such as anaphylactic shock, and are independent of the amount of food ingested: even a minimum dosage is enough to trigger the allergic reaction. Intolerances, on the other hand, cause disturbances that can manifest themselves long after and worsen with the increase in the quantity ingested.

Is it possible to do a Food Intolerance Test for Free in Italy?

Given that there are no free food intolerance tests, it is possible to carry out tests at the clinics of your ASL by paying only the ticket.

The procedure is quite simple: all you need is the request of your doctor or allergist, the reservation at the Cup and the payment of the ticket. Similarly, it is possible to take a blood sample for food intolerances at private laboratories affiliated with the National Health System.

The test is free for categories exempt from paying the ticket. So, for example:

  • children under the age of six and adults over 65;
  • those who have a family income that does not exceed € 36,000 per year;
  • patients who have chronic diseases;
  • pregnant women, invalids;
  • cancer patients;
  • who is waiting for organ transplantation.

Food intolerance tests at pharmacies: the price

Food intolerance tests can be carried out either remotely, ordering them online and then sending the results, or in person at the pharmacies.

Different tests detect intolerances to certain food groups, and prices vary.

Generally, the prices for each test range from € 80 to € 200 based on the number of substances to be tested. Many pharmacies provide discounts and special offers at certain times of the year or by booking tests online.

The good news is that, as with most medical bills, the cost of intolerance tests is also fully deductible from your tax return. Present your health card when paying for the test to have the deduction.

How to do a Food Intolerance Test in Italian pharmacies

The practicality of food intolerance tests in pharmacies is that they can also be ordered from online pharmacies and carried out in the comfort of your home. These are known as home tests and work simply. The package includes a self-collection kit with two lancing devices, patches, wipes, paper holders and a shipping bag.

After reading the package leaflet carefully, apply the lancing device to the fingertip by pressing firmly. Then it will be sufficient to place your finger on the absorbent paper and insert the form into the plastic bag to be returned. Generally, the test results are received in a maximum of 10 days.

What are food intolerances?

When it comes to food intolerances, there is often a lot of confusion around. First, people often confuse intolerances with food allergies. They tend to self-heal, perhaps because of discomforts, such as stomach swelling or digestive problems.

In reality, food intolerances should only be tested by visiting a gastroenterologist.

The various types of food intolerances

Food intolerances are defined as adverse reactions triggered by the body after ingesting certain foods.

There are only two food intolerances recognized by science: lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance, which is celiac disease.

There are also many other types of intolerances, such as intolerance to meat and vegetables, crustaceans, or fruit and specific intolerances. Among the latter, there is favism, a hereditary disorder that causes serious problems such as jaundice and breakdown of red blood cells in case of ingestion of food such as broad beans, peas, and verbena.

There is also intolerance to nickel, a heavy metal found in nature. Nickel triggers contact reactions, for example, with earrings, bracelets or metal buttons, but also with the ingestion of the food in which it is contained. Unfortunately, it is widespread in many foods, particularly dried fruit, chocolate, legumes, and tomatoes.

How many types of food intolerances are there?

Furthermore, food intolerances are divided according to the type of reaction. There are, therefore, intolerances from enzymatic defects, intolerances from active pharmacological ingredients, and intolerances triggered by undefined mechanisms.

Intolerances due to enzymatic defects are those in which the low quantity or absence of the enzyme necessary to digest the food creates problems: favism and lactose intolerance.

Intolerances caused by active pharmacological ingredients occur when the body reacts negatively to active ingredients, such as, for example, histamine, present in many foods. Finally, there are intolerances from undefined mechanisms. This intolerance is triggered by neurological or psychological reactions, including intolerance to additives.

When to get tested for Food intolerance in Italy

Tests are prescribed by your doctor or specialist, such as an allergist or gastroenterologist, when various symptoms occur.

There are specific symptoms related to intolerances, while others are common and more difficult to identify because they are common to many other ailments.

In general, food intolerance tests should be done when you have the following symptoms:

  • intestinal disorders: bloating, diarrhoea or constipation, flatulence;
  • gastric disorders: acidity, burning;
  • headache;
  • difficulty in breathing;
  • dermatological conditions: itching, rashes, eczema, redness.

Are food allergy tests reliable?

The scientific community recognizes only breath and blood tests as reliable tests. Doctors believe no tests allow you to certify a 100% food intolerance. A gastroenterologist must make the correct diagnosis and possibly prescribe therapy due to food intolerance.

Very often, symptoms that can suggest food intolerance, such as food bloating, heaviness and fatigue, can be alleviated or eliminated with a diet that includes simpler foods, a healthier and more active lifestyle, and a reduction of sugars.

Despite this, many tests can be carried out in pharmacies or specialized centres, even by medical personnel.

In addition to breath tests and blood draws, there are many other types of alternative tests. These include electrodermal tests, kinesiological tests, bioresonance, hair analysis and others.

The most common test in pharmacies is the Food Intolerance Test. This test is reliable and accurate because it determines the percentage of reactivity to the foods tested. For any food that exceeds 26% reactivity, we recommend eliminating it from your daily diet for at least four months.

How to take a food intolerance test?

The procedure for taking the food intolerance test depends on the test.

As for the breath test, the operation is straightforward. This test requires the patient to blow into a plastic bag regularly before and after ingesting the lactose. This test does not require special precautions because it can also be done after eating.

How to do the test for celiac disease

The tests that instead include blood tests, such as that for celiac disease, must be done on an empty stomach and consist of a simple blood sample. However, celiac disease also needs a subsequent intervention called esophagogastroduodenoscopy. It is an invasive surgery, often performed with conscious sedation or anaesthesia, with which an endoscope with a video camera is inserted into the stomach through the duodenum. The goal of this exam is a duodenal biopsy, which checks for the presence of the disorder. After this operation, you cannot drive for at least 12 hours in case of sedation.

Where to do food intolerance tests

In Italy, food intolerance tests are increasingly widespread, and it is possible to carry them out in private laboratories, hospital clinics, and specialized centres and pharmacies throughout Italy. These texts can also be ordered online through a practical kit to be returned with the results.

On faiuntestevai, you can easily find the place closest to you to take the food intolerance test, whether it is an intolerance test by blood sampling, a breath test or other tests.

For further reading about Food Allergy Test, please check NHS

Written by Dr. Andleeb Asghar | Last updated on 19/10/2022

Common conditions covered by a Food Sensitivity Test

Lactose intolerance Histamine intolerant Gluten sensitivity Salicylate intolerance FODMAP intolerance Sulfite sensitivity

Where to get a Food Allergy Test

Food Intolerance Test at-Home and Self Tests